Marketing Organization

Marketing Organization

The marketing organization typically reports directly to the CEO, as a peer of the product and sales organizations. In larger companies, particularly those that are relatively sales-heavy, there is often a consolidation of sales and marketing under the single leadership of a Chief Revenue Officer.

🔖 Contents on this page:

The typical marketing roles are:

VP of Marketing

At early-stage startups, the marketing function is typically led by a VP of Marketing (often more generally called "Head of Marketing"). In a seed-stage company, this is going to be a very generalist role that leads a small team of a few employees and is still fairly hands-on.

A VP of Marketing is quite a bit more tactical than a CMO, guiding the marketing department day to day. The focus is strongly on planning, executing and measuring marketing initiatives, building and managing the necessary team and interfacing with other departments, particularly product and sales.

The VP of Marketing typically reports to the CEO in smaller companies and then often to a CMO in larger organizations.

👩‍💻 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

This role is often added at a somewhat later stage, typically post Series B. A CMO carries broad responsibility for a substantial marketing function and is part of the top management team, often strongly influencing the strategy of the company.

CMOs are required to set up an effective operational marketing organization, but also think long term and strategically. The CMO owns the company's messaging and market positioning, therefore largely controlling how the company appears to the outside world. CMOs need a keen understanding of the company's market, customer needs, the way the company's products can fill those needs and how the company wants to talk about this fit. The CMO will also interact with the company's board of directors to assure alignment over larger marketing initiatives.

🧑‍💼VP/Head of Product Marketing

While marketing overall is concerned with how to promote a company's brand, products and general messaging to relevant audiences, product marketing specifically focuses on how to position the product(s). This includes clearly defined customer personas, value proposition statements and general product messaging.

Product marketing typically reports to a CMO, but there are companies who put product marketing into the CPO organization. This is particularly justified if the product is fairly technical and therefore the marketing has to be very detail-oriented.

🗨️VP/Head of Communications

The communications function deals mostly with general marketing communication, including public relations and press work, social media, general brand-oriented campaigns and often also events such as industry fairs. The exact scope differs from company to company.

In some cases there is a separate head of PR (reporting to the head of communications or directly to the VP of Marketing or CMO) if press outreach is a crucial element of a company's communications strategy.

💶 VP/Head of Advertising (or Demand Gen, Lead Gen)

In companies that use a lot of paid advertising, there is often a separate function that specifically deals with this aspect of marketing. An example would be a direct-to-consumer business that uses performance marketing heavily to drive sales and therefore needs a sophisticated internal team to plan and execute ad campaigns.

In some cases this function is referred to as the Head of Demand Gen, which refers to top-of-the funnel market education and brand awareness, if that's the focus of the role. Sometimes the role is also referred to (or has a peer role) as the Head of Lead Gen to reflect that the generation of specific leads is the main goal. Lead gen can of course use other tools than traditional paid advertising, which would also fall under this role.

🖼️ VP/Head of Brand

Brand managers are typically found at fairly large companies that have mostly a B2B focus where brand is a major factor for success. The head of brand will be responsible for all general brand communications and the consistency of the brand image.

🤳 Head of Content Marketing

Since content marketing is an increasingly important channel, many companies hire specialists for this rold.

🎨 Head of Design/Creative

If a company produces a lot of marketing assets in-house, it is often worth hiring in-house designers and even build a whole in-house design team.

💸 Head of Marketing Analytics or Insights

Since modern digital marketing is a strongly data-driven discipline, many companies have a separate leader for analytics. This function provides the company (including product and sales, up to the CEO) with insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

📈 Growth Hacker

Particularly in smaller startups, growth hackers are creative generalists who use a combination of rapidly iterating marketing tactics, data, custom technology and A/B testing to speed up the growth of customer acquisition. Growth hackers are supposed to achieve growth with very limited resources and are therefore a good fit for early-stage startups.

🏦 Sales Support

Particularly in sales-heavy B2B companies, there is often a separate sales support department that generates materials for the sales team, often customized even down to the level of individual target accounts. This role can also be located in the sales organization, but since it tends to be content-heavy it's more often found in the marketing team.

Large marketing organizations often break their teams down into groups focused on certain geographies or product lines.