COPENHAGEN: The structure of a company's marketing organisation in the near future could resemble that of the US space programme, according to a leading industry figure.

Christian Godske, group media director at brewer Carlsberg Worldwide, likened the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) to that of a NASA flight director (as portrayed by Ed Harris in the film Apollo 13) with a number of flight controllers, specialists in their respective fields, contributing expertise from different physical locations.

He told Blink, an industry magazine published by MediaCom, that the CMO of 2020 would have to be "extremely agile" to cope with the huge amounts of information coming their way and make decisions on how to act in the moment.

But even with all the new channels, data and analytics at their disposal, "experience, wisdom and intimate consumer knowledge will still be at the heart of the job," Godske said.

He also expected that the link between marketing and content and PR would become ever stronger, while "product development and point-of-sale, off- and on-line, may also become part of the marketing world as the CMO becomes responsible for forging and managing the end-to-end consumer experience".

The task facing them – of what to sell, to whom and how – was, Godske suggested, "one of the most complex challenges of our time" and the entire organisation, not just the marketing function, would have to develop a greater sophistication in its ability to "draw actionable insights and commercial meaning from reams of data, chatter and research".

If they were to be successful in this endeavour, they would have to be dynamic and responsive and start thinking of their internal organisation as being "as fluid as the consumer marketplaces they serve".

The marketing functions, teams and talent were, he argued, simply "a living ecosystem that can move and change to suit those priorities".

Carlsberg's "Fluid and Focused" approach means that local markets have the freedom to create their own take on the brand's global positioning, something Carlsberg Belgium did to good effect, filming a social experiment based on the idea of "a reward for a daily act of courage".

Couples buying tickets for a Harry Potter film were confronted with a cinema full of tattooed bikers and only two empty seats. Most walked out, but those who didn't were cheered by the bikers and given a Carlsberg each.

Data sourced from Blink; additional content by Warc staff