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December 9, 2013
A New Way to Structure the Marketing Department
 
Experience tells me that most marketing departments are organized around tasks. For example, if your company has 10, 20, 30, or more people in marketing, they are probably fall into categories (or tasks) similar to these:
  • Advertising
  • Analytics
  • Customer Service
  • Digital Development
  • Event Planning
  • Graphic Design & Writing
  • Loyalty & CRM
  • Promotions
  • Public Relations
  • Retail Stores
  • Search Marketing
  • Social Media/Content Creation
Not that there is anything wrong with this structure as it’s been working for most companies for decades. However, with the colossal changes in marketing over the last 10 years or so, it may be time to take a fresh look at how your corporate marketing department is organized.
 
What if companies organized their marketing efforts around goals instead of tasks? This would allow each team (or even individuals) within the department to work toward a common purpose that is truly measurable. Tasks are often measured by completion of the work, not what actually happens in the marketplace. On the other hand, goals articulate what is necessary to be successful with customers. So when they are reached, goals offer a stronger feeling of accomplishment. 
 
For all brands or businesses, the specific goals that I have in mind will drive the overall business objective (be it sales, profit, change in perception, etc.), and are fundamental to marketing success so they most likely will never change or go away. They are the goals found within the longstanding marketing principle known as the customer lifecycle:
 
1. Awareness & Interest — let people know your brand exists & generate curiosity around it
2. Purchase — drive people to buy your product/service
3. Repetition — ensure they buy again and again
4. Involvement —engage in conversations with customers & facilitate referrals
 
So if I were re-structuring the fictitious marketing department that I outlined in the above task-oriented bullet list, here’s how I would do it, keeping the goal-centered concept in mind:
 
TEAM AWARENESS & INTEREST:
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
TEAM PURCHASE:
  • Promotions
  • Retail Stores
  • Search Marketing
TEAM REPTITION:
  • Loyalty & CRM
TEAM INVOLVEMENT:
  • Customer Service
  • Event Planning
  • Social Media/Content Creation
SUPPORT TEAM (to aid all of the other teams in their efforts):
  • Analytics
  • Digital Development
  • Graphic Design & Writing
In this new structure, there will continue to be crossover between teams, but now each sub-group is focused on contributing to a specific phase within the customer lifecycle. The idea being that they would feel more ownership and have a clearer direction on what their efforts are set out to specifically accomplish. The Support Team is designed to offer their skills and talents to the other teams as needed.
 
If you’re looking for a way to re-energize and re-focus your brand’s marketing department, this is one way to do it. Or if you are starting a new company and want some ideas on how to structure your marketing team, this could be your guide. Remember that every brand and every organization is different, so you’ll need to find the system that works best in your particular case.
 
The thing that I find most fascinating about this approach is that the fundamental beliefs behind the customer lifecycle don’t change, so this structure can work for most anyone over a long period of time and will adjust easily to the constantly fluctuating world of marketing. 

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Emily K. Howarda marketing strategist since 1997, developed her skills at some of the country’s top marketing firms including DDB Worldwide, while working on brands like American Airlines, Pepsi, Bloomberg and Merck. Now as Vice President of Esparza, Emily’s integrated communications approach helps clients find order in marketing chaos. She’d love to hear from you and can be found on LinkedIn or @ekhoward on Twitter.
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