Structures of The Most Effective Marketing Departments and Teams
- The marketing department structures that are considered effective by expert/thought leaders include Functional Structure, Customer Segment/Market-Based Structure, Product-Based Structure, Hybrid/Matrix Structure, and Digital Marketing Structure.
- Amazon has a functional structure for its e-commerce business which has played a huge role in the organization's success. It is effective at supporting growth in different international markets. On the other hand, Disney has a customer segment structure with various business segments which enables focus on specific industries and business types. It is effective at supporting segments, divisions, brands, and operations across the international market.
- Microsoft has a product-based structure based on functional business groups and engineering groups. It is effective at supporting new product development and innovation for faster entry of new products and services into the market. On the other hand, Facebook has a hybrid/matrix structure based on functional, geographical and product-based divisions. It is effective at providing multinational operations in different markets and supporting creativity, innovation, expansion and diversification.
- Sephora has a functional structure that has embedded digital marketing. Its success is attributed to establishing an in-house web development team very early on in the information age.
- Essential roles for a successful marketing team include the Vice President of Marketing, Marketing Manager, Return on Investment Specialist, Developer, Search Engine Optimization Specialist, and Designer.
This report presents marketing department structures that are considered effective by experts/thought leaders. It also presents ways to organize and manage a successful marketing team as defined by industry experts/thought leaders. This includes Functional Structure, Customer Segment/Market-Based Structure, Product-Based Structure, Hybrid/Matrix Structure, and Digital Marketing Structure. Data on structures for the most effective marketing departments in the world was limited in the public domain. Similarly, data on the organization and management of work, roles, and responsibilities by successful marketing teams globally were unavailable in the public domain. Therefore, data considered effective/successful by industry experts/thought leaders was provided as an alternative. Also, replicas of organizational structures have been provided as an alternative to examples of organizational charts of effective organizations. Below are the detailed findings and the further logic of the research process is outlined in the research strategy at the end of this report.
Most Effective Marketing Department Structures
- This structure is based on business functions and hence groups all the marketing roles into one department.
- Under the marketing function, the marketing structure is broken down into smaller sub-teams such as content marketing, social media management, paid media, web design, and analytics.
- It makes it easy to identify and assign tasks to employees since its departments are based on a common function such as marketing.
- It provides for specialization in roles and deep-marketing expertise hence it improves efficiency and effectiveness, and provides stability and accountability.
- This structure is preferred by large organizations as it provides a chain of command and allows for clear communication and cooperation between different departments.
- On the downside, this structure can be inefficient if the organization has several products or target markets, cause barriers to integrating new channels, inhibit employee growth and create internal competition.
- Amazon has a functional structure for its e-commerce business which has played a huge role in the organization's success. The structure is effective at supporting growth in different international markets.
- This structure allows organizations to tailor their marketing programs to customer segments such as size, customer type, market, or industry.
- It is ideal for organizations that have unique products or services for specific customer segments with a different marketing team responsible for each segment. Therefore, it provides each marketing team with autonomy where employees work independently of the other team.
- It is effective if the organization has advanced knowledge of the segments, and it keeps the organization aware of demand changes among its different segments.
- The structure fits organizations with a large customer base and a complex sales process to ensure customers are constantly engaged in the process hence improved customer engagement and customer relationship building.
- It allows for product teams to concentrate on customizing products or services and marketing teams to disseminate messaging that resonates with different customer segments hence more effective sales. It also allows streamlining of communication between different departments.
- On the downside, the structure can be costly since it requires multiple teams with different skills and knowledge and the autonomy within each team can lead to duplication of work.
- Disney has a customer segment structure with various business segments which enables focus on specific industries and business types. The structure is effective at supporting segments, divisions, brands, and operations across the international market.
- This structure is based on product line departments with each having its own marketing team responsible for the marketing strategy of its specific product.
- It is ideal for large organizations with multiple lines of products or services with each marketing team undertaking research on the target market, content marketing, and analytics for the specific product line.
- This structure allows organizations to mitigate risk since the poor performance of a product line does not automatically translate to other product lines.
- It helps to shorten product development cycles and enhances the ability to create product feedback loops, respond to new trends and meet customer needs while focusing on targeted markets. Hence, it supports small businesses to speed up entry into a market with new products or services.
- As a drawback, it is difficult to scale under a product-based structure, and the organization may end up with duplicate resources in different marketing activities.
- Microsoft has a product-based structure based on functional business groups and engineering groups. The structure is effective at supporting new product development and innovation for faster entry of new products and services into the market.
- This structure combines the advantages of both functional and divisional (customer segment/market-based and product-based) structures. The functions report to one departmental head and each division has smaller sub-teams.
- It provides more balanced decision-making as it has two chains of command and dual reporting relationships with strong direct-reporting relationships (functional reporting) and weak secondary-reporting relationships (divisional reporting). The functional reporting takes precedence over divisional reporting.
- It is customer-centric with interconnected approach to create positive and personal relationships with customers. The teams are cross-functional and combine all marketing aspects to cater to the customer needs.
- The structure is also cost-effective, relies on communication and collaboration and is designed to ensure consistent and unified message is strengthened across all channels. Hence, this structure needs to consistently incorporate team-building and encourage communication, flexibility, and creativity.
- It is more flexible, responsive and adaptive to new market conditions hence organizations use this structure in dynamic environments like projects. A project overseen by more than one business function creates opportunities to share resources and open communication.
- It enables employees to be experts in their fields but also get opportunities to expand their skills and influence the organization’s strategic direction which leads to more fulfilling careers.
- As a drawback, this structure is complex and can lead to conflict or coordination challenges between departments or divisions.
- Facebook has a hybrid/matrix structure based on functional, geographical and product-based divisions. The structure is effective at providing multinational operations in different markets and supporting creativity, innovation, expansion and diversification. Starbucks also has a hybrid/matrix structure based on functional and product-based divisions.
- This structure is essential for an organization looking to establish an online presence.
- The organization can have specialized teams that focus on different aspects of digital marketing such as SEO, paid search engine advertising, and content marketing. This allows each team to specialize and become experts in the area of focus, which leads to better results for the organization.
- The structure of the digital marketing department is important in optimizing budgets and delivering optimal Return On Investment. It varies by organization size but includes a dedicated team of people with various backgrounds and skill sets to handle all digital marketing aspects.
- The structure is customer-centric, driven by customers' insights, desires, needs, and feedback. It requires the digital marketing team to fully understand its customers and grow with its customers while maintaining the organization’s overall business goals. This may include shifting a marketing channel or product to target the same customers over time.
- Digital resources are more accessible offering unique avenues and channels for effective customer engagement while maintaining control over messaging. It enables digital specialists to support relevant campaigns in their area of focus but also contribute to the holistic digital marketing strategies.
- It is an expensive structure as it heavily relies on specialized roles and online ads. Therefore, it is important to have a marketing analyst role that will measure and provide quantitative data on the performance of the different aspects of digital marketing.
- Sephora has a functional structure that has embedded digital marketing with traditional marketing and digital marketing divisions combined into one and led by a Chief Digital Officer. Its success is attributed to establishing an in-house web development team early on in the internet age.
I. Functional Structure
II. Customer Segment/Market-Based Structure
III. Product-Based Structure
IV. Hybrid/Matrix Structure
V. Digital Marketing Structure
Ways To Organize and Manage a Successful Marketing Team
- Successful marketing teams are organized and managed in terms of work, roles and responsibilities based on size of the organization (Small Business, Medium Business, and Large Business/Enterprise).
- A small organization has a marketing team with one to three people to oversee all the marketing activities. They have more dual-role positions and generalists in the marketing team. Alternatively, one employee may develop content from concept to completion.
- The employees may be versatile but not specialists in any skill. Therefore, the organizations outsource specialist agencies and freelancers to support the team.
- The marketing team may have one the roles or a combination of the roles (Marketing Director, Marketing Coordinators, and Marketing Assistants).
- Marketing Director/Marketing Manager is responsible for developing and implementing the marketing strategy while the Marketing Coordinators are responsible for creating content and executing the marketing strategy. On the other hand, the Marketing Assistants are responsible for administrative tasks that will help the marketing coordinator develop assets and content for the organization.
- Medium organizations have some in-house specialists in the marketing team. However, they still outsource external agencies and freelancers to deliver some work especially where collaboration is required across locations.
- They may have some specialists such as Social Media Specialist, SEO Expert, Influencer/Partnership Coordinator, PR Officer/Communications Staff, and CRO Expert.
- The Social Media Specialist is responsible for developing a social media strategy and social media management while the SEO Expert develops an organic search strategy.
- The Influencer/Partnership Coordinator coordinates influencers and brand partnerships while the PR Officer/Communications Staff handles media requests and outgoing communications.
- CRO Expert is a conversion rate optimization expert and create offers for customers.
- Large/Enterprise organizations with over 250 people have the broadest range of marketing roles in the marketing team. The marketing team has specialists with deep-expertise.
- The marketing team has layers of management that with team leads and specialists. This creates a large but fluid chain of command where teams are encouraged to work together.
- It creates more opportunities for specialists that capitalize on different skills but it can be difficult to coordinate the teams.
I. Small Business
II. Medium Business
III. Large Business/Enterprise
- Essential roles for a successful marketing team include the Vice President of Marketing, Marketing Manager, Return on Investment Specialist, Developer, Search Engine Optimization Specialist, and Designer. The Vice President of Marketing manages the budgets and functions while the Marketing Manager assigns marketing tasks to the marketing team.
- The Return on Investment Specialist understands the investment in marketing. On the other hand, the Developer creates creative and interactive content. The Search Engine Optimization Specialist analyzes the trends and audience research while the Designer analyzes the layout of content.
For this research on the most effective marketing department structures and successful marketing teams globally, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain including HubSpot, CoSchedule, Neil Patel, and Construction Marketing Association. We prioritized real examples of structures for the most effective marketing departments globally, but it was limited in the public domain. Similarly, data on the organization and management of work, roles, and responsibilities by successful marketing teams globally were unavailable in the public domain. After exhaustive research and reviewing the sources, we identified 5 marketing department structures that are considered effective by experts/thought leaders. Also, we identified 3 ways to organize and manage a successful marketing team as defined by industry experts/thought leaders. These have been provided as an alternative in addition to replicas of organizational structures as an alternative to examples of organizational charts of effective organizations.