What Does A Marketing Department Do

By: Special Guest Author: Rob Engelman
March 2007 Corporate 39 Comments

Not too long ago, a friend posed the following questions to me…”What should a marketing department do? What should they be responsible for?”

After reflecting upon the query, I came to the realization that my friend had asked quite interesting and thought-provoking questions for which there are not simple answers. For starters, the responsibilities of a Marketing Department vary based on several factors including business size, industry, corporate structure, and more. To complicate the matter, a Marketing Department’s role will undoubtedly be different for organizations where the department is considered to be a “cost center” vs. a “revenue center.”

While understanding that “it depends” is not a suitable answer for any direct question, the following are my thoughts on 9 core activities / responsibilities a Marketing Department must handle. They are not listed in any particular order, as they all should be accomplished if an organization wants to grow the value of its business.

1) Focus on the Customer.

Marketers should spend time listening to their customers (and prospective customers) in order to understand their needs and wants regarding a particular product or service. Soliciting thoughts and input from internal stakeholders such as Sales and Customer Service is also appropriate, as these departments are typically closest to the customer.

2) Monitor the Competition.

Learning about, and understanding the competitive landscape is also an important function of the Marketing Department. Marketers should be the “go to people” within an organization to answer the following types of questions: Who is the competition (both direct and indirect)? What do they communicate? Which customers do they serve? Why do customers choose the competitor versus you?

3) Own the Brand.

The perceptions and feelings formed about an organization, its products / services, and its performance is what is known as its “brand.” The Marketing Department is responsible for creating meaningful messages through words, ideas, images, and names that deliver upon the promises / benefits an organization wishes to make with its customers. Furthermore, the Marketing Department is responsible for ensuring that messages and images are delivered consistently, by every member of the organization.

4) Find & Direct Outside Vendors.

Internal Marketing Departments do not create magic alone. Therefore, Marketing needs to source and oversee a group of outside resources (a.k.a. “partners”) such as copywriters, graphic designers, web designers, database specialists, and printers so that a company can get the most “bang” from its marketing efforts.

5) Create New Ideas.

Whether it’s customer acquisition campaigns, keep-in-touch programs, new product promotions, retention efforts, or something in between, the Marketing Department should ultimately be responsible for developing new ideas that generate revenue for the company. This does not mean that the Marketers have to come up with every idea on their own; however, they need to identify, cultivate, and work with others (see point #4) to execute programs that will create revenue.

6) Communicate Internally.

It is important that the Marketing Department communicates with all departments inside an organization. Since any employee (regardless of position) can support (or damage) a brand, value proposition or even specific program initiatives, the Marketing Department needs to take responsibility for disseminating information throughout the organization (this includes internal education and training when appropriate).

7) Manage a Budget.

Establishing and communicating messages to the marketplace costs money. Therefore, Marketing Departments should be responsible for estimating the anticipated expenditures associated with marketing activities. Once set, Marketers should be held responsible for meeting all budget projections.

8) Understand the ROI.

Since marketing activities are an investment — an investment in time, money, and effort — they should be monitored and measured against specific concrete goals and objectives. Marketing Departments should constantly ask themselves…”What’s my expected return?” Answering this simple, yet often overlooked question will result in better, more accountable decisions.

9) Set the Strategy, Plan the Attack, and Execute.

One of the key activities for a Marketing Department is to integrate an organization’s goals, strengths, channels of distribution, competitive environment, target markets, pricing, core messages, and products into one cohesive document known as the Marketing Strategy. As part of the strategy, the Marketing Department should also develop the list of tactical ideas such as direct mail, print advertising, and search engine optimization that will enable the organization to communicate its message to customers and prospects. With a strategy and tactical ideas in hand, the Marketing Department is now ready to take on the responsibility of executing the programs and initiatives to drive sales and revenue for the organization.

Whether you are part of a Fortune 500 corporation, a regional manufacturer, a local distributor, an independent professional service provider, or somewhere in between, marketing is a critical component necessary to increase the value of your business. Take a look at your Marketing Department…how many of the 9 activities above do they handle? If something is missing, it is a sure sign that your marketing efforts are not as effective as they could be; therefore, your company is leaving money and valuable resources on the table.

  • Nathan k cheruiyot

    The question was well answered.Regardless of “it depends factor” in the question “what should a marketing department do” The role of marketing is well defined in this article

    • Peace_nahabwe

      then how is the marketing department different from sales department



  • Samuel Azong

    This is a great piece of enlightenment about the functions of marketing. Thanks a lot.

  • jyj


  • Robert

    Very good article indeed. My next question would be, what is the best organigram for a marketing department and the number of employees involved.

  • Ludmil

    Very good question Robert!

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  • Sasirekah

    Its a good overview of marketing department..n it he;ped me alot with my studies. tq

  • Gon

    Helpful dude!

  • Arun

    Got some use full info from your Essay

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  • PaulinSD

    Although this article is very written and articulates many of the operational details required of a marketing department, it misses the point completely.

    The job of any marketing department is simply to generate qualified leads for sales to follow up on.

    All the rest of this is just path that gets you there. If you’re not generating qualified leads in the end, you’re just masturbating.

  • nomfundo

    This marketing responsibilieties really give me the whole picture on how to conquere in the marketing industry.Thank you for that.

  • Savadogo rasmane

    Its very good idea to make us understand the strategy of business.thanks

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  • Vermasoni

    is marketing include sales job also?

    • Cwood

      Yes. We are all salespeople no matter what position is held.

  • July_0907

    This article is very helpful. Well articulated, clear and quite complete. Well done. Thank you for taking the effort for doing it. 

    • ME!!! DANNIE

      yes this was very helpful

  • S_ojaw


  • Monu

    This article really very helpful………

  • akiii


  • nefg

    i really liked the article, except for this bit:
    >Marketing Departments should constantly ask
    themselves…”What’s my expected return?” Answering this
    simple, yet often overlooked question will result in
    better, more accountable decisions.

    I agree this is a very important question, but it is not a simple one at all.

    Try measuring the return on a 3.5M USD investment on a superbowl advertisement.

  • Thilina

    Those are helped me to learn marketing

  • fridah

    This article will really work for me if put in consideration thank you for your time you took to come up with it.

  • Sammy

    Complete report of accurate and well explained information, well done.

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  • nawaz

    please i want to know about how marketing department work in xyz company .. any1 help me ?? :/

    • sean bean corb

      stop asking stupid questions capiche peace out bitches

  • LiL-Cryme Atiku

    This is such a good n rich work….God bless you

  • Tigisti

    what is the responsibility of marketing in collection of credit sales

  • boom

    right love

  • boob

    thank u for making my essay so much easier

  • Nelson Tongeni

    Thank you!!

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  • pratishtha

    can u plz tell me that what the company does after taking feedback from the customers. tell me the process in which the company works for modifying the same product. what is the role of marketing department in this

  • Liu Jessie

    It works for me to think in a better way.

About the author

Rob Engelman, President of Engelman Management Group, is a seasoned executive with more than 17 years of consumer and business-to-business experience. He has a proven track record in leading projects and teams to achieve significant business results, particularly in the areas of customer lifecycle management and new product introductions. Prior to forming Engelman Management Group, Rob was Vice President of Marketing for Citicorp Diners Club as well as at an Internet start-up organization. He can be contacted at 847-945-7573, or, or at

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