The role of marketing differs on the basis of hierarchy of an organization. Any large business can be divided into three different hierarchies. At the top level is the corporate, which is the leading entity and mainly constitutes of the directors, the chairmen and other top decision makers of the organization.
The Corporate makes decisions for different strategic business units which forms the second level of the hierarchy. The strategic business unit is composed of multiple departments within itself and might have different number of products falling within it. For example – In a cement industry, normal cement and ready mix concrete are different strategic business units which might be headed by different individuals.
The final marketing level is the product level or the level at which the company directly interacts with the end customer. The most dynamic role of marketing is observed at the product or service level. So let us have a look at the hierarchy within an organization and therefore the role of marketing in it.
1) Corporate level marketing –
At the corporate level, the role of marketing is to analyse the business market, analyse the customers, and consequently advice the management on the right perspective for the company. So for example, if the company looks at the competition and the customer, and finds a gap, it is at the corporate level that a new product will be decided. This new product might be implemented at business unit level or a new business unit might be created for it. Thus, the really large decision of taking a new direction is in the hand of the corporate.
2) Business unit level –
The role of marketing at the business unit level is mainly to assist the vision of the top management. So for example, if a strategic business is handling three products – A, B and C, and all of these products are performing in a different manner, then it is the role of marketing at the business unit level to design a strategy for the success of each product. This means that the business unit level will decide whether to invest for advertisement in product A or B or C. Similarly, through use of marketing tools, the strategic business unit can also decide which product needs further product line or length expansion and which one needs to be pruned. Thus, at the business unit level too, a lot of strategic decisions are taken.
3) Product level marketing –
Finally, it is the product level marketing which we are the most aware of because of our exposure to the various types of media. The role of marketing at this level is to implement the plans decided at the strategic business level in the best manner possible. So if you were product A, and the SBU has decided that it will help product A in advertising and brand building expenses, then it is the role of marketing at this level to decide the best strategy to advertise and get the most out of this opportunity. Because this level of marketing is in direct co ordination with end customers, the risks are higher at this level and hence it is always kept under control, with several processes in place to avoid pitfalls and mistakes. This is also the entry level for most marketing managers.
These are the different roles of marketing at the various levels in the hierarchy. Typical, the CMO will be at the top corporate level marketing, the Marketing managers sit at the strategic business unit level and the assistant marketing manager as well as the marketing executives are found at the product level of marketing.