Taming Turf Wars

Getting operations personnel to work with the marketers isn’t always easy. “Ops is concerned with the details, and marketing is concerned with sales,” says Don Libey of Cherry Hill, NJ-based catalog consultancy Libey-Concordia.

And both teams are concerned about protecting their department, staff, and performance standards. One way to eradicate “turf wars,” Libey says, is to have the heads of marketing and operations conduct each other’s annual bonus review. He recommends calling to their attention specific problems brought to light by performance bench-marking, such as too many returns or customer confusion about a certain line of products. After specifying the areas that need improvement, the marketing and operations directors should then be advised that if these problems are not significantly improved in a year, they will not receive their next bonuses. At the end of the year, each side points out which problem areas have been corrected, and if they have cooperated, and progress has been made, both get rewarded.

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