Marketing Department: Organization, Tools & Responsibilities
“The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.” – Thomas Jefferson
Marketing is the most important parts of any business activity. It is what creates customers and generates income, guides the future course of a business and defines whether it will be a success or a failure. Without marketing, a business is like sitting in the dark and expecting people to find you without a light. Marketing can be done without a marketing team, but you cannot expect to go too far or succeed by marketing on your own. For a sustained marketing effort, a business of any size requires a dedicated marketing department or a marketing team.
In this article, we will explore the following: 1) concept of marketing, 2) organization of a marketing department, 3) tools of marketing department, and 4) responsibilities of marketing department.
Concept of Marketing
Marketing can be described as any activity that is carried on with the specific purpose of conveying information about the use, quality and value of a product or service in order to promote or sell the product or service. Marketing is the way to announce the availability of a commodity, service, idea or a brand to the world in such a way that people are interested in it and wish to acquire it and use it. It serves the purpose of plugging the gap between the public’s requirement and the products that are available.
Importance Of A Marketing Department
The Marketing Department is the key to good marketing and sales. It promotes and establishes a business in its niche, based on the products or services the business is offering. It identifies the areas in which the product fits and where the business should focus its marketing strategy and, therefore, spend its budget for the maximum coverage and results. The marketing department helps a business to do the following:
- Build relationship with the audience: Creates awareness of the business and its products as well as provide inputs that create interest for the audience. It brings in new customers and creates new business opportunities for the enterprise.
- Involve the customer: It engages existing customers, tries to understand them and hear what they have to say. It monitors the competition, creates new ideas, identifies outlets, plans the strategy to involve customers and retain them.
- Generate income: Finally, the aim of the marketing department is to generate revenue. All its activities are aimed at broadening the customer base and finding opportunities that would create more revenue for the enterprise.
ORGANIZATION OF A MARKETING DEPARTMENT
The marketing department of any enterprise is responsible for promoting the products, ideas and mission of the enterprise, finding new customers, and reminding existing customers that you are in business. It organizes all the activities that are concerned with marketing and promotion. It may consist of a single person or a group of people working in a hierarchal system who are responsible for bringing the product of the business to the attention of its targeted customers. Since this department is the key to your revenue and business activity, it requires people who have the skills for dealing with people and understanding what they require.
There is no hard and fast rule to the organization of a marketing department, which depends entirely upon the needs of the business, its size and the amount of money that it wants to spend on marketing. But a typical marketing department in a large business operation is organized as follows:
- Chief Marketing Officer: This is the person who is at the top of the pyramid and is in charge of the marketing department. The responsibilities of CMO lie in the decision making within the process of the development of the major marketing strategies, as well as running the marketing department. CMO is also answerable to the Board of Directors or the Management about the results of the marketing strategies.
- Marketing Director: The person in this role is responsible for all the marketing strategies that are created and implemented. With his tasks he assists the CMO of the company.
- Vice President Marketing: He is answerable to the Marketing Director. His responsibility is the implementation of the marketing strategies of the organization. He works with the marketing manager in determining the strategies, messages, and media to be employed for marketing.
- Marketing Manager: Marketing Manager works under the vice president marketing and assists him with the implementation of all marketing strategies including creating messages or advertisements for marketing, choosing the medium of displaying the messages, which might include print media, television, banners and hoarding, website and social media marketing, etc. A marketing manager is also responsible for managing the other employees of the department. There may be one or several marketing managers depending upon the size and requirements of the business.
- Marketing Analyst or Researchers: These individuals are responsible for research and analysis that drives the marketing department and guides its marketing strategies by finding out about the target customers and the competition of the business. Marketing Analysts employ marketing tools such as surveys or studies to discover information that may be useful for marketing. They report to the marketing manager.
- Public Relations: Public Relation Officer is in charge of managing the reputation and goodwill of the company. His job is to create understanding of the clients and try to influence their thinking and behavior. PRO uses media management and communication to build up the company’s profile. The PRO works under the Marketing Manager and reports to him.
- Social Media Expert/Creative services: With the internet becoming a major player in marketing, a company benefits from the services of Social Media Experts (SME) and creative services. While the SMEs concentrate on marketing the business and its service on the internet so that more people become aware of it, the creative services take care of designing and presentation part of the business, these include websites, web pages, brochures, booklets, flyers, advertisements, mailers and e-mailers, and all other promotional material that is required by the marketing department. The creative services and social media marketing report to the marketing manager and work under him.
- Marketing Coordinator: Coordinates all the various sections of the marketing department and manages the advertising and marketing campaigns. Marketing Coordinator is responsible for tracking sales data, maintaining the promotional material inventory, planning events, preparing reports, etc. They work with the Marketing Manager and assist him.
- Marketing Assistant: Assists and reports to the marketing manager to run the day to day business of a marketing department. Carries out administrative work required for the smooth running of the department.
Depending on a company size, there might be implemented a hierarchical organization of a marketing departments within a company.
TOOLS OF A MARKETING DEPARTMENT
In order to succeed in its aim of creating market awareness for the business and its products, the marketing department requires some tools to facilitate its work. It needs to discover what the consumers want or require and provide them with it. This requires that the marketing department has a proper direction and strategy at its disposal to study the market, create the right product, and promote the product and the brand, towards the final aim of developing the business and enhancing the value of the business. The tools that are employed by the marketing team are:
Marketing department is responsible for all marketing research. Research is essential to understand the consumer needs and also to identify the market for the products that the company hopes to sell. Marketing research also helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business and its competitors. This eventually helps a business to eliminate its weakness, work upon its strength and to exploit the weaknesses of the competitors to wean away the customers from the competitors. The entire enterprise benefits from market research and the insights it generates.
Marketing department helps to create products that customers need or want and improve upon the ones that already exist to create better value for the customers. It is the job of the marketing department to analyze the sales of products already in the market, look for opportunities to introduce new products where there are gaps or change and improve products that are hard to sell. Marketing personnel provides information to product development team about the customer preferences, so that new products can be developed based on the customer insight provided by the marketing team. The marketing team is also responsible for determining the price of a product based on its research and for launching the product into the market.
Advertising and Promotional Campaigning
Once the enterprise has a product to sell, it is the responsibility of the Marketing Department to promote the product and the brand. This will be performed through the help of the creative team by creating campaigns, events, advertisements, as well as promotional material. Such promotional material is used to promote the product, services, and brand to the public in order to create awareness and to convert prospects into customers. The marketing department is provided with a budget for promotion, and it has to design its promotional activities within the budget. The marketing department also manages the social media marketing for businesses. It does so with the help of social media experts who design and implement the strategy to promote the business and its product on the internet, create a buzz and utilize that buzz to attract customers and improve sales.
In order to create new business, marketing and sales departments have to work together. The marketing team devises ways to engage prospects. This may be facilitated through advertisements in the media or internet via the website or the social media. It uses information and incentives to keep the prospects interested and provides an opportunity for the sales department to convince the prospect to buy the product. So the marketing department creates or generates leads for the sales department to pursue. Not all leads convert to customers. The process of lead generation and creating new marketing avenues is a continuous process, and the marketing department is responsible for it.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MARKETING DEPARTMENT
Marketing department has a huge responsibility of making a business viable and profitable. It needs to do this by creating awareness, engaging customers, researching competitors and their product, preparing promotional activities and materials and a whole host of other responsibilities. The marketing department is like the jack of all trades in any organization. Anything that other departments do not handle is given to the marketing department to deal with. When we look in-depth at the responsibilities of the marketing department, it becomes very clear why it is the key department of any organization, without which it would be very difficult for the business to exist profitably.
Applying customer-centric approach
The Marketing Department needs to have a relationship with the customer so that they can understand what the customers’ demand from the business and thus aim to meet those demands. Customer feedback is an important part of marketing and companies need to conduct surveys to get the feedback from customers and prospects. There are two ways to understand the customer needs and focus the business activities to reflect the customer’s demands; these are through internal channels by taking feedback from the sales department and the customer service department regarding customer preferences and their feedback. This can be done via data analysis as well as conducting surveys within the company. The other way to collect information is via external channels, through interaction with social media and internet. In the end, the focus should be to provide the customer with a valuable and pleasant experience when interacting with the company.
Keeping up with the competition
The marketing department is also responsible for researching the competition and keeping up with them to know what they are doing, which products they are launching, what are the weaknesses of the competitors and how to avoid making the same mistakes as the competitors. It is also essential to know how the company is placed in relation to its competitors, why the customers prefer the other companies, what customers the competitors target and the relationship they have with their customers. Once all this information is available then the marketing department can analyze it and create a better marketing and customer relation strategy for the company.
A brand is the identity of a company. It is the practice of creating a name, design or symbol that denotes a particular product or business and makes it stand apart from other similar products or businesses. Branding helps to enhance the image of a business and make it more credible, elicit an emotionally positive response from the audience, motivates the audience to buy and creates loyalty for the brand and its products. It is the duty of the marketing department to create and promote a brand through images, words, ideas, and promises of benefits to the customer. The message needs to be delivered to the audience by all the members of the enterprise consistently and frequently.
Finding the Right Partners
The marketing department of all organizations cannot be extensive enough to handle all the marketing needs of the organization. In order to bring the full range of marketing tools and expertise to a business, it is often essential to hire specific expertise and people from outside the organization. It is essential to find the right partners who understand the philosophy and needs of the organization. It is the work of the marketing department to identify, hire and oversee these partners to bring best value to the business. These strategic partners could be advertising agencies to create and manage advertising campaigns, social media experts to manage the social media marketing side of the business, web designers, data analysts, copywriters, and other such people.
Being creative and innovative
The marketing department needs to be on its toes at all times. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to come up with creative ideas, whether it is for promotional purposes or to create a new product. Feedback and ideas from the marketing team are responsible for policy decisions regarding products, such as whether to create new products or improve the old one. It also needs to come up with creative ways to position the brand and the product to create additional revenue for the company. In order to fulfill all its responsibilities, the marketing department often takes the help of outside partners.
Communicating with other departments
One of the key responsibilities of the marketing department is to create a channel of communication with all the other departments within an organization. It has to familiarize all the employees with the marketing ethics, company’s philosophy, and customer relationship. It can do so by conducting workshops, training sessions and talks or presentation regarding customer handling and brand awareness.
Marketing departments work on budgets. They are given a certain amount of money to spend upon creating a presence for the company or product in the market. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to estimate the cost of all the marketing activities it intends to carry out and prepare a budget that would use the allocated amount of money most efficiently. It is essential that the marketing personnel stick to the budget.
Being aware of ROI
The marketing department needs to be aware of the concept of return on investment. Since all marketing activities cost money, the concept of ROI can help the marketing team to create a marketing strategy that gives the highest exposure for the least amount of money spent. They should constantly monitor themselves and evaluate whether the strategies that have been used have yielded the desired benefit or not, and what was the cost of the strategy in terms of time, effort, and most importantly money.
Managing the key activities of a business to work together is another responsibility of the marketing department. It is the duty of the marketing department to create and implement strategies that would enhance the business activities of the enterprise.
Managing research for the company is also the duty of the marketing department. This includes research about the products, marketing strategies, strengths and customers of the competitors in comparison to that of the organization. The Marketing Department also provides inputs regarding the pricing of a product.
Managing events also comes within the scope of responsibilities of the marketing department. This including promotional events, exhibitions, seminars, training sessions, trade meetings, conventions, etc.
We can thus see that the marketing department is essential not only for positioning and promoting a product but also for providing vital information to the organization about all aspects of the business. It is the key department of any organization and cannot be dispensed with. Even in tough times, a business cannot do away with the marketing department. On the other hand, marketing department becomes the key player to pull a business out of troubles and set it back on the path to profitability.