Is marketing the poor cousin of business?


I only ask because I think I know more marketing people currently seeking new positions than from any other profession or area of expertise, and I think that every organization I’ve ever worked for or worked with has a smaller marketing department now than then.

So try this experiment for your own organization. It doesn’t have to be forensic, and I don’t make any predictions about the answers.

Simply identity five departments in your organization. Let’s say marketing, sales, finance, HR and logistics. Feel free to replace any of these, except marketing.

Now estimate (or calculate, or check) the net head count for each, for today, 12 months ago, and 5 years ago. (Again, there’s no special insight or science from me here.)

What’s the answer? Which department has lost more individuals, either as a percentage of the original, or as a total number?

If marketing is defined as preparing a market for a service or a product, to provide the sales team with the maximum opportunity to do the actual conversion, and to fulfil the declared need of the customer with a solution from your company, how can any of that happen more effectively or more often with fewer resources?

When an organization reduces a marketing team, is it blinking? Is it saying to itself that it believes less in the products or services it creates?

If sales are down, if the competition is prevailing, is it scared to rethink what it has to offer, and invest in a new future?

Surely this is marketing, linked with product development.

Surely it’s easier to count numbers than to market? How many accountants does it take to do this?

Surely it’s easier to oversee regulations than to market? How many HR people or lawyers does if take to do this?

How many marketing people does it take to position a product, promote it to a market, engage with a community, combat a competitor, make consumer aware of a product’s existence, communicate its value and relevance, and help those consumers find it?

Of course the marketing function might need to change, but of course it never is changed, usually just reduced in size.

Just asking.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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