Download our customizable org chart template here.
We’ve seen a number of recommendations on different org structures, but Hubspot’s is definitely the best. There are 7 fresh approaches to the marketing org chart in today’s fully digital world, and the best part is each one is based on interviews with real Chief Marketing Officers at real companies. Hubspot did a great job of showcasing the diverse ways CMOs can structure their departments, rangingfrom the “Creative Org” to the “Inbound Org” and “Sales Funnel Org.” There should be a starting place here for almost anyone. See the full guide here:
There are a few other resources worth noting such as this Forbes article, which projects digital marketing org structure trends out a few years, and this Harvard Business Review article which unsurprisingly takes a data-driven approach, analyzing the top marketing organizations and creating a theoretical framework for success.
Flexible Org Chart Prototyping
As you work to perfect your own structure, you’re going to want to play around with hierarchies and relationships, so you need a tool that is flexible and quick to make changes. We’ve found QuirkTools Website Mapper to be the best option here. It’s not designed for creating org charts, but who cares? You can also use a simple mind mapping tool like Bubbl.us; or LucidChart, if you need more functionality you can step it up with MindMeister.
Levels and reporting structure are important considerations here. How many layers will sit between CMO and marketing coordinators? Too few and the CMO will bombarded with unnecessary questions and requests; too many the CMO will be in an ivory tower, and decision-making may grind to a halt as too many levels are needed for approvals.
The levels in your org chart will also set the stage for breaking down your budget, determining who has what type of authority. Titles and pay grades will also be dictated by levels, so consider all these factors as you’re creating your org chart prototype.
Final Design Aesthetic
The majority of org charts are downright ugly, but whether or not people enjoy looking at it can determine whether your org chart will gain traction throughout the ranks. There are plenty of awesome, insane ways to design an org chart, but that exercise is probably a waste of time. A strong digital marketing org chart is a living, breathing document that grows and shifts with your nimble team. It won’t get used if it’s labor-intensive or complicated to update, so like most other designs it’s best to keep your org chart’s look simple and streamlined.
But simple doesn’t have to mean ugly.
Try using simple photos or basic shapes to represent people, and lose the dated border boxes in Microsoft Word or Power Point. Keep colors basic and leave plenty of white space. If you can avoid trying to add in too many bells and whistles, you’re better off. Remember: always design for usability first.
Tools for a Professional Look
Below are a few ways to create an eye-catching org chart design without much work. Sadly, this list is short because the state of org chart tools is pretty poor.
Orgvue is an amazing tool that creates simple, eye-catching org charts, although their pricing model is really set up for Human Resources professionals rather than CMOs. This is by far the best tool in the industry, and the only one that actually focuses on creating beautiful visuals. The Orgvue.com blog is entirely focused on org chart designs and they have some great inspiration there as well.
There are also designers just starting out that will design your org chart for $5 on Fiverr.
Creately is another option, and although I would rate its visuals as “just okay,” it’s still better than 99% of the other tools out there.
What are some of your favorite tools to create an eye-catching org chart?