7 Types of Marketing Organization Structures

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 3, 2022 | Published May 25, 2021

Updated October 3, 2022

Published May 25, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing organization structures are a fundamental part of every business because they clearly define operations and responsibilities for employees. Choosing a marketing structure that is a good fit for your business can have a positive impact on your team's ability to meet business goals. In this article, we explore what a marketing organization structure is, why it is essential for a business to use a marketing organization structure, what you should consider while creating one and list seven of the most common marketing organization structures.

Related: Informal Organizations vs. Formal Organizations: Differences and Advantages

What is a marketing organization structure?

Marketing organization structures distribute and oversee marketing operations, procedures and strategies within a business. These structures define and organize employee job roles, including who they report to, and outline the processes a business can use to achieve success. An effective marketing organization structure can support business objectives and give employees a clear understanding of the objectives they are working to achieve.

Related: Traditional Organization Structure: Definition and Differences From the Modern Organizational Structure

Why should a business use a marketing organization structure?

Marketing organization structures help employees understand their role within the company they work for. These structures can also act as a guide for employees to know what resources are available to them and which team members handle which responsibilities. Marketing organization structures also can provide a visual workflow that explains how the business operates, the job tasks within the business and how they contribute to its success and where or who makes business decisions. Before constructing a marketing organization structure, a business should consider:

  • Chain of command: Chain of command refers to the hierarchy of relationships within a business. This means defining who answers to who within departments while making business-related decisions, and it maps out who holds authority and who is accountable for the overseeing, executing and approving of tasks.

  • Span of control: Span of control clearly defines who manages each department or division and what responsibilities those departments or divisions handle.

  • Centralization or decentralization: A centralized business allows one or two individuals to make final decisions, whereas a decentralized business has a team or department in charge of making final decisions.

Related: An Insight Into Centralized Organization

7 types of marketing organization structures

Here are seven of the most common types of marketing organization structures you can use or adapt depending on your business needs:

1. Functional structure

Functional structures organize employees into groups based on their job positions and skillsets. A specialized team or function group is an assortment of employees with similar job aspects. Team leaders may manage function groups and report to senior executives when necessary. Specialized functional groups can promote consistent work and speed up work performance since they don't involve employees outside of their function. This structure is easier to manage on a larger scale because it can easily adjust to changes in the business as it grows.

2. Product-based structure

A product-based structure is mostly ideal for a business selling multiple products or services. This structure separates employees into groups or divisions that focus on each individual product line. Each division can have employees from every specialized function, whereas a functional structure has employees divided into separate groups that focus on one specialized function. A product-based structure can give each division independence from one another, which allows employees to focus on their own division-related tasks since they do not have to communicate with outside groups or departments.

3. Matrix structure

A matrix structure is a combination of a product-based structure and a functional structure. This is best for arranging employee departments or teams based on their job roles and the products they are working with because each department handles one specific product. A marketing organization structure like this can provide more information at a faster rate since multiple specialty teams oversee one project. Having a variety of specialty teams responsible for one project can help employees openly communicate and provide more resources for other employees to use while working toward their goals.

Related: Matrix Organizational Structure: Advantages and Disadvantages

4. Geographical structure

International companies usually are on a much larger scale since they work in multiple countries and languages. Using a geographical marketing structure can be helpful for these companies because it divides employees into teams based on geographical regions or districts. Having teams dedicated to certain geographical regions can assist employees in designing local marketing strategies based on their target audience. This structure also could allow employees in each division to become familiar with their regions, giving them the ability to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

5. Market-based structure

Some businesses focus on certain industries, markets or types of consumers while creating a marketing organization structure. Industries, markets and consumer types are division segments that outline an organizational structure. Focusing on individual segments gives employees the opportunity to create marketing strategies that appeal to different consumers. These structures are best for a business that aims to provide services to particular parts of a market or industry.

6. Network structure

A business that intends to work with another, separate business to share resources may use a network structure, which is helpful for organizations that want to maintain control and expedite their internal operations. A business that provides one or two specified goods or services might want to outsource tasks that are not performed internally, since the business is most familiar with its internal tasks. For example, a restaurant might want to sell custom merchandise, but outsourcing the job to a graphic designer could allow the restaurant to focus on its core operations while expanding its network with new partnerships.

7. Linear structure

This type of structure refers to the chain of command hierarchy as its organizational structure. The top employee in the chain of command oversees the entire business, and the other employees in the chain of command only oversee one part of the business and refer directly to the employee above them in the hierarchy. This structure can be best for small businesses with few job positions.

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