Marketing department structure may vary between companies. For example, a company’s units might include sales, market research, promotion, and distribution. In other companies, the units may be based on geographic location, and product handled. In the latter, the department is divided into several units based on geographic area or product, where each has a complete function, from sales and research to distribution.
How a company structures its marketing department depends on factors such as the organization’s size, the team’s competence, the business’s location, and the product portfolio.
Why should the marketing department structure be clearly defined?
The marketing department involves many different jobs. Management divides them into several units with different teams. Each carries out specific tasks and jobs. They focus on a specific purpose or function. For example, a marketing department may have separate research, promotion, sales, and distribution teams.
Although managed by separate teams, each area is interdependent. For example, the sales team depends on the distribution team to deliver goods to customers. Vice versa, the distribution team, needs information from the sales unit about how many items should be shipped.
Then, in the company’s organizational structure, the marketing department is also interdependent with other departments, such as human resources, finance, and operations. Therefore, they must synergize with each other for successful operation.
Organizing the marketing department to be structured is important because, for example, it affects its effectiveness in achieving goals. In addition, it also affects flexibility, especially in responding to changes in the market environment or company needs.
Customer satisfaction is another reason. For example, if the sales team doesn’t provide details about how many items to ship and how long to deliver to the customer, it could cause problems. As a result, the customer may be late in getting the purchased item. Or, the goods delivered do not match the order. Finally, it gave rise to their discontent.
What are the factors to consider when setting up the marketing department structure?
Most businesses have their own marketing department, separate from other departments, except for small businesses such as sole proprietorships. The department is responsible for the marketing function and, generally, is under the marketing director. Some factors to consider when setting up a marketing department:
- Organizational size
- Team composition
- Business location
- Product portfolio
Organizational size. Small businesses usually don’t separate the marketing department into several units because they have few employees. Instead, they combine all the work and are handled by several people. As a result, they hold several jobs at once.
Team composition. Each unit in the marketing department requires specific skills. And the company assigns the right people to each unit. While the marketing department manager manages how each unit synergies, the team members work for the specific assigned tasks and jobs.
Business location. Suppose the business operates in several different geographic areas. In that case, organizing the marketing department into geographic units may be more effective.
Each local market requires a specific marketing mix. Thus, dividing the team by location is essential to adapt to local tastes, increasing success.
Product portfolio. Large companies may have many products. Each product requires a different marketing approach. Thus, they might organize the organization in the marketing department by product. Each unit focuses on a specific product.
What is a simple example of how the marketing department structure is organized?
Management may organize the marketing department by geographic location, product, or function. For example, under the geographic location approach, management divides it into units to address consumers in a particular location. Likewise, a product-based arrangement divides the organization into several units, each focusing on a specific product.
Meanwhile, arrangement by function means the organization is broken down based on the specific tasks performed. For example, management divides it into four units with specific teams:
- Sales units
- Market research unit
- Promotion unit
- Distribution unit
This unit is responsible for selling the product. The team is tasked with acquiring customers, generating sales, and building customer relationships to increase retention. Thus, the unit can achieve the targeted sales. They seek to acquire new customers and encourage repurchases by existing customers.
The people on the sales team are competent to generate high sales. They have in-depth knowledge of how to sell, what to sell and how to attract customers. Required competencies include product knowledge, sales knowledge, persuasive communication, time management, and active listening.
Market research unit
The market research unit is responsible for market information to support the company’s sales. The team collects and analyzes information about customer needs and changes. Data on market changes, competitive maps, and competitor strategies are also their focus.
In addition, the team does not only evaluate the market and consumers. However, they also examine other related factors such as economic trends, population composition, income levels, technological developments, etc. These factors play an important role, for example, in influencing consumer spending.
The market research unit produces inputs for decision-making. The team outlines the opportunities and threats in the market, both now and in the future. Thus, the marketing department can design the appropriate marketing mix, keeping the product competitive in the market. Decisions about sales strategy, promotion strategy, new product development, and pricing strategy are also highly dependent on input from this unit.
The promotion unit is responsible for planning and managing product campaigns. The team deals with how to promote the product effectively, considering the available budget. For example, they design and manage advertisements. The team determines where the company should advertise and how to develop persuasive ads.
Before developing the ad, the promotion team needed input from the sales and market research unit. Say, the buyers mostly come from young people and intensively use gadgets. Based on this information, the promotion team decided to develop online advertising more intensively than conventional ones. They hope it will reach more potential customers. They then choose the right channel, for example, focus on mobile advertising, and develop the appropriate ad.
The distribution unit is responsible for delivering goods as ordered. In addition, the team is tasked with ensuring the goods arrive at the right time, at the right location, and according to specifications.
This unit decides whether to ship goods directly or through intermediaries such as distributors and retailers. For example, when depending on an intermediary, should the company enter into an exclusive contract by appointing one intermediary or selective contrast with several intermediaries? Or, perhaps, the company relies on contracts with multiple intermediaries to mass-market the product. Such intermediary selection decisions are important for effective distribution.
The company considers several factors when selecting the appropriate contract, including:
- Product characteristics, for example, are easily damaged or not.
- Markets served, for example, local or international markets.
- Company’s competitive strategy, for example, is a differentiation strategy or cost leadership.
What to read next
- How is the Marketing Department Structure Organized?
- Marketing: Meaning, Function, Philosophy
- Marketing department: Functions and Responsibilities
- The Four Major Marketing Roles: What Are They?