Marketing Department

Did you know that 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategies are ineffective despite pouring huge amounts of money into digital marketing? You see, doing marketing is challenging. Wondering what exactly the marketing department does? Get ready to dive in because we're about to explore the fascinating marketing world! From the structure of a marketing department to its various roles, we'll look at real-life examples and uncover the functions that drive a company's marketing success. And we'll even touch on the important relationships between the marketing department and other departments within an organization.

Marketing Department Marketing Department

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Table of contents

    What Does Marketing Department Do?

    Marketing is any activity promoting products or services to consumers to make a sale. Marketing department can be defined as the division that carries out marketing activities in a company.

    A marketing department is a group of marketing specialists responsible for planning, creating, and monitoring marketing activities within a company.

    The primary goal of the marketing department is to help the company generate as many sales as possible. To achieve this, it focuses on three main tasks:

    1. Design marketing strategies to attract and engage customers,

    2. Deliver products that satisfy customers' needs and wants,

    3. Build long-term relationships with customers.

    Marketing department activities

    Marketing department activities refer to the various efforts and strategies that a company employs to promote its products or services to potential customers. Some examples of marketing activities include advertising, public relations, sales promotion, content marketing, direct marketing, and events and sponsorships.

    1. Advertising: creating and distributing promotional messages through various media channels such as TV, radio, billboards, print, and online platforms.
    2. Public relations: building and maintaining a positive image of the company in the eyes of the public through activities such as press releases, media interviews, and community events.
    3. Sales promotions: offering incentives and discounts to encourage customers to purchase the company's products or services, such as BOGO (buy one, get one) deals, loyalty programs, and coupons.
    4. Content marketing: creating and sharing informative or entertaining content that engages with the target audience, such as blog posts, videos, and social media updates.
    5. Direct marketing: reaching out directly to potential customers through methods such as email marketing, telemarketing, or direct mail.
    6. Events and sponsorships: sponsoring or hosting events that allow the company to showcase its products or services, such as trade shows, product launches, or charity events.

    Marketing Department Structure

    Regarding marketing department structure, firms can organize their staff in many ways to improve efficiency and work performance. The structure of the marketing department depends significantly on firm size, the type of customers, and employees' backgrounds. Below are the four main types of marketing department structures.

    Functional structure of a marketing department

    The functional structure divides employees based on their positions and roles. A functional team specializes in a single task and relies less on external forces when making decisions. Functional team members report to a team lead, who then reports to a senior executive.

    A functional marketing structure separates marketing staff based on their roles and positions.

    Figure 1 shows what a functional department structure might look like.

    Teams are divided into departments specializing in a single task.

    This marketing structure comes with many benefits:

    • Employees can focus on one area of work and thus produce more consistent results.

    • Specialization leads to higher efficiency and effectiveness.

    • Large-scale management is simpler.

    That said, there are several drawbacks when adopting a functional model. First is the challenge of cross-functional communication and collaboration. Since marketing activities are carried out separately, information updates may be slow, which impacts the company's ability to respond to market challenges. Too much focus on one area can also limit employees' creativity and flexibility.

    Product-based structure of a marketing department

    The product-based structure can be applied to companies with a wide range of products and services. Employees are divided into groups to work on a specific product line. Employees can come from multiple departments rather than one single department, as in the functional model.

    The product-based marketing structure divides marketing employees based on specific product lines.

    A product-based structure might look like this:

    In Fig. 2, Samsung corporation is divided into four divisions with four main product lines: Digital Media, Semiconductors, Information & Communications, and Home Appliances.3 The marketing department is nested within each division.

    This marketing structure lets employees focus on division-related tasks and respond quickly to market needs. However, different departments might have overlapping roles, leading to duplicate tasks and wasting resources.

    Matrix structure of a marketing department

    The matrix structure is the marriage between the functional and product-based structure. For this reason, it is also called the hybrid structure. In a matrix structure, employees are separated based on both roles and products they are working on.

    The matrix marketing structure divides marketing employees based on their roles and the products they are working on.

    A company that launches a new product line puts staff from functional groups (market research, marketing, product & development, sales) into a product launch team. Employees will report to both their functional managers and project managers.

    The matrix structure allows for better communication and collaboration as people from different departments come together to work on one project. Employees will have more resources to use, leading to higher efficiency and better results. Cross-functional communication also enables faster responses to market trends.

    According to studies, employees working on various projects are happier with their job as they can broaden their skills while contributing to multiple business areas.1

    Some challenges that might arise in the matrix model:

    • Conflict in priorities and duties.

    • Employees may feel like they are being pulled in multiple directions

    • Too much communication can be overwhelming and lower productivity.

    Geographical structure of a marketing department

    The geographical structure is ideal for international firms operating in more than one location worldwide. As the name suggests, geographical structures divide marketing staff based on location.

    The geographical marketing structure is based on the geographical location of the marketing staff.

    Organizing the marketing department based on geography can lead to a deeper connection with the audience. This is because marketers are more familiar with the local culture and can design campaigns that appeal to a local audience.

    Segment-driven structure of a marketing department

    Another way to structure the marketing department is based on customer segments. In the segment-driven structure, each marketing team is responsible for a specific customer group and will create campaigns tailored to that group. We often find a segment-driven system in large corporations that serve customers from different backgrounds.

    The segment-driven marketing structure is based on customer groups or segments.

    A segment-driven structure can lead to:

    • Higher customer engagement and trust,

    • Improved communication due to a smaller team,

    • Increased specialization and expertise.

    However, it might be difficult to organize such a structure as it requires many staff with specialized skills and expertise.

    Marketing Department Example

    In today's world, omnichannel marketing has become increasingly important to businesses. Omnichannel marketing integrates various marketing channels to interact and engage with customers. A typical business today is not only present with a physical location but also has an online store, a website, and social pages. For this reason, many companies have organized their marketing departments based on their function.

    Examples of specialized marketing departments or teams are:

    Roles of Marketing Department

    Without a marketing department, the company would not be able to get its product sold. But this is only one of the marketing department's many tasks. Here are six leading roles of a marketing department:

    • creating marketing strategies,
    • conducting market research,
    • helping with product development,
    • promoting products and services,
    • managing and plan events,
    • supporting sales and distributions.

    Let's take a look at those roles in more detail.

    • Create marketing strategies - The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and senior marketing staff develop overall marketing strategies. These are the roadmaps for the marketing team to perform their tasks and contribute to the company's strategic goals.2
    • Conduct market research - There are two ways marketers can conduct market research. The first is in-house market research. An internal marketing team will conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc., to collect customer insights. The other way is to hire a third party to research on the company's behalf (outsourcing). Once the data is gathered, the marketing team will analyze it and make marketing decisions based on it.
    • Help with product development - The marketing team can communicate customer insights (preferences, needs, challenges) to the product development team to help create better products.
    • Promote products & services - The end goal of marketing is to get product sales. This makes promotion the core activity of the marketing department. Promotion does include not only individual promotion campaigns but also a strategic method to improve brand reputation in the long run.
    • Manage and plan events - The marketing department is responsible for planning and managing a wide range of events, including product launches, generating and nurturing leads, etc.
    • Support sales and distribution - How the marketing plans promotional activity & how much attention a promotional campaign gathers can directly influence sales. The marketing team can qualify leads using demographic and behavioral data to help target the audience more effectively and reduce distribution efforts.

    Marketing Department Functions

    The above marketing roles are performed under one of the seven marketing department functions: product management, selling, distribution, funding, market research, pricing, and promotion.

    Product management

    Product management is an ongoing process of modifying and improving a product or service to better match customers' needs. It is vital for business growth and survival. Companies that manage products and services gain more customer loyalty and generate more sales and profit. One core activity of product management is product innovation. This is the process of updating existing products or offering something new to the market.

    Selling

    Selling is the exchange of goods and services between a buyer and a seller. Marketing can aid the selling process by attracting, engaging, and helping customers make buying decisions. Marketing activities also build the company's brand voice and reputation, which enhances customers' trust and increases their chance of buying from the business.

    Distribution

    Distribution (place) is one of the 4Ps in the marketing mix. The function of marketing refers to how marketers make the product available to customers. Through market research, marketers can decide on which channel to promote their products and services and whether to sell a product in their own store, an eCommerce app, a retailer, or a wholesaler.

    Funding

    Another function of the marketing department is to calculate costs and acquire funding for the marketing campaign. Using past metrics (e.g., reach and impressions created by an online marketing campaign) and showing potential ROI (Return on Investment) can increase the chance of the marketing department securing funding.

    Market research

    The marketing department is also responsible for collecting customer insights to aid product development, selling, pricing, and distribution. This marketing function is not a one-time task but an ongoing activity that helps businesses improve their performance and respond quickly to market change.

    Learn more in our explanation of market research.

    Pricing

    This function of marketing is closely related to market research. Pricing is determined by market value, and the value customers expect from the product. Businesses can design the best pricing strategy based on customer types to generate the most sales. The most common pricing strategy are skimming pricing and penetration pricing.

    Promotion

    This is perhaps the most vital function of marketing. Promotion raises customers' awareness of a brand, generates consumer interest, and persuades them to buy. There are many promotional strategies for both online and offline channels. For example, digital marketing strategy may include social media marketing, email marketing, SEO (Search engine optimization), and affiliate marketing.

    Relationship between Marketing Department and Other Departments

    The marketing department is closely linked with other departments within an organization, as it plays a critical role in achieving the company's overall goals and objectives. We explain the relationship between the marketing department and sales, product and development, customers service, and finance departments below:

    1. Sales Department - The sales department works closely with the marketing department to ensure that the products and services being offered meet the needs and demands of the customers. For example, the sales team may inform the marketing department that customers are requesting more product demonstrations, leading the marketing team to create more opportunities for product demos.
    2. Product Development Department - The marketing department collaborates with the product development department to ensure that new products and services meet the needs of the target audience. For example, the marketing team may identify a gap in the market for a product that solves a specific problem, leading the product development team to create a new product that addresses that need.
    3. Customer Service Department - The marketing department works with the customer service department to guarantee that customers are receiving high-quality support and service throughout the entire customer journey. The marketing team can use customer feedback provided by the customer service team to inform marketing strategies and messaging.
    4. Finance Department - The finance department provides financial guidance and oversight to the marketing team, ensuring that marketing strategies are cost-effective and profitable.

    Marketing Department - Key takeaways

    • A marketing department is a group of marketing specialists responsible for planning, creating, and monitoring marketing activities within a company.
    • There are four marketing department structures: functional, product-based, matrix, and segment-driven.

    • The main purpose of the marketing department is to promote and sell a company's products or services.

    • The marketing department's roles are: creating a marketing strategy, conducting market research, aiding product development, promoting the company's products and services, managing events, and supporting the sales department.

    • The marketing department has seven essential functions: product management, distribution, selling, promotion, pricing, funding, and market research.


    References

    1. Anam Ahmed, Hybrid Organization Structure, https://bizfluent.com/facts-7241372-hybrid-organization-structure.html, 2019.
    2. Building a Marketing Team, https://www.wrike.com/marketing-guide/marketing-team-department/, n.d.
    3. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Encyclopedia, 2018.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Department

    How is the marketing department organized?

    There are four main ways to organize a marketing department: 


    1. Functional structure divides marketing teams based on their roles and position. 
    2. Product-based structure groups teams based on the product line. 
    3. Matrix structure (hybrid) is the blend of functional and product-based structure, grouping teams based on roles and products they are working on. 
    4. The segment-driven structure is based on customer segments. 

    What are the functions of a marketing department?

    The marketing department has seven key functions: product management, distribution, selling, promotion, pricing, funding, and market research. 

    Why is the marketing department important?

    The primary goal of the marketing department is to help the company generate as many sales as possible. Marketing activities such as market research are also vital to product development, pricing, and distribution. 

    What is the role of a marketing department?

    The marketing department has six important roles:


    • Creating a marketing strategy,
    • Conducting market research,
    • Aiding product development,
    • Promoting the company's products and services
    • Managing events,
    • Supporting the sales department. 

    What is the marketing department?

    A marketing department is the division of the company that is responsible for carrying out marketing activities. 

    What is the role of a marketing department in promoting products and services?

    The role of a marketing department in promoting products and services is to develop and execute effective strategies to reach and engage target customers, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales.

    What is the relationship between marketing department and other departments?

    Marketing department must work collaboratively with other departments to achieve the company's goals and objectives. For example, it has to collaborate with the product development department to understand the features of the product, or it has to work with the financial department to ensure that the marketing budget is allocated correctly.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    The primary goal of the marketing department is to help the company generate as many ______ as possible.

    The functional structure divides employees based on __________

    Functional structure is ideal for ___________.

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    Team Marketing Department Teachers

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