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12.5. Organisational Alternatives

In general there are five broad ways to organise marketing tasks –

  1. Functional organization – Each marketing activity has a specialist in charge of it. This structure would have an advertising manager, a product development manager, a market research manager and so forth.
  2. Product organization – Each manager is responsible for all the marketing decisions concerning a particular product. The firm may also employ specialists to advise and assist, but each product manager would have overall responsibility.
  3. Regional organisation – This approach is usually used in international markets, but can also be used elsewhere. The regional managers are each responsible for all the marketing activities within their own geographical region.
  4. Segmental organization – Here each manager is responsible for a given market segment.
  5. Matrix – Here there is joint decision-making between the specialist market researchers, sales managers, etc. and the product managers. No one manager is in overall control, and decisions are made by balancing each person's role and demands. This method is surprisingly effective in decision-making, since it pools the available expertise.
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An extension of the matrix organisation structure is the organismic structure. Unlike the traditional mechanistic or bureaucratic pyramid, there is no clear ‘boss’. Each individual contributes expertise (and effort) towards achieving the corporate objectives. The leader for each task is determined by the project being tackled at the time. This type of structure is typical of small consultancy firms who may be dealing with a wide range of disparate tasks, but can be found in larger organisations or departments of larger organisations. The main advantage of the organismic structure is that it is extremely flexible, which makes it a more appropriate structure for dealing with changing environments. On the other hand, there is some evidence that organismic structures may not be effective in relationship marketing, because of the difficulties inherent in maintaining relationships when people change roles frequently.

In smaller firms there may be no specific marketing department, and of course in some firms marketing is not very high on the agenda because the firm has little control over the variables of the marketing mix. Such firms may have a marketing department, but it may be concerned only with running the occasional advertisement and organising trade fairs.

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