It is important to minimize business disruption during the transition. Toward that end, the shift to a new model should come in phases that are tied to key milestones (for example, the end of a quarter or a year). The transition team should focus on areas in which implementation is less complex and there is management buy-in. Finally, the rollout plan should be tailored to meet the specific needs of each geography.
By definition, these transitions are top-down affairs. When the chief marketing officer at Harrah’s decided to transform its model, for instance, he set up a management group composed of senior marketing leaders from the company’s casinos and other properties. A 360-degree performance evaluation was undertaken to ensure full cooperation from all stakeholders. At Philips, the CEO mandated that business units could not opt out. The CMO then went to work, rounding up the disparate marketing elements into a single integrated group.
Implementing a shared-services model following these four steps enables both the corporate center and the business units to concentrate on strategic marketing, instead of just tactical execution. This will be a key differentiator, as the number of customer segments, brands, product lines, and geographies that marketing executives must serve continues to expand. Companies that get the transformation right will find themselves with a competitive advantage that will prove to be a powerful new engine for growth.
- Edward C. Landry is a partner with Booz & Company based in New York. He leads the firm’s global marketing and sales service offering and works closely with senior executives on marketing and sales strategy and performance improvement.
- Thomas Ripsam is a partner with Booz & Company based in Florham Park, N.J. He helps clients in the consumer, retail, media, and technology industries design high-performing sales and marketing organizations.
- Namit Kapoor is a principal with Booz & Company based in Chicago. He specializes in formulating shared-services strategies as well as improving the effectiveness and efficiency of sales and marketing functions.