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October 29, 2010 / davebirss

Merging the wrong departments?

When I was in the States a couple of months ago I had a whiskey-fuelled conversation with the Sales Director of a big finance company. He was telling me how a new MD had come in and made some quite radical changes. The big change that had affected him personally was the merging of the Sales and Marketing departments. The reasoning behind it was that the purpose of the two departments was to shift products, so wouldn’t it be better if they worked together on shifting even more product – and they could get rid of a few people in the rationalisation process, saving even more money in the short-term?

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Not exactly.

Apart from the fact that the merger had (unsurprisingly) not gone smoothly, I think it shows a fundamental flaw in the way the majority of people do business. It feels like typical company-focused bullshit – the audience isn’t considered until you have to start selling a product to them. The marketing department and salesforce are measured on sales targets, again turning the consumer into a number rather than a human with desires and needs.

My (possibly-should-be-slightly-more-humble) opinion is that the company merged the wrong two departments. I reckon it would have been better if they’d merged the product department with the marketing department. In that way, they could use audience insight to inform their products, build marketing into the products themselves and have products that stand out from everything else because they’re something the market actually wants.

Naturally, I’m an opinionated oaf (I’ve got a blog, haven’t I?) But I’m also saying this because it’s an approach I’m working on for a couple of businesses that I advise. And I’m pretty hopefully that it’ll work.

But I may be wrong.

I’ll tell you how I get on.

What do you think?

2 Comments

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  1. james / Oct 31 2010 7:31 pm

    yep. working from business need out to audience need isn’t a very clever thing to do, is it?

    i’ve heard of a company (think it’s maybe a small american bank), which merged the marketing and human resources teams because they wanted to make sure everyone was living and breathing the brand in every human interaction.

    that sounds awesome to me.

  2. davebirss / Nov 1 2010 12:42 am

    Ooh. I like the sound of that! 😀

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