“What does the marketing team even do anyway?!” … this is a question that will make the blood of any marketeer boil. Working as a recruiter who specialises in marketing vacancies, I speak with people every day and have come to realise that, to the outside world, marketing can be a little confusing.
This feeling was emphasised when I was speaking with a family member who said to me “how hard can it be to recruit people who draw logos all day long and think of jingles for radio advertising?”. Although I found it mildly hilarious that this was their interpretation of a marketing department, I also found it deeply concerning and also quite sad that sometimes the hard work the marketing department does can often go unnoticed by people who aren’t in the marketing “loop”.
To address this issue, and perhaps to help debunk some myths, I met with a number of marketing professionals and identified some key points that should clarify aspects of the marketing department’s role to non-marketeers.
- Marketing is NOT sales – though it offers a key form of support for the sales team in many ways. The branding and external communications the marketing team creates and implements (social media, email marketing, direct mail etc.) can be a key source of lead generation for the sales team to follow up. The marketing department can also be a valuable source of product knowledge for the sales team as it spends considerable time thinking about how to communicate brands and products to the outside world.
- In the digital age the consumer is fickle – the marketing team is constantly researching and keeping up to date with the latest consumer trends so businesses can attract new customers as well as retain existing ones. Without the marketing team, most companies would be behaving as they always have done in the market, and probably missing out on huge amounts of potential customers.
- Marketing brings a company together internally – it touches every department within a business and spends time understanding the different pressures of these different departments. It often assists in communicating important messages across the business, including company goals (for example they are often responsible for helping craft messages from the MD/CEO), which in turn increases employee engagement and improves the general atmosphere within the organisation.
- They help companies look to the future – when organisations think about branching out into new products or services, it is the marketing team that will consult the market and thoroughly research if the ideas are actually something that people really need/want and ultimately decide if the product or service is likely to be profitable in the long term. Similarly, if a current product or service is performing poorly, it will come down to marketing to identify why and suggest solutions either to raise awareness of the product or improve it as a whole.
- They are there when it all goes wrong! – Along with the PR team, the marketing department will often be heavily involved in crisis management, and help identify the best ways to communicate with disgruntled (or sometimes plain angry) individuals. This, again, is even more relevant in the digital age, when consumers often turn to social media channels to vent their frustrations. If this type of feedback is ignored, it can be extremely damaging for businesses, both large and small (a brilliant example of the power of consumer opinion online can be found herehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400780/So-2-fair-price-hot-water-lemon.html)
These are just five points which highlight that the marketing department definitely does not sit around drawing pictures all day long; in fact it can often be one of the busiest departments in an organisation. Although at times it can be stressful, the marketing professionals I speak with on a daily basis display high levels of passion and excitement for what they do, as they really do influence the strategic direction of businesses. Personally, this sounds like a much more exciting and fulfilling career than my family friend could ever have imagined!