Whatever happened to the marketing department? Should we actually care?

In an article called Whatever happened to the marketing department? (the Age – Melbourne April 8, 2011 ) Julian Lee said that once being a marketer really meant something. It commanded a certain amount of respect.  Now he says The commercial director has taken pricing off them, placement has been largely ceded to the retailer and if marketers are lucky, then they get a say in the product. If not, they are told to go away and sell it. This leaves promotion. Yes, the marketing department has been left to come up with the fun stuff, the pretty ads, the kooky social media campaign, the sort of things that others in the business don’t take that seriously. Even customer service is rarely left to marketers.

Marketers (says Lee) have neglected their responsibilities as the voice of the company. Anyone who reads the pages of the likes of AdAge in the US can witness a thriving and lively discourse about marketing by marketers that is sadly non-existent here.

All this of course got me to thinking:

First – It seems to me that Julian Lee has never fully understood marketing and has mostly focused (as most journalists do) on the promotional aspects.   (they just don’t get it)

Second –  Mr Lee does not seem to have noticed the number of Australians voicing opinions about marketing in places like LinkedIn as well as blogs like this

Third –  Here we go – the biggie IMHO – Why should all these activities (the 4 P’s etc) be left solely in the hands of the Marketing Department?.  Seth Godin has said that  “… marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department”.  I agree.  Marketing is not a single activity.  It should be seen as all the activities associated with the goals and objectives of establishing and maintaining value exchanges with its markets.  William J. Stanton said – “…the marketing concept is a philosophy of business which states that the customer’s want satisfaction is the economic and social justification of a company’s existence.  Consequently, all company activities in production, engineering, and finance, as well as in marketing, must be devoted first to determining what the customer’s wants are and then to satisfying those wants.”

Marketing cannot and should not be the exclusive realm of marketing.  It is in the organisations interests to have more departments being involved in and contributing to marketing.  At least then they will better understand the concept and its operation

One of the original goals of modern (Customer focused/Relational Strategy) marketing was to get the whole business/organisation to become a marketing business/organisation.  The role of the modern marketing department was to introduce modern (not just transactional) marketing into the organisation and facilitate the concept to become the basic business operational concept (“The business of business is marketing” – Drucker)  That is to focus on the consumer/buyer/payer as the most important aspect of the organisations operations – not just any or all of the organisations departments or its current offerings.

As I have said, Marketing is not a single activity.  The business of marketing should not be about turf wars.  Marketing should indicate a particular approach to business, or a management attitude.  Marketing consists of all individual and organisational activities that facilitate and expedite satisfying value exchange relationships through the creation, delivery, promotion, and pricing of value propositions.

The Marketing Association of ANZ says:  The marketing concept is a philosophy. It makes the customer, and the satisfaction of their needs, the focal point of all business activities.

Marketing is a philosophy and a process involving all the activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs and wants

Marketing is essentially about effectively managing the resources of an organisation so that they meet the (changing) needs of the target market (customer) on whom the organisation depends, in a way that best satisfies the objectives of that organisation.

Marketing consists of individual and organisational activities that facilitate and expedite satisfying value exchange relationships through the creation, delivery, promotion, and pricing of value propositions.

Marketing comprises many activities.  Some are performed by producers; some are accomplished by intermediaries.  Multiple organisations are often involved in the delivery of the total value proposition. Each party adds something to the value and cost of the proposition presented to the customer.

The role(s) of the marketing department is therefore to:

Explain and promote marketing as the main basis of doing business (to focus on the concept of understanding that the customer is the primary asset)

Identify and evaluate possible marketing opportunities

Evaluate and understand the market

Explain and promote a Value based – Relationship Marketing focus

Organise marketing research and marketing intelligence to understand the market – in particular the target segment(s)

Develop the marketing strategy and plan (as part of the business plan).  This should involve inputs from all the various areas of the organisation.  Each department shall contribute from is specialist base to the overall strategy and plan.  The Marketing Department shall put it together to ensure the marketing focus.

Co-ordinate the marketing strategy and implementation of the marketing strategy.


One thought on “Whatever happened to the marketing department? Should we actually care?

  1. Pingback: Cool Video Marketing images | Business Marketing and Hot Internet Marketing

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