NEW YORK: It wasn't a US marketing executive who coined the aphorism "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". But French novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr seemingly empathized with the current plight of America's band of product-shifters

A study of 132 marketing executives, released Friday by the Association of National Advertisers, reveals that reorganization is now a way of life at many major US companies, with 29% of marketers currently in the throes and another 39% having survived such an ordeal within the past two years.

The research, conducted for the ANA by research firm Guideline in October 2007, found marketers to be distinctly underwhelmed by the results of such upheavals. Forty-seven percent declared themselves "somewhat satisfied"; 23% were either "somewhat" or "very dissatisfied" and 18% were neutral.

Just 13% admitted to being "very satisfied" with their current structures (rounding of numbers accounts for 101% total).

Less than half of respondents (48%) believe that structural changes to marketing had actually improved their companies' marketing abilities during the past two years. Another 17% judged that restructuring had worsened abilities; while 36% detected no change.

However, it seems that business-to-consumer marketers are less disillusioned with the craving for systemic change than their counterparts in business-to-business marketing.

More than half of the former (55%) opined that restructuring had improved marketing effectiveness; 15% felt "very satisfied" with their current structures, and 70% were "very" or "somewhat satisfied". 

But despite marketers' concerns and dissatisfaction, 61% believed that their firm's marketing  performance has improved in the past two years.

Observes ANA chief executive Bob Liodice: "Companies are clearly moving to rein-in dispersed marketing organizations and tightly integrate all the marketing disciplines. However, at this point, creating the optimal marketing organization is still a work in progress."

Nonetheless, marketing executives' perceive their influence within their company to be growing. The percentage who said marketing leads other functions grew three percentage points to 26% from a similar survey two years ago.

While the percentage believing that marketing trails or has limited interactions with other functions dropped to 8% from 19% two years ago.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff