Who do you report to?

Hi everyone - I know every company/organization has a different structure, but out of curiosity...what department are you in or who does your community manager report to?

Asking because I'm an army of one in a community manager sense, and "where to put me" is currently up for debate. My department options are: Marketing or Operations.

I have opinions, but would like to hear what experience you've had so I can try to make a case for which team I want to be on. Thanks!


  • Max
    Max HLV Staff Alumni mod

    Love this question, hope it gets traction - I'll ask some of my customers to pop in. I can say, as a CSM, that the CM's I work with are sometimes within Sales, Marketing, Product, HR, and even other departments - and for these, at all levels. I've seen CM's report directly to the Director of Marketing, while others are reporting to the CPO.

  • Rav Singh
    Rav Singh Member ✭✭✭

    I'm certainly in the same 'army of one' scenario that you've highlighted @Kara so the lines have certainly been blurry as to where I exist at times 😆😅

    Due to the nature of our business and traffic on our Community, there have been some changes this year with reporting so I now sit within our Support team. Prior to this I guess I would have loosely defined it as Operations.

  • Kara
    Kara Member ✭✭✭

    Thanks for your response @Rav Singh! When you were loosely defined as being part of Operations, what were the pros and cons of having community in that department? What are the benefits of your move to Support?

    I appreciate learning more about your experience!

  • Community at Oracle sits under Marketing, but the management of the various communities we have is done by the specific lines of business, i.e. I manage the overarching global community governance and best practices - how to "do" community at Oracle. But each community (support, developer, apps & infrastructure, global business units, etc.) provide their own community manager/s) It's a work in progress :).

  • Adrian
    Adrian HLV Staff Alumni ✭✭✭

    In most of my work with other customers, and for most of my community career I reported into marketing. I do know there are some who sit in the support department - for obvious reason. I am, however, seeing more and more community people reporting into the customer experience/success departments.

  • Kara
    Kara Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2020 #7

    @christina I like that approach. Maybe our community will get that expansive someday!

    To all of you - Have you seen pros or cons with Community landing in one department over another? If it falls in Marketing vs. Operations for example, does Community become more siloed and "lumped in" with Marketing vs how its positioning might be viewed as part of Operations?

    I'm trying to get some evidence about the WHY, and potential benefits/drawbacks, of Community falling into one department over another...

  • Rav Singh
    Rav Singh Member ✭✭✭

    Because our Community predominately attracts support/technical conversations relating to our software, support was the logical choice however because it was so new to the business, it was never formalised before I came on board.

    The pro's/benefits with the move to support has certainly seen a higher level of collaboration with members of the support team. I'm sitting in on more support meetings that are valuable in addressing discussions and questions on Community.

    There have also been wider conversations with other functions of the business including how they might be able to use Community as an outreach platform for their specific segment of our user base.

    Luckily enough for me, there haven't been any major cons to speak of. The biggest one I guess I contend with is convincing team members/technicians from our support team to frequent the Community and not see it as something 'additional' to their role and/or taking time away from answering calls etc.

    There hasn't been any sense of silo-ing or that the Community only belongs to one function, and that has been consistent irrespective of reporting lines which perhaps might make me an outlier case.

  • Kara
    Kara Member ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the additional insight @Rav Singh. That whole "community is something else I have to do" mentality is an ongoing battle for sure.

    The sense of silo-ing is what I really want to avoid. I think that would happen if ours is pigeon-holed in with all of marketing versus operations. I think avoiding community becoming to much of a marketing function/tool is also something for us to be cautious of to avoid a shift in its purpose and potential long term effects on growth and engagement.

    Wish me luck. 🙂

  • Hi @Kara I think this is a really interesting question! Most community managers I know live in marketing, but I've been seeing more and more folks sit in CS (like I do!)

    I report to our director of CS.

    In general, I think it depends on the goals of your community.

    -Support focused? Sitting on the support/cs team makes sense

    -Demand gen focused? Marketing might be the right spot

    -Customer success/engagement/education focused? I think CS works best!

  • Kara
    Kara Member ✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts @kmonteiro! It looks like I'm going to land in Marketing, even though even Marketing agrees "it's not the best fit" but "the most logical of the available options." A future home might be in a not-yet-created Business Development department that is focused not on sales, but on relationship-building in the philanthropic sector.

    I doubt I'm the only community manager who feels like their company isn't really sure where to put them. It is an interesting question for companies to consider as many communities overlap with multiple teams and play an important role in more than one company initiative!

  • Esther99
    Esther99 Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 2021 #12

    I´ve been in Marketing and in Customer Support and basically, I did the same job independently from the reporting line. My team and I are supporting users as good as we can, communicating company topics, providing Knowledge Base articles, writing Blog articles, etc. Just to name a few tasks...

    Sometimes I feel we could be our own department or part of all departments at once as we are working with so many different people 😁

    Wherever you end up: Enjoy it 👍

    Best, Esther