marketing organization

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A company that is focused on marketing functions, products and services, geographical territories, and customer groupings or a combination of all four. For example, a brand manager for Company X's consumer electronic equipment selling through retail outlets in the UK is a combination that takes in all the major functions. Alternatively, there could be individual functions: the brand marketing manager, the consumer electronic product marketing manager, the consumer electronics services marketing manager, the retail channel marketing manager, or the UK general marketing manager. The classic marketing organization is divided into specialist functions within geographical regions and territories, for example the media relations manager for France or the market researcher for Western Europe. This has made team working notoriously difficult, especially when faced with growing market complexity, particularly a market being increasingly defined by customer power and global markets. The product or brand manager system was set up to cut across functional specialization—such as advertising, public relations, brand communications, channel marketing, sales etc.—and to integrate and to coordinate all functions behind the brand or product category. The shortcoming of this organizational model is that it perpetuates the mindset of focusing on the product and brand rather than the customer. An organizational marketing model focused on customers rather than products or brands is the least well-developed of the marketing models. This would better enable customers to define not only the products and services, but also the way they wished to deal with the producer or supplier. This model emphasizes customer knowledge and segmentation over product knowledge and segmentation. This model drives newer marketing functions such as relationship marketing, interactive marketing, and customer care marketing, etc.

A new marketing model emerges in which the dominant figure is the marketing manager who is able to integrate and harmonize the specialist functions, the geographical or territory marketers with the customer-centric marketers against defined objectives and metrics. Another growing strength in the marketing portfolio is its management of customer and market intelligence functions and making these available to business and operating units.

One of the more vexed questions is the lack of marketing representation at the organizational board level. Although this varies from country to country, it is reasonable to assert that marketing's rising power is not represented in the major decision-making bodies of the major corporations.

The multiple varieties of marketing organization are symptoms of the ambiguity surrounding marketing itself—an indispensable business discipline, yet not yet quite invited to the top table of corporate organization except in a few cases.

Subjects: Marketing.

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