Which Comes First, Operations or Marketing?

May 08, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

John Malmo writes on GoMemphis.com, “It is traditional in most companies that the operating division is the lead dog on the sled and that other divisions function in supporting roles.”

This is one tradition, he argues, that needs to be changed. “Because marketing, not operations, drives demand, and demand drives growth.”

The author says operations should report to marketing for practical reasons. “If operating people don’t answer to the CMO (chief marketing officer), she can’t be held responsible for success. Her other tools, such as advertising and sales promotion, are compromised if operations are flawed.”

Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree that marketing should
be in the lead role within a company and that other departments should function
in supporting roles?

Our experience tells us that the issue isn’t so much a
case of which business function is running things as it is which person is in

Specialization, regardless of the discipline, by its nature
limits an individual’s perspective. We’d argue that what is really needed are
more generalists and fewer specialists. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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