The Future Marketing Organisation: Creating a culture of accountability

Accountability, effectiveness and a commitment to collaboration will define the working culture of future marketing organisations, according to Marketing Week’s research in partnership with MiQ.


While marketers show a real desire to optimise their businesses by creating new structures that put customers at the heart of the conversation, change must start with the culture of the company itself.

And it appears the industry is moving in the right direction. Some 57% of respondents taking part in Marketing Week’s Future Marketing Organisation study, conducted in partnership with marketing intelligence company MiQ, believe that marketing is changing for the better.

Furthermore, 47.8% of those surveyed say marketing is becoming more accountable, while 43.5% believe the marketing function is more central to the business than ever.

However, in order to achieve these new levels of accountability and effectiveness, brands need to invest time and energy in their company culture. This has been a clear area of focus for drinks giant Diageo, which is building marketing teams where everyone is accountable for driving business success.

Speaking on stage at the Festival of Marketing (11 October) Jerry Daykin, head of global media partnerships at Diageo, explained that he sits within the company’s Centre of Digital Excellence, a team he described as the “most striking change” the company has made in how it approaches the future.

Everyone has to be accountable when they’re presenting things within their teams, but also outside the marketing organisation to other parts of the business.

Jerry Daykin, Diageo

The Centre of Digital Excellence is intended to empower Diageo marketers with the right tools to make decisions.

“We’ve created a pool of people who are more tech focused and are delivering that tech side of marketing, which frankly a lot of our local markets are happy to have lifted above them, and then we have a team that is driving transformational thinking and best practice in marketing,” he stated.

The Centre of Digital Excellence also helps other functions across the business transform the way they work, such as by facilitating more collaboration with the HR department.

Forging cross-functional relationships is crucial to building a culture of collaboration, according to Annabel Venner, global brand director and partner at Hiscox.

Speaking on the same panel, Venner explained that her marketers are good at having conversations across the organisation to ensure everyone understands the customer and how the business intends to target them, rather than that information being held solely within marketing.

This ability to engage colleagues across the business will be crucial, especially given 54.3% of marketers surveyed as part of the Future Marketing Organisation study believe marketing’s future role will be collaborating with other functions such as IT, sales and finance to deliver business strategy.

Venner explained that Hiscox strives to ensure there are no silos across the marketing team.

“The senior marketer is on a leadership team and they will be engaging on a regular basis with our operational teams, our pricing teams, our underwriting teams, so we’re not as siloed as other organisations,” she states.

“I sit at group level, so I have marketing meetings with our chief finance officer, I talk to our chief operating officer and this is happening across the business.”

Venner explained that to evolve at the same pace as customers and technology, Hiscox is recruiting marketers with a slightly different skill set, specifically looking for people who are flexible and adaptable enough to change as the company shifts.

Effectiveness culture

Sitting alongside the need for accountability, marketing organisations of the future will be built on a commitment to effectiveness. Central to this project at Diageo has been the implementation of Catalyst, a marketing effectiveness tool that brings together data and analytics to enable marketers to make better decisions in real time.

Daykin describes this drive as bringing data “out of the ether” and onto the desktop of every marketer in the organisation.

“Everyone has to be accountable when they’re presenting things within their teams, but also outside the marketing organisation to other parts of the business. [They must] come armed with data that’s backed up by the best viability models and predictions on what is good at driving sales, how much money it’s going to make and evidence why this is a better approach to be using than others,” he explained.

Catalyst is a really profound use of data, Daykin stated, as it creates a consistent currency across the company, removes silos and empowers marketers to make their case when working with other functions across the business.

READ MORE: Diageo claims marketing effectiveness drive is making its ‘pounds work harder’

Diageo’s European marketing organisation is structured so that there are brand teams and cultural entertainment teams, but different skill sets are brought together under the same manager so that someone with a traditional media background could be working with someone running events. Daykin explained that even though these roles require different ways of looking at the world, it helps for them to be linked together in order to amplify effectiveness.

“Some of this means really simple things like making sure those teams sit together, making sure you have spaces where people naturally congregate,” he said.

“We have 100-plus marketers in our London office, so making sure we have space where those guys can bump into each other [and] work quite casually [is] a big part of how you transform your organisation.”

We want agencies to be very challenging to us and push our teams even further.

Annabel Venner, Hiscox

Joining forces to drive effectiveness is a tactic also being employed at MiQ. A few years ago co-founder Lee Puri introduced a squad-based mentality, which involves drawing on disparate data skill sets across the business.

“Working on some big client accounts we’ll have data scientists, media analysts, programmatic traders, commercial services and sales people, which enables us to tackle some of the client issues that will exist at any one time and I think the output of that is to take a really holistic approach,” Puri explained on stage at the Festival of Marketing.

“For me the most important thing is that there’s complete alignment across all the areas of the business. If I look from a departmental perspective – media, products, analytics, tech – all these areas are fundamentally linked by a mission to better understand the clients through data.”

In-house ambitions

The effectiveness culture being pioneered by brands in 2018 is often powered by a desire to streamline relationships with agencies and bring skills back in-house. When asked how they feel the role of marketing in their organisation is changing, 48.5% of survey respondents say they are seeing more technological expertise being brought in-house.

This trend is being reflected at Hiscox, which has a small internal design team and is looking at in-housing an element of brand analytics. The idea is to in-house elements where the company believes it has the capability to work quicker, faster and cheaper.

“Where we believe agencies can really add value and come up with amazing ideas and opportunities to do brave work, that’s how we want our agencies to behave and we want them to be very challenging to us and push our teams even further,” said Venner.

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She explained that the Hiscox team has grown over the past nine years from 15 marketers to more than 90, running campaigns in seven markets. While the insurer works with agency partners in each market across the UK, US and Asia, this is only when they can add value and deliver skills the in-house team do not possess.

It is crucial to strike a symbiotic relationship with your agency partners and see them as a team of dedicated people who know a lot about media, communications or creative, and work really hard for the business, added Daykin.

He argued the opportunity to take control and be transparent about the way people are working helps build trust and forge stronger relationships with agency partners. Whether it is an internal team or agency relationship, collaboration, transparency and accountability will be the hallmarks of future success.