Parts makers on downsizing drives are looking to their marketing departments for savings.
But a recent survey of automotive firms indicates that they not only want to reduce the number of people in marketing - they also want to move the department away from corporate headquarters.
'They're making the marketing department smaller and pushing it out,' reports Frank Hampshire, director of research for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, a trade group in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
FEWER HIGH-LEVEL DUTIES
Clearing jobs out of expensive corporate headquarters is taking place across the nation, not just in the auto industry. Reducing corporate head count lets a company operate a smaller and less expensive executive office.
It also translates to administrative savings if a firm can rid itself of more expensive 'big city' personnel in favor of people in locations with lower costs of living.
Hampshire recently completed a survey for the association that compared the 1996 marketing organizations of 66 automotive firms with the same organizations in 1993.
The survey found that the firms are doing away with many senior-level marketing functions and handing more marketing responsibilities to individual subsidiaries and divisions. It also found that the field-level operations are turning to outside vendors to replace some of the positions, rather than creating new marketing jobs in-house.
'A lot of vice president of marketing positions are disappearing,' Hampshire says. 'In their place you're seeing positions like 'director of market research,' and 'manager of business planning.'
'In the past, it wouldn't be unusual for the corporate office to have a VP of advertising, a VP of marketing and a VP of sales,' Hampshire adds. 'Now what you'll find is perhaps a vice president of sales and marketing at the headquarters, and a manager of advertising and promotion at the field level.'
The survey found that the total compensation package for marketing-related jobs housed at the company's corporate headquarters declined by one-third from 1993 to 1996.
At the same time, compensation for marketing-related jobs in the field at the companies' subsidiaries increased by one-third.
On the other hand, even though marketing jobs at headquarters fell by one-third, the number rose by only one-sixth at the subsidiary level.
Hampshire interprets that to suggest that the jobs are simply being relocated. They are being eliminated at the headquarters, and farmed out in many cases at the field level, he says.
'The corporation might have once had an advertising staff of 15, a market research staff of six to eight people and a four- or five-person public relations team,' Hampshire says. 'Today, the same company might have turned a lot of that over to an outside full-service advertising agency and P.R. firm.'