• June 27, 2024

Most Marketers Experience Collaboration Drag

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Collaboration drag—when teams experience too many meetings, too much feedback from colleagues, and unclear decision-making authority when working cross-functionally—is a real problem experienced by 84 percent of marketing leaders and team leaders, according to Gartner.

“Marketing leaders are under pressure to work on an ever-growing number of cross-functional projects,” says Kristina La-Rocca Cerrone, senior director of advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “Collaboration drag leads to an overall sense of frustration within the marketing function, creating unnecessary extra work and leading to employee burnout. But it’s not just employees it harms; it’s also hurting commercial performance.”

Organizations with high levels of collaboration drag are 37 percent less likely to achieve their revenue goals, the research also found.

From a staffing perspective, this is also a real problem for companies. Gartner’s research also found that marketing team members who experience high collaboration drag are 15 times more likely to feel burned out and nine times more likely to plan to leave the company in the next year.

By investing in and developing marketing talent, marketing leaders can reduce collaboration drag by 23 percent, according to Gartner, which suggests that companies should prioritize developing their teams’ interpersonal influence, critical thinking, and technical skills and using on-the-job learning programs to unlock practical mastery.

“Resolving collaboration drag by improving executive alignment won’t work, because changes at the leadership level don’t impact how work gets done at the team level,” LaRocca-
Cerrone says. “Developing marketing talent will help marketers build the skills they need to thrive in complex decision-making environments. CMOs must focus in on specific skills and create learning environments that cement new skills and encourage development.”

Gartner also recommends that CMOs improve marketing workflows and change management to ease the burden on their team; clarify where the team’s responsibilities for certain projects start and end; empower their team to say no to low-priority collaborative work; and prioritize team participation in areas where marketing can drive the greatest impact.

“Collaboration drag cannot be solved by changing how other functions work,” LaRocca-Cerrone says. “Developing marketing’s talent and processes will equip the function to thrive in inherently difficult cross-functional environments.”

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