Advertising Crew Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive


How lengthy has it been since your advertising workforce acquired restructured? 

Sporting our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was throughout the final two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Analysis from Advertising Week’s 2024 Profession and Wage Survey finds that just about half of selling groups restructured within the final 12 months. (And the opposite half in all probability did it the earlier yr.) 

Why do advertising groups restructure so typically? Is that this a brand new factor? Is it simply one thing that comes with advertising? What does all of it imply for now and the longer term? 

CMI chief technique advisor Robert Rose provides his take on this video and the abstract under. 

Advertising means frequent change 

Advertising Week’s 2024 Profession and Wage Survey finds 46.5% of selling groups restructured within the final yr — a 5-percentage level improve over 2023 when 41.4% of groups modified their construction. 

However that’s markedly lower than the 56.5% of selling groups that restructured in 2022, which probably mirrored the influence of distant work, the fallout of the pandemic, and different digital advertising traits. 

Perhaps the true story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of companies restructured their advertising final yr.” The true story could also be, “Holy smokes, solely 46% of companies restructured their advertising.” 

Put merely, advertising groups are actually within the enterprise of fixing continuously. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does advertising expertise this alteration? You don’t see this taking place in different components of the enterprise. Accounting groups hardly ever get restructured (often provided that one thing dramatic occurs within the group). The identical goes for authorized or operations. Does advertising change too continuously? Or do different features in enterprise not change sufficient? 

Second, you could ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our advertising groups in a while. Are we behind? Are we lacking out? What are they organizing into? Or you could fall on the different finish of the spectrum and ask, “Are we altering too quick? Do corporations that don’t change so typically do higher? 

OK, that’s multiple query, however the second query boils all the way down to this: Must you restructure your advertising group? 

Reorganizing advertising 

Centralization emerged because the theme popping out of the pandemic. Gartner experiences (registration required) a definite transfer to a completely centralized mannequin for advertising over the previous couple of years: “(R)esponsibilities throughout the advertising group have shifted. Advertising’s sole duties for advertising operations, advertising technique, and marketing-led innovation have elevated.”  

In keeping with a Gartner examine, advertising assuming sole accountability for advertising operations, advertising innovation, model administration, and digital rose by double-digit share factors in 2022 in comparison with the earlier yr.  

What does all that imply for immediately in plainer language? 

As a result of groups are siloed, it’s more and more harder to create a collaborative surroundings. And advertising and content material creation processes are complicated (there are many individuals doing extra small components to inventive, content material, channel administration, and measurement). So it’s loads tougher as of late to get stuff executed in the event you’re not working as not one large, joined-up workforce. 

Truthfully, it comes all the way down to this query: How do you higher talk and coordinate your content material? That’s innovation in trendy advertising — an concept and content material manufacturing facility working in a coordinated, constant, and collaborative approach. 

Let me offer you an instance. All 25 corporations we labored with final yr skilled restructuring fatigue. They weren’t keen inventive, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech groups champing on the bit for extra new roles, duties, and operational adjustments. They have been nonetheless making an attempt to settle into the final restructuring.  

What labored was fine-tuning a principally centralized mannequin into a completely centralized operational mannequin. It wasn’t a full restructuring, only a nudge to maintain going. 

In most of these conditions, the Gartner knowledge rang true. Advertising has shifted to get a tighter and nearer set of disparate groups working collectively to collaborate, produce, and measure extra effectively and successfully.  

As Gartner mentioned in true Gartner-speak vogue: “Marginal losses of sole accountability (in favor of shared and collaborative) have been additionally reported throughout capabilities important for digitally oriented development, together with digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Corporations gave up the concept of selling proudly owning one a part of the shopper expertise, content material sort, or channel. As a substitute, they moved into extra collaborative sharing of the shopper expertise, content material sort, or channel.  

Rethinking the advertising reorg 

This evolution might be productive. 

Virtually 10 years in the past, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our e book Experiences: The 7th Period of Advertising. We talked concerning the concept of constructing to alter: 

“Tomorrow’s advertising and communications groups succeed by studying to adapt — and by deploying programs of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By continually constructing to alter, the advertising division builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the advertising workforce of the longer term wouldn’t be asking what it was turning into however why it was altering. Advertising immediately is on the tipping level of that. 

The truth that half of all advertising groups restructure and alter each two years may not be a response to shifting markets. It might simply be how you must consider advertisingas one thing fluid that you simply construct and alter into no matter it wants to be tomorrow, not one thing you have to tear down and restructure each few years.  

The energy in that view comes not in figuring out it’s essential to change or what you’ll become. The energy comes from the flexibility and capability to do no matter advertising ought to. 


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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute 


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