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Opinion: Working towards a common goal

Now is the time when business models need to be right. There is too much at stake, financially and logistically, for businesses to be spending wasted hours on internal processes that aren't working, and teams that are not communicating with each other.

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There is a growing tendency for companies to operate in a disjointed manner, and in the marketing industry, where integration is still a buzz word, shouldn't the idea of integrating practices be applied to the running of the business as well as to client work?

The main issue is the fact that departments are often run in silos, especially in large businesses.

Finance teams are quite rightly concerned with finance issues, and marketing and new business on their own priorities.

Marketing departments in particular can often be seen to have their own agendas, with managers focused on high sales targets and the overall image of the company.  But what is the use of marketing a business if the internal messages have broken down?

If departments have their own concerns, goals and targets, then where is the joined up strategy, and the communication needed to make a business thrive?

Quite often the solution can be found at the top.

If the CEO, and importantly, the COO, are sales focused, then the business will also go this way.

If they have more of an interest in marketing or creativity, then this will also show in the business model.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a business having a particular direction, and many marketing agencies pride themselves on having a special focus area, for example green, youth or over 50s marketing.

But this kind of structure comes at a price.

The outward projection of one key focus can actually be very beneficial, but internally, equal attention needs to be paid to each element of the business to make sure goals are achieved across the board.

For example, if the focus is on being green, then all departments need to be working towards this goal and communicating internally to report on progress and any issues.

Unless the senior management has a balanced view of what each department is working on, the business will suffer as a result.

Strategy should be broad and all encompassing, and if companies get this right, then they will be in a better position to survive the downturn.

Marc Lawn, director, Crystal Mapping.

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