Yes you read that right, myself and the rest of our designers have been moved under marketing and out of R&D. I think it is going to be okay because I am now reporting to our Branding Director, who is in charge of the direction of all of our chocolate brands ,and has design background but I thought I would put this post up and see if any of you veterans have worked in a design group that is under a marketing organization. If so how did it work out? Was it a positive thing? Did it help you with you Marketing/Design relationship?
We have an innovation RD team, but they do mostly design research and candy development. We still work close with RD and I think as long as we do not loose that relationship we should be good. At the moment there is only two of us and our manager.
In most CPG companies, the marketing team rules the roost. You’ll need to learn a new set of communication methods and how to guide them through development. This would be your greatest challenge because you don’t want to come off as a stick in the mud, but you also don’t want them running off the deep end. And of course, it’ll be your fault if they do. You should have the flexibility now to try out all the crazy stuff you never had the opportunity to do before. Overall, I think this would be a good thing for you. You’ll get a lot of visibility under the marketing team, so the pressure will be there.
In creating innovative products that really matter for the end user
I hate marketing. They always slow down innovation and progress.
marketing guy after my presentation: " WOW I really really like this!"
Me: “So we’ll continue with it?”
Marketing guy:" No, we’ll put in our drawer and wait for ten more years in the meantime you may design me some intermediate products"
Depending on the company I think it’s a good thing. I work in R&D, but honestly, I think the design I do is a bit more marketing than R&D. It seems like packaging design would be even more into marketing than where I am, so it makes sense.
I hope that you get motivated by the increased exposure to the marketing side. They do a lot of good research that you can use as a springboard. Also, a good ally in marketing can ensure projects move forward.
Marketing is closest to the customers and their needs, they develop the roadmaps and define the requirements, so its a better place for Design to live than R&D.
At my last employer I was given dual reporting. This was great because I’m a big believer in iNPD, in which Marketing, R&D and Design are considered three separate but equal disciplines. But during a re-org, R&D somehow briefly absorbed Marketing and I reported to the R&D VP. Although it felt great to be surrounded by a bunch of eager engineers, Marketing stopped answering my calls and I lost access to customers and the requirements definition process.
So in a nutshell, under R&D it became easy to “design,” but those designs were less relevant to the end users and the business. That neutered my value proposition, so I requested to be moved into Marketing as soon as they had legs to stand on. Everything changed for the better (until the next re-org which split both groups into a dozen pieces, but that’s another story…)
It has been the opposite in my experience, they always want to accelerate the time-line because they theorize that drowning your competition with constant new products is a viable strategy. The truth is that it usually turns to crap due to lack of forethought and quality considerations.
Avoid working with anyone that preaches about going for the “low hanging fruit”.
The other half of my job is designing for salespeople, most of whom believe rushing a design to the client makes them look “responsive” regardless of how much the design sucks they seem to think turning designs quick is somehow the key to sales.
So in a nutshell, under R&D it became easy to “design,” but those designs were less relevant to the end users and the business.
Thanks for the replies. After doing some thinking about this and reading your post, I have to say that this may not be as bad of a move after all. We are a very marketing driven company, so it will be nice to be placed with the decision makers. I think the quote above wraps it up and is the reason we were moved over. When it comes down to it design should be placed with the people that are calling the shots and dishing out the work. We still are working close with R&D we just now be sitting with the ones making the decisions.
You should have the flexibility now to try out all the crazy stuff you never had the opportunity to do before. Overall, I think this would be a good thing for you. You’ll get a lot of visibility under the marketing team, so the pressure will be there.
This I am excited about. More visibility, crazy projects, and I thrive under pressure. Should be good
I would agree with the others that have already stated that it depends on the company (specifically the leadership - what was the intent behind the move), but my experience is closest to what CG descibed. I have been moved under marketing in the past year, but I am confident that our CMO really values design. He has put his money where his mouth is and really changed the way that innovation is looked at - technology centric to user centric. He took my team and merged us with a packaging graphics/branding team that already had deeper relationships with marketing. Now I am more fully integrated into driving strategy and using product design to advance marketing growth strategies through strategic innovation pilot programs, where before all ID did was short bursts of tactical work (a pair of hands) to do work that our R+D teams couldn’t do on their own (illustrations, CAD, prototyping).
I have found our marketers to be great champions for good design. They may not always understand the process, but when they understand that you are both centered on the user, you are in a good place!