How to Design a Marketing Organization Structure for More Effective Teams

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How to Design a Marketing Organization Structure for More Effective Teams
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How to Design a Marketing Organization Structure for More Effective Teams

When starting out as a business, organizational hierarchy can be straightforward. Things like who’s reporting to who, team responsibilities, and the division of tasks are usually quite straightforward for a small team! But as a team grows and becomes more specialized, creating an organizational structure can be the thing that keeps growing teams aligned and working towards the same goals.

Your organizational structure is the structure of your team, but today we’ll talk specifically about marketing organization structure. Do you have questions about what it is, different marketing org structure examples, or how to choose the proper marketing organization structure for your business? Then let’s take a closer look at marketing organization structure.

What is a marketing organization structure

What is a marketing organization structure?

A marketing organization structure (or marketing organizational structure) is the structure of your marketing department. It’s often visualized as a hierarchy chart and includes what roles are available on your team, their responsibilities, and who they collaborate with or report to.

With a solid marketing department organization structure, teams can be more effective and better hit their goals. But choosing the right marketing organizational structure for your business will depend on various factors. So before deciding on a structure below, start by asking yourself…

  • How big is the team? How many unique job roles or departments are there? Some marketing org structures lend themselves better to small and straightforward teams, while others are adaptable to enterprise teams that may be highly specialized or geographically dispersed.
  • How much control or oversight do you want? Some reporting structures have all levels reporting back to the CEO, while others empower team leaders to take in information and make decisions. While there are benefits to both ways, you’ll want to consider how crucial centralized decision-making is for your business – will it drive you forward or slow you down?
  • How much agility does your business require? Some industries require more adaptability and ability to pivot than others. Consider your product in the market before deciding the best way to organize your marketing team.
  • Any other factors? For example, geographic location might be the most crucial deciding factor in making a marketing organization structure for an international team.

When you understand your priorities, you’ll be better able to choose a marketing organization structure that yields the greatest agility, effectiveness, employee empowerment, and focus.

Want to learn more about why team structure matters? Give this a read.

6 Marketing Organization Structure Examples

6 Marketing Organization Structure Examples

1.  Functional Organization Structure

Let’s start with the most conventional structure – the functional marketing organization structure. Employees are organized by focus, skill, or job positions in this structure. For a large organization, this might look like a marketing leader – let’s say a VP of Marketing – that oversees different functional teams – digital marketing, product marketing, etc. But, of course, the size and complexity of the organization will change what this looks like.

A functional organizational structure benefits because teams are more specialized, so they can be more efficient and expert in their work. On the other hand, a functional organization usually runs into communication breakdowns because of information silos. There’s also a loss of creativity and flexibility that comes with such a structure.

2. Segmented Marketing Organization Structure

A segmented marketing organization structure is one where teams are organized around the target audience. For example, if your organization has B2B and B2C clients, you might have two marketing teams – one dedicated to B2B and one to B2C. Each team would be responsible for all marketing duties related to their target audience.

Segmented marketing is beneficial for large businesses with complex or very distinct audiences. This marketing organization structure typically drives the highest customer engagement since it focuses on their specific frustrations and directly addresses their needs. And because it’s so customer-focused, teams with a segmented marketing organization structure are usually quite agile – they can quickly identify trends and respond to customer needs more efficiently.

The big drawback of segmented marketing is that it can be expensive. Rather than having a specialist – say, a content marketer – that creates content for all audiences, segmented marketing typically requires each team to have a person capable of doing that work. This can also mean less specialization and duplicate work since teams have less communication across audience groups.

3. Product Marketing Organization Structure

As the name suggests, a product marketing organization structure is when marketing teams are organized around different products or product groups. With this structure, each product or product group has its own marketing team.

Each team is responsible for all parts of the marketing for their product – from paid marketing to content creation to reporting. For large organizations, this might mean that every team has a specialist for each task, but it can also mean that a team of generalists is responsible for a broader range of marketing activities.

Why might an organization go with a product marketing structure? For one, it’s super flexible. Product marketing organization structures can quickly respond to trends and introduce products according to customer needs without requiring approval or assets from other departments. On the other hand, this structure can be complicated and a bit clunky. It might lead to duplicate roles or double work that could have been eliminated if you were working with a functional marketing structure.

4. Linear Marketing Organization Structure

A linear marketing organization structure is one where everyone reports to one centralized leader. The simplest of all the structures, linear is a common structure for small businesses where one person needs all information to make decisions. Since it’s so simple, it works well for small teams where everyone wears many hats. This means tight control of information where the CEO calls the shots and decides how information is presented and shared.

The drawback of a linear marketing organization structure is that it relies on oversight. This limits communication across departments and between employees.

5. Geographical Marketing Organization Structure

For multinational companies or businesses with teams widely dispersed, a geographical marketing organization structure can be a great solution. Teams are determined based on the region or district where those employees are physically located.

With an ongoing shift to more remote work, there’s still an advantage for businesses working in similar time zones or with shared language or background. A geographical marketing organization structure can be advantageous as it helps organize and connect teams over their shared geography. That can help with localized marketing or other marketing functions impacted by region or culture.

The greatest challenge with the geographical marketing organization structure is that it can take time to track and effort to organize across teams. While the local teams might benefit from the shared geography, it also means that teams in different regions will be more out of touch. Less communication can lead to problems like miscommunication, inconsistencies, double work, etc.

6. Hybrid Marketing Organization Structure

Once you’ve gone through this list, you might find that your team would most benefit from a hybrid marketing organization. This structure combines both functional and divisional marketing organization structures. When you create a hybrid marketing organization structure, you have the benefit of being more agile and empowering teams to make decisions on a local level while also benefiting from the expertise of a functional marketing organization structure.

For example, your team might be organized into functional departments – finance, marketing, operations, etc. – but with a hybrid structure, someone from each functional team might contribute to a project overseen by a second department head. Of course, the drawback of this structure is that it’s complicated. It can often lead to coordination issues or duplicate work.

Some Examples of Marketing Roles

Some Examples of Marketing Roles

With a clear marketing organization structure, you’ll be better able to define the roles of your marketing department. For example, your team might be organized by outbound vs. inbound, functional expertise, regional expertise, etc. Your marketing organization structure, as well as the size of your team, will also impact whether your team is made up of more generalists or specialists.

While there are dozens of marketing roles and titles, below is a list of some of the more common ones…

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Director of Marketing
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Marketing Manager or Specialist
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Brand Manager or Specialist
  • Social Media Manager/Coordinator
  • Email Marketing Manager
  • Product Marketing Manager or Specialist
  • Brand Specialist
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategist
  • Paid Search Engine Advertising (PPC)
  • Graphic Designer
  • Head of Content
  • Video Producer or Photographer
  • Copywriter or Content Writer

What’s the difference between a Coordinator, Manager, Director, VP, CMO

While we’re on the subject, there’s some difference in what each of these terms at the end of a job title mean. Typically jobs with words like “coordinator,” “specialist,” or “assistant” are at the bottom of the reporting structure, and they report to “managers.” “Managers” report to “directors,” who report to “VPs,” who ultimately report to the “CMO.”

While the complexity of your marketing organization structure will vary based on the size of your organization and the number of roles on your team, understanding these terms can help with hiring and recruitment to ensure that experience and expectations are clearly understood.

If you’re still looking for guidance, read more in this article on defining team structure.

Final Thoughts

Ready to introduce a marketing organization structure for your team? With an understanding of your team size, your industry, and geography, you can choose the structure that will work best for your team. Whether your team is just starting out, or you’re working as part of a much larger organization, we hope you’ll find a clear marketing organizational structure can be the foundation needed to make your team as effective and successful as they can possibly be.


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