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Building a marketing organization from the ground up is no small feat. What capabilities do you need on the team? Where is the dividing line between roles? Should your team be top-heavy or bottom-heavy?
The answers to these questions depend on the type and size of business, and the financial resources at your disposal. Before laying out a specific hierarchy, here are a few questions you must answer:
Will marketing work be consistent or chaotic?
There is always a split– very few firms have such a steady need for marketing work that they staff for 100% of what they require; likewise almost every sizable company staffs at least one full-time person to oversee to handle the day-to-day marketing needs.
What is the singular goal of the marketing team over the next 12 months?
Confucius says: “Chase two rabbits, catch none.” Is the most pressing need to increase conversion rates? Create brand awareness? You will want to staff for these capabilities first, and fill in the gaps later on.
What channels do you use?
If customers buy in a retail store, your marketing strategy will look much different than if customers buy through a sales rep or a channel partner. The obvious result is a varying skill requirements for your marketing team. Retail channels likely requires more creative support such as design and copywriting, whereas direct sales likely calls for more lead generation, marketing automation and thought leadership.
How many people can your business support?
Your business may be large enough to support a team of 100+ full-time marketers, designers and copywriters. Or, as in many B2B companies, a handful of marketers may support thousands of sales reps. Many times this budget-driven decision is outside even the Chief Marketing Officer’s control, and comes down to the CEO’s beliefs about the importance of marketing.
Is marketing a core competency? Are you a product organization or a sales and marketing organization?
If you are Condé Nast, marketing is a core competency and you should staff up; if you are Boeing, it’s best to stay focused on product and keep your in-house team lean.
A marketing-focused organization should not ignore product or vice versa, rather choose its emphasis intentionally. When I was at Philips Lighting, we licensed many of the same products available to everyone else and marketed the hell out of them them. Of course we had engineers on our team acting as an interface with the technical team, but building product was not our focus.
With the ground rules set, we will lay the foundation with more specific template examples of marketing org charts for the digital world.