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Marketing Department

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. One of the reasons why is that it's getting more difficult and expensive to capture people's attention. Companies are spending more but also losing time, money, and effort. So, how can we minimize marketing risks and waste? There's no easy answer, but one thing that certainly helps is to organize a productive marketing department. This will be the focus of today's explanation.

Introduction of Marketing Department

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

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 activities such as market research are also vital to product development, pricing, and distribution.

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.

Marketing Department: Functional structure

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.

Marketing Department: Product-based structure

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.

Marketing Department: Matrix structure

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.

Marketing Department: Geographical structure

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.

Marketing Department: Segment-driven structure

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:

Marketing Department Roles

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:

  • 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:

Marketing Function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing function: 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.

Marketing Department - Key takeaways

  • The marketing department includes a group of marketing specialists who plan and carry out activities within a company.
  • There are four marketing department structures: functional, product-based, matrix, and segment-driven.

  • The marketing department is responsible for 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

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. 

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

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. 

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. 

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

Final Marketing Department Quiz

Question

The marketing department is a group of marketing specialists who are responsible for planning, creating, and monitoring _________ within a company. 

Show answer

Answer

marketing activities

Show question

Question

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

Show answer

Answer

sales

Show question

Question

Marketing activities such as _______ can help with development, pricing, and distribution. 

Show answer

Answer

market research

Show question

Question

The functional structure divides employees based on __________

Show answer

Answer

their positions and roles. 

Show question

Question

Functional structure is ideal for ___________.

Show answer

Answer

Large-scale management

Show question

Question

A functional structure can help employees focus on one area of work and thus produce more consistent results. 


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Which marketing department structure may limit cross-functional communication and collaboration?

Show answer

Answer

Functional marketing department

Show question

Question

The product-based structure is best applied to companies with a small range of products and services.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

The matrix structure is the blend of _____ and _______ structures. It is also called the hybrid structure. 

Show answer

Answer

functional, product-based

Show question

Question

The matrix structure allows for better communication and collaboration as people from different departments come together to work on one project.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

The geographical structure is ideal for _________. 

Show answer

Answer

international firms 

Show question

Question

In the _________  structure, each marketing team is responsible for a specific customer group and will create campaigns tailored to that group. 

Show answer

Answer

segment-driven

Show question

Question

Marketing strategies are developed by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) with senior marketing staff. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Market research can only be conducted by the in-house marketing team.

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Give an example of one event that is planned by the marketing department. 

Show answer

Answer

Product launch

Show question

Question

Product management is not a function of marketing. 

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Which function of marketing refers to making the product available to customers?

Show answer

Answer

Distribution

Show question

Question

How many marketing functions are there?

Show answer

Answer

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

Show question

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