Today was definitely a milestone in my career as a Forrester analyst – a piece of research was published that consumed most of my attention for the past four months.  It’s a Big Idea piece called Reinventing The Marketing Organization.

What’s a Big Idea?  In the words of Forrester’s Head of NA Research Chris Mines, "Forrester Big Ideas bring clarity and shape to future markets, business
practices, and business models that are forged in the cauldron of
technology change."

The executive summary:

Today’s marketing organizations are broken. Three out of four marketing
departments have reorganized in the past two years. Almost 80% of
marketers don’t influence a critical customer interaction like customer
service, and 85% don’t even own the "four Ps" of marketing anymore. To
regain effectiveness, marketers must transition to a Customer-Centric
Marketing Organization. Doing so requires: 1) redesigning P&Ls and
metrics; 2) shifting culture away from marketing communications; 3)
investing in a customer relationship infrastructure; and 4) rethinking
agency relationships.

I know this sounds high-level, but that’s why it’s called an executive summary!  The piece turned out to be a long one, running 23 pages with 8 figures and based on CMO/VP interviews, survey data, and other primary and secondary research.

One of my favorite concepts that ended up on the editing room floor:  the marketing mix is fine – tactics may change (e.g. branded entertainment or social computing) but strategic principles remain the same (e.g. relationship building and consumer engagement).  However, the traditional model needs to be expanded to incorporate a 5th "P":  Participation.

My next big piece will be related – Reinventing the Agency.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have thoughts on the subject and would like to be included in the research.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on why there’s much more talk than action today around being customer-centric.  Who’s doing it well?  Who’s not?  What will it take for marketers to add the 5th P into the marketing mix and reinvent their organizations?