What is sbu in marketing?

What is sbu in marketing?

What is sbu in marketing?



In the field of marketing, SBU stands for Strategic Business Unit. It is a concept that refers to a distinct business or product line within a larger organization. SBUs are typically managed as separate entities, with their own strategies, objectives, and resources. This article will delve into the concept of SBU in marketing, exploring its definition, purpose, and importance.

Definition of SBU

A Strategic Business Unit (SBU) is a self-contained division or unit within an organization that operates as an independent entity. It is responsible for its own strategic planning, decision-making, and performance evaluation. SBUs are often created to focus on specific markets, products, or customer segments. They are designed to have a clear mission and objectives, allowing for better control and accountability.

Purpose of SBU

The primary purpose of creating SBUs is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s operations. By dividing the business into smaller units, each with its own goals and strategies, companies can better allocate resources and manage their diverse product lines or market segments. SBUs enable organizations to respond more quickly to market changes, tailor their offerings to specific customer needs, and improve overall performance.

Characteristics of SBUs

SBUs possess several key characteristics that differentiate them from other organizational units. These include:

Autonomy: SBUs have a high degree of autonomy, allowing them to make independent decisions regarding their strategies, operations, and resource allocation. This autonomy enables them to be more responsive to market dynamics and customer demands.

Accountability: SBUs are accountable for their own performance. They have their own profit and loss statements, and their success is measured against specific financial and non-financial targets. This accountability fosters a sense of ownership and encourages SBUs to strive for excellence.

Distinct Identity: SBUs have a distinct identity within the organization. They often have their own brand, logo, and marketing strategies. This distinct identity helps to differentiate their products or services from those of other SBUs or competitors.

Market Orientation: SBUs are market-oriented, meaning they focus on understanding and meeting the needs of their target customers. They conduct market research, analyze consumer behavior, and develop marketing strategies tailored to their specific market segments.

Importance of SBUs in Marketing

SBUs play a crucial role in marketing by enabling organizations to effectively manage their diverse product portfolios and target different customer segments. Some key reasons why SBUs are important in marketing include:

Focused Strategy: SBUs allow organizations to develop focused strategies for specific markets or products. This enables them to allocate resources more efficiently, tailor their marketing efforts, and achieve a competitive advantage in their target segments.

Improved Decision-making: SBUs empower managers to make decisions that are aligned with the specific needs and characteristics of their market segments. This decentralization of decision-making allows for faster response times, increased innovation, and better adaptation to market changes.

Resource Allocation: SBUs facilitate better resource allocation by providing a clear framework for investment decisions. Organizations can allocate resources based on the growth potential, profitability, and strategic importance of each SBU, ensuring optimal utilization of resources.

Performance Evaluation: SBUs provide a basis for evaluating the performance of different business units within an organization. By comparing the performance of each SBU against its objectives and targets, organizations can identify areas of strength and weakness, make informed decisions, and drive continuous improvement.


In conclusion, Strategic Business Units (SBUs) are essential components of marketing strategy. They enable organizations to effectively manage their diverse product portfolios, target specific customer segments, and achieve competitive advantage. By providing autonomy, accountability, and a distinct identity, SBUs enhance decision-making, resource allocation, and performance evaluation. Embracing the concept of SBUs can help organizations navigate dynamic market environments and drive sustainable growth.


– Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2016). Marketing Management (15th ed.). Pearson Education Limited.
– Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press.