Marketing is essential to a business’s success. How you decide to structure your marketing department will define how successful your business will be. Choosing the best marketing department structure for your business will create a successful foundation for the rest of the company.
There are several different marketing department structures that each have their own benefits and challenges. Let’s take a look at how marketing department structures have evolved over time, the six best marketing department structures from which you can choose, and how to choose the best marketing department structure for your needs.
Marketing Department Structures Over Time
Over the last twenty years, the organizational structure for marketing departments has changed dramatically. Traditionally, the marketing department was separate from the rest of the company. Its focus was to print marketing materials as the primary method of reaching customers.
When television and radio came onto the scene, marketing departments had to equally promote print, television, and radio. This required new skillsets for each medium.
The advent of digital marketing has forced yet another change in how companies structure their marketing teams. Today’s marketing efforts are moving away from specific mediums like newspapers and television, and they are moving toward marketing models that focus on customer relationships.
Today’s marketing department structures focus on the customer experience rather than on the means of reaching customers. When marketers focus on the customer experience, they can improve the level of engagement and reach a much wider audience.
In order to have a successful digital marketing campaign, companies must change the way they view their typical marketing department.
6 Types of Marketing Department Structures
Marketing departments are transitioning from the traditional marketing department structure to one of six newly defined department structures. The six types of marketing department structures are the customer experience model, a segment-focused structure, the operational teams model, the geography-focused model, the channel-specific teams model, and the product-based teams model. These new department structures are based on the company’s views of the customers rather than focusing on marketing toward different mediums.
The goal of marketing today centers on developing quality connections with customers rather than solely reaching the largest number of customers. Each department structure has its own set of benefits and challenges and how you decide which model works best for you depends on your company.
1. Customer Experience Model
The customer experience marketing strategy involves putting the customer at the center of the marketing strategy and focusing on improving the customer experience through engagement. The goal of the customer experience model is to meet customer expectations and deliver personalized experiences. Marketing departments should highlight the positive aspects of the customer experience by focusing on the experience as a whole.
- Increase customer retention and brand loyalty.
- Increase brand awareness and reach.
- New insight into customer behaviors.
- Higher rates of customer satisfaction.
- Increase trust among customers and the business.
- Customers are more demanding than ever.
- It takes many positive experiences to undo the damage of one negative experience.
- Bad customer reviews can go viral quickly.
- Angry customers can damage your reputation and brand name.
- Customers are more likely to share negative experiences rather than positive ones.
2. Segment-Focused Structure
In the segment-focused marketing department structure, teams are organized according to their role in moving customers through the purchasing process. This sales funnel includes awareness, consideration, exploration, and purchase.
This structure is focused on identifying specific target segments and creating content for the needs of the segment. Because it is concerned with a group, rather than an individual, it can reach a wide audience of people with the same problem to solve.
In the segment-focused structure, marketing departments need to be aware of what is happening in each segment and the industry so that they can target the right segment accordingly.
- Gives greater focus.
- Improves brand identify.
- Reveals opportunities for innovation.
- Allows for more accurate and targeted marketing.
- Difficulty pinpointing a customer’s segment.
- Overlapping of segments.
- Lack of individual customer support.
3. Operational Teams Model
In an operational teams model, the department is divided into teams that focus on specific goals or functionalities. For example, there can be separate departments for content creation and management, demand generation, and performance measurement. This structure is great for building teams of specialists that excel in specific areas.
- Develop teams of experts and specialists.
- Areas do not overlap.
- Ability to see improvements in specific operational fields.
- A lack of collaboration among team members can cause wasted efforts.
- If a team member leaves the organization, their group is affected.
4. Geography-Focused Model
A geography-focused model divides the target market into segments based on where they live. Other factors include economics, food habits, clothing habits, traditions, and other traits. When companies are international, they may need to be divided into teams that focus on specific geographical areas of operation.
- Enhanced focus due to targeting.
- Immediate market growth.
- Improved communication.
- Increased profits.
- Keeping the brand message unified can be challenging across different regions.
- Geographical segmentation often needs to be combined with other data to better target the market.
- Geographical segmentation can be subject to stereotypes and generalizations.
5. Channel-Specific Teams Model
A channel-specific teams model involves constructing teams of relevant professionals in different disciplines to oversee your various marketing channels. These marketing channels can include social media platforms, website marketing, and email marketing. You can also create channels based on content types such as social media, print, and video.
- Ability to reach a wide audience quickly.
- You can find channels that best suit your business’s needs.
- There are a variety of ways to engage your audience.
- Difficulty in providing the same quality and messaging across various channels.
- Can be challenging to represent the brand cohesively across channels.
- Choosing the right channels for your business can be a struggle.
6. Product-Based Teams Model
In a product-based teams model, each major product gets a team of marketing specialists that can promote it effectively when and where it is needed. A product team is responsible for product management, product marketing, user experience, and product analytics.
- Every product can stand on its own and be placed with the segment that most needs it.
- Meet customer needs more effectively.
- Easily measure product performance.
- If the product cannot function separately from other products in the company, the need for coordination among teams could negatively impact sales.
- Lack of focus on the customer’s experience
- Need to duplicate functions and resources for each product.
Choosing the Right Marketing Department Structure
The first step to choosing the right marketing department for your company is to identify how the company operates best. Companies that are product-based sell products by volume or by value. Companies that sell high-value products can sell fewer of them and focus more on the quality of the transactions with the customers, whereas companies that need to sell a large volume of products may take a different approach.
If your company sells services, you should focus on the customer experience and relationship-focused methods. Customers tend to focus on what their experience with your company will be, so you can use this to your advantage and curate experiences that match their expectations.
If your goal is to cultivate relationships with consistent customers or other companies, you should focus on marketing your products and services as a solution for these clients.
International companies or companies that cover a wide area can use the geography-focused model effectively. This gives you the ability to adjust to different markets. Each product and marketing strategy can be tailored to meet the needs of each market, which increases effectiveness.
Companies that use a variety of channels and marketing mediums could use the channel-specific teams model or the operational teams model. Both of these options can provide you flexibility when it comes to addressing the needs of specific platforms. You may also choose to incorporate elements of both structures to accommodate your company’s needs.
Companies that focus on solving a range of problems that are specific to a group of related customers should use a segment-focused model. By offering multiple related products to the customers, the company makes the lives of customers across that segment easier.
To choose the best marketing department structure for your company, do some internal research to determine what drives the company. Then, you can choose a structure that meets the needs of your company. Once you do this, you should see a dramatic change in how your company’s marketing efforts impact sales and customer relationships.
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- What is the goal of traditional marketing?
- How does traditional marketing differ from digital marketing?
- What is the goal of the customer experience model?
- What are the six marketing department structures?
- How do I choose the best marketing department structure for my company?