Marketing Capabilities Notes no. 5 – The Marketing Coalition banner

Marketing Capabilities Notes no. 5 – The Marketing Coalition

Marketing is no longer a function – it is an outcome created by a coalition of functions.

Especially in larger companies, gone are the days when a factory produces widgets and the marketing team has free rein to put them in the hands of customers. Today, whether you are marketing products, services, or a brand, you are likely to experience the following:

  • Finance will evaluate, then approve or deny, your request for additional resources to drive change.
  • Information Technology will help you evaluate, build, buy, implement, update, and/or use necessary software marketing tools.
  • Consumer Insights will research and indicate whether a given marketing tactic will resonate with the market.
  • Advertising and User Experience Design – often outsourced – will create the art and software interfaces that consumers use to interact with your brand.
  • Operations will share possibilities and constraints in manufacturing, software development, and supply chain.
  • Sales will decide how to present any marketing plan and communicate directly with those who matter most: your customers.
  • Etc.

And what do marketers do? Increasingly, it is program management. General manager marketers will coordinate cross-functional teams to launch or manage a product, service, or marketing campaign. There exist bodies of knowledge of how to do program management – for instance, as related to the Project Management Institute’s PgMP certification – and they are worth exploring. Such bodies of knowledge share key ideas about how to manage more effectively.

But being a great program manager is not enough. The most effective marketers will also remember why we do this work, which is to create and deliver an effective set of marketing capabilities. No customer will buy your widget because your finance and information technology departments are individually excellent – they will buy it when they combine to produce an outcome that they value.

For example, a toy company might try to build a world-class digital design capability for inventing new toys that their customers will love. Or a B2B software company might populate their Customer Relationship Management system to ensure that their customers receive personalized, timely, and relevant communications. What set of marketing capabilities would build the most value for your customers and grow your business?

Seventy-two marketing capabilities exist out there in the world. (See the Modern Marketing Capability Map, below.) After assessing and deciding which capabilities to target, rally and coordinate your cross-functional departments to build and deliver them with excellence.

The Modern Marketing Capability Map

Here is the Modern Marketing Capability Map – a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive compilation of 72 marketing capabilities designed to help executives identify marketing capabilities of over- and under-investment. Access it via the MMA website at



Marketing Capabilities Institute

December 3, 2021

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