Today’s modern marketing teams should never exist in a vacuum.
After all, your marketing department plays a crucial role in building relationships between your company and your customers. To do this, they need to regularly interact and share knowledge with other parts of your organization, from your sales team to your product development and tech teams.
The versatile nature of the marketing department can make it difficult for businesses to determine where these teams should sit within your organizational structure. What’s more, it can be challenging to determine how you should structure your teams to drive the right results.
This guide will introduce you to the ideal position for the marketing team in your business organization, and how you can choose the right organizational structure.
In general, the higher a team sits in the organization’s hierarchical structure, the more impact they’ll have on the success of your business. Since 83% of global CEOs say they’re counting on marketing to be a fundamental driver of growth for their business, it can be helpful to position the marketing team higher up on the food chain.
While the positioning of your marketing department can vary based on numerous factors, including your marketing team structure, your industry, and your business size, most marketing teams occupy one of two positions:
Often guided by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), a marketing team that sits directly below the CEO serves a core function within the business. In this position, the marketing department stands as a core function within the business, and a significant contributor to company growth.
CMOs often hold a seat at the boardroom table, and is integrally involved in making decisions for the future of the company. This is a common choice for larger companies, or businesses with a heavy investment in marketing for brand awareness and growth.
Alternatively, in some smaller businesses, marketing teams are positioned either below or within the sales team. In this situation, marketing experts function in a support role to the sales team, assuming a much more tactical position. They may be involved in developing sales materials and sales enablement content for sales, or assisting with customer onboarding.
Most companies are placing increased importance on the value of marketing in their organizations today, making this structure less common. However, even if your marketing team aren’t positioned below or within sales, they should still have a direct connection with the sales team.
One thing to consider when you’re choosing an organizational structure for your marketing department and business is which team members are going to be involved in the group. Some of the most common members of a marketing team include:
One of the factors that can influence where your marketing department sits within your organization is the structure of the marketing team itself. There are various “organizational structures” used in the modern world for marketing departments. Some of the most common include:
Another way to look at the organizational structure of your marketing team is to choose whether it should be centralized or decentralized. A centralized marketing strategy involves creating a single “center of excellence” team, capable of handling all marketing operations.
Since marketing operations require in-depth knowledge, the biggest benefit of a centralized approach is developing a wide team of experts who can manage time and bandwidth-consuming projects. Other benefits include opportunities to scale rapidly, improved governance, and a quicker more efficient approach to team building and training.
However, centralized marketing teams can have issues too. For instance, it can cost a lot of money to create a comprehensive team which includes all the marketing professionals you need.
Alternatively, a decentralized plan requires less investment in training and expertise. Instead, teams throughout the company access some specific skills, and are supported by a small operations team or manager. Scaling is often cheaper with this method, and each individual and department can receive specific guidance and training.
However, there are often issues with decentralized marketing approaches, linked to problems with governance, compliance, and low levels of job satisfaction.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right organizational structure for your marketing team, and your business. The key to success is looking at all of your functions and marketing requirements carefully, to determine what kind of strategy will work best.
Ask yourself how much marketing content is created in-house and outsourced. Consider whether you have separate teams for social medial email newsletters, and even SEO and keyword research. Are marketing managers responsible for analyzing specific team performance, or do you have analytical professionals in place to help with monitoring metrics and KPIs?
Once you think through your functional team members, list their responsibilities, and decide who will be accountable for various activities. In all cases, you should aim for your marketing team to be:
Choosing the right structure for your marketing team, and your business is crucial to ensuring you can generate the best results for growth. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for success, but you can access guidance and insights from experts to help you make the right choice.
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