How to Tell When It’s Time to Improve Your Marketing Orchestration?



In this blog post, we explore the criticality of evolving marketing orchestration processes, particularly as businesses scale. We discuss the challenges of making process changes and identify key indicators that signal a need for improvement, such as persistent delays in project timelines, poor inter-team communication, and the repetitive emergence of similar problems. The post emphasizes the importance of proactive process enhancement to maintain a balance between flexibility and process integrity, ensuring that marketing teams are not only efficient but also satisfied and well-coordinated in their efforts.

By Tom Swanson, Engagement Manager, Heinz Marketing

Process changes are among some of the most difficult to make in business.  It takes a long time and needs to be handled with care.  Most teams avoid making process changes until there are already rampant problems.  For marketing orchestration, it is best to be proactively improving your process as you scale.  And yet, cannot keep your team in a state of constant change.

So how do you know when it is time to invest in orchestration improvement?  These are big and important projects, so knowing where and when to start gets you the best possible chance of success.  We have found a number of strong signals for when a team might be suffering from inadequate orchestration.  Curious what that is?  Here is a blog post on what marketing orchestration is in the first place.

If you find yourself asking these questions over and over, it might be time to plan out that project.

Why are things taking so long?

B2B marketing agency missing deadlines and having chaos, represented with business animals.

This is by far the most common issue we see among marketing orchestration projects.  If you are continuously asking yourself why it is taking so long to get X thing to market (be it a campaign, asset, or some other resource), it is very likely a process problem.  The persistence of this problem means that your process isn’t trackable.  You can’t get the status reports you need.

Furthermore, you can’t capacity plan if you don’t know how long things take or why.  If your team frequently mentions a lack of SLAs or problems with timelines, you have this problem.  Effective orchestration processes will give you the data you need to have effective and obtainable timelines.

Here are a handful of the other knock-on effects of this type of disorganization:

  1. No process integrity – work comes in and is actioned in a haphazard way
  2. Burn-out – Non-standardized workflows increase cognitive load and fatigue
  3. Inability to adapt – Effective adaptation demands speed, which you don’t have

Effective marketing orchestration balances out the flexibility needed to adapt to market conditions with the process integrity needed for your team to not just be sane, but happy. Timelines are an important part of governance, and your team deserves a solid, dependable process.

Why don’t our teams communicate well?


Second most common is poor communication.  For larger marketing teams, this is quite common across sub-teams.  For example: the media planning team is not in constant contact with the content team about what is and is not performing.  This breakdown ensures that content will never perform as well as it could and yields sub-par ROAS.

Another common issue that comes up here is communication channel misalignment.  Teams find out about things too late because the conversations were in an email they weren’t on.  Meetings are spent explaining old decisions, taking in feedback that should have been dealt with a week ago.  It is frustrating, and nobody likes working in these settings.

Some additional effects of poor communication:

  1. Cross-functional misalignment – Inter-team trust is damaged from all the miscommunication
  2. Confusion – Poorly communicated priority leads to “hair on fire” culture
  3. Project delays – Necessary feedback comes too late, bringing teams back to the drawing board

The old business school cliché is “communication is the most important skill”.  It is so commonly said for a reason, yet for all its importance we drastically under-invest in its facilitation.  How your process standardizes communication is important, and how it eases and improves it is where you go from “getting things done” to “crushing it”.

How many times do we have to solve this?

Third most common symptom is when the same problems come up time after time.  They may look slightly different each time, giving the illusion of progress, but at their core they are dealing with the same old problems.  There is usually an “ah-ha” moment when a leader connects the dots between all of their missed deadlines and team complaints.  They realize they have dealt with different flavors of the same issue over and over.
If you solve problems as they come up, be on the lookout for similarities between them.  You will eventually realize that you have been playing whack-a-mole for years.  Orchestration means every team working together in concert, and thus one teams problem impacts the entire ensemble.  In order to break the band-aid loop, you need to recognize the commonalities and solve the root cause.

Here are some of the other effects of whack-a-mole:

  1. Fatigue – Frequent changes tire your team out and erode confidence in leadership
  2. Vigilantism – Teams solving problems for themselves makes things worse organizationally
  3. Capacity crunch – Time spent solving persistent issues could be spent doing better marketing

In nearly every orchestration project, teams have tried to solve the problems themselves.  Asking a team to solve their own process problems, while still working in their poor process, is often a bridge too far.  Improving orchestration takes the whole marketing team.  It demands candor and honesty, which is especially difficult if relationships are frayed by poor processes.


Improving marketing orchestration takes a considerable investment of time, energy, and goodwill.  When you do it, you want to do it right.  That starts with having a solid understanding of why this is the best path.  The three issues we laid out above: Unknown timelines, poor cross-functional communication, and whack-a-mole problem solving, are all clear indicators that a process change is needed.  What exactly the change is will depend largely on your scale, strategic needs, and team culture.

Processes are tricky, especially in marketing where change is a constant companion.  What your orchestration looks will vary.  Bigger teams with more moving parts needs a drastically different process than smaller, scrappy teams that are early in development.  Your infrastructure needs to support your growth, and you need to be unafraid to update your process as you scale.

If you are encountering any of the issues we have listed above, or just want to talk about marketing orchestration, we are happy to chat.  We have a marketing orchestration scorecard that we would be happy to share.  Just email me at  Good luck and happy processing!