The archetype of the world class tech marketing organization, Top Ten characteristics:
1) The senior-most marketing leader is viewed as a being a business-person by the CEO or COO or equivalent.
2) The senior-most marketer is perceived by the other peer-level direct reports to have equal weight and reporting status in the politics and influence of overall management.
3) If it is primarily a B2B tech vendor, the senior-most marketer has an especially productive and collaborative relationship with the senior-most Sales exec.
4) The marketing organization has a good grasp of its "marketing business model"; that is, what are the ingrained programs, practices, etc. that represent the foundation to the company's marketing platform. There is an annual "rhythm" to this marketing business model so that there is a good sense, across the marketing team, of a solid operating pattern. In other words, the team does not feel as if the marketing strategy changes frequently and is the "flavor of the month".
5) In addition to the foundation of this marketing business model, there is also the room, the operating space, to try new marketing initiatives. These should be one or two (at the most) major initiatives that are tested and tried during the year, lead by the CMO.
6) There is a good balance to the art plus the science of marketing. The foundational elements of the marketing business model should be ingrained enough so that there is a steady and relevant stream of performance metrics that can be driven out of the activity. To the extent that the CMO is able to produce and manage towards these metrics for the core activities, he/she will be allowed more latitude for creating and testing new activities - which by definition will be hard to apply the science to at the beginning.
7) There is good attention to the marketing operations aspects. The marketing organization is right-sized; it is balanced appropriately for the resources and activities that are at corporate vs. elsewhere. There is good attention to budgets(marketing's managerial accounting process); a strong marketing performance measurement process; marketing's short-term and long-term technology needs; and there is enough awareness and circumspection about the marketing budget and the overall company income statement that the CMO, if requested, can with-stand a budget reduction while still being able to keep the core elements of the marketing business model in place and productive.
8) There is a strong marketing staff and constant attention to improving staff caliber and building skill sets.
9) The CMO and staff have a good grasp of the marketplace wants/needs; key industry trends that impact the work; and key competitors and trends. All this is indicative of good "outside-in" marketing and will help the marketing team to be perceived as business people that can credibly represent the voice of the customer within the organization. (for marketing, sales and product development/innovation)
10) The marketing function is perceived within the organization as a good place to work; a function where careers can be built; a function that has a high bar for job entry.
I could go on, but those are the top ten.
How long could it take? Depends on what you are starting with. If rock-bottom is the basis, it could take 2-3 years.
By Rich Vancil, VP Executive Advisory Group, IDC