Organizational Structure of Marketing

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Two colleagues going over a business plan.
Two colleagues going over a business plan. (Image: Goodluz/iStock/Getty Images)

The organizational structure of a marketing department can be as simple as an entrepreneur wearing the hat of both the chief executive officer and the chief marketing officer. Or, there can be dozens of people within one company that bear a senior vice president of marketing title; hundreds of people who serve as a product managers, and thousands in sales.

Overarching Goal

The organizational structure serves as the corporate architecture to steer, navigate and gain alignment among all responsible for marketing efforts to assist companies of every size meet and exceed their objectives and goals.

Executive Level

Marketing divisions of most of the world’s largest corporations like Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart are headed by a chief marketing officer (CMO). This person oversees both internal and external marketing operations and reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the corporation. He or she has enormous responsibilities and accountability for all marketing, sales and marketing communications.

Marketing Department

The Marketing Department focuses on all product and brand functions, and is generally headed by the director of marketing. Product or brand managers under the director are usually assigned to a specific brand or category of products.

For example, Procter & Gamble assigns a brand manager to each product. The brand managers have internal and external responsibilities. Internally, they are responsible for developing marketing strategies, setting pricing, establishing advertising budgets, and achieving set targets for sales and volume within various retail and distribution channels such as grocery, drug, and major retailers and convenience stores.

Externally, brand managers direct, oversee and approve advertising developed for their respective brand with the assigned advertising agency. A brand manager on a major product could oversee an annual advertising budget well into the hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Marketing Communications Department

This department is usually separate from the marketing department and is headed by the director of marketing communications. Departments within the marketing communications department usually include public relations, public affairs, and media relations. General responsibilities include development of all annual reports, press releases and media inquiries. For example, media inquiries to Bank of America about checking account fees would be directed to the director of media relations in the marketing communications department. Recent trends in consumerism, product recalls, crisis and reputation management, stock market corporate earnings reports, the ecology and “green” movement, corporate social responsibility and other issues have greatly expanded the roll and importance of the marketing communications department.

Sales Department

The sales department is responsible for meeting the sales and volume goals as set forth by the chief marketing officer. The department is usually headed by the director of sales. The sales department works closely with the marketing department, providing vital insights and feedback on customer needs, issues, and the competition. Most of their work is external. They are charged to develop strong sustainable relationships with retailers and key clients and increase sales orders. Feedback from the sales department is critical and greatly relied upon in new product development, analyzing pricing, and identifying new channels for distribution, sales and marketing efforts.

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