Marketing plays an essential role in a business. Without this department, businesses cannot sell products. In fact, the company’s products do not sell because they are not by consumer needs. The marketing department also plays a strategic role in maintaining strong customer relationships. So, when successfully carrying out the role, money flows to the company.
Despite being the source through which money flows into the company, the marketing department needs support from other departments to operate. For example, the marketing manager informs the human resources manager about the need for hiring and training. This collaboration is vital to ensure the marketing team contains competent people.
Why is the marketing department so vital to a company?
Several reasons explain why the marketing department is vital to a company. First, this department identifies customer needs, either current needs or future needs. This task is their domain. From this task, the team then decides on the right marketing mix. Finally, they decide what product to sell, at what price, and how to promote and deliver it to customers.
Second, the marketing team is trying to increase customer awareness of the company’s products. So, they are interested in buying. And after buying, they come back at a later date to buy again.
Third, the marketing team struggles to sell as many products as possible. So, the company can get maximum revenue. The marketing department is where the money comes from. It’s not like other departments like operations, resources, and finance, which are money-consuming and don’t make money.
Fourth, the marketing department is tasked with increasing or maintaining market share. Again, this task is related to how money continues to flow into the company.
Market share is basically about how the company maintains sales compared to competitors. So the increase in market share indicates the company’s success in selling more products than competitors. And suppose a company has a dominant market share and maintains it. In that case, it should lead to more money flowing into the company than competitors.
If at the same time, the company is efficient in making money, the company generates strong profitability. This is because the company makes more money by spending less.
Fifth, the marketing department is tasked with maintaining or improving the company’s image and products. In addition, this department is tasked with maintaining strong relationships with customers. If successful, customers are loyal and continue to buy, flowing money continuously to the company.
Sixth, the marketing team identifies new opportunities to make money. For example, they develop a new product after doing research. Or, they target new market segments in existing markets because there are promising opportunities. Or they plan to enter new markets at home or abroad. All of these contribute to the company’s long-term growth.
How do other departments support the marketing role?
Despite being a money-generating unit for the company, the marketing department needs cooperation with other departments to operate. For example, the marketing department estimates the sales required going forward. Then, the operations department prepares the production schedule. In one case, if the production department is not supportive, the marketing team may not generate maximum sales due to production shortages. In other cases, the marketing team may face stockpiling due to overproduction, causing items to pile up in warehouses and increase costs.
Likewise, the marketing team also needs the finance department for budget support. A less budget can cause sales to not be maximized. On the other hand, budget overruns increase opportunity costs. In addition, the marketing department requires the finance department to collect money from customers when selling on credit.
Meanwhile, the human resources department supports the marketing department related to recruitment and training. Jobs in the marketing department require diverse and specific skills. So, by collaborating with the human resources department, the marketing team contains competent people according to needs.
What are the four main roles of marketing?
The role of marketing is not just to promote and sell as many products as possible. But it’s wider. Selling is the end result, but to do so successfully, this department must identify customer needs and then satisfy them through a tailored marketing mix. Then, for products to continue to sell and money to flow into the company, the team must maintain customer loyalty and build strong relationships with them.
Long story short, the marketing department has the following four strategic roles:
- Identifying consumer needs
- Satisfying customer needs
- Maintaining customer loyalty
- Building customer relationships
Identifying consumer needs
The marketing team finds out about what consumers need and want. It is not only related to the product and its technical aspects like the design or other features. But it’s wider. For example, the marketing team learns about consumers’ ability and willingness to pay. Then, they mapped out where and how consumers typically buy.
In general, identifying customer needs aims to:
- Ensuring products stay focused on customer needs.
- Identifying consumers’ explicit and implicit needs and finding opportunities for new products.
Satisfying customer needs
Customer satisfaction is about how well the company meets customer expectations. Customers are satisfied, at least if the company can meet their expectations. It doesn’t just talk about the product but also other aspects, such as the customer experience while using and interacting with the company’s salespeople.
Satisfied customers are important to maximize sales. When customers are satisfied, they buy. And after some time, they buy again. As a result, customer satisfaction will flow to the company on an ongoing basis.
Another reason why it is important to make sure customers are satisfied is to maintain market share. Improving reputation and retaining customers is another reason. Strong relationships with customers are also built when they are satisfied.
How does the company satisfy customer needs?
Identifying customer needs is the first stage. It becomes input when the marketing team designs the marketing mix and answers the questions below:
- What kind of product should be sold? What features are customers interested in?
- What price should be charged for each customer?
- How do we effectively promote products and attract consumers to buy?
- How to make sure products are available when customers need them?
Companies can meet customer needs by answering the questions above. Thus, they get the product they want, at the right place, at the right time, and at the right price.
But, answering the questions above is not enough because the company has to compete with competitors. The marketing team must identify opportunities where the company can more effectively meet customer needs than competitors. For example, it might be related to after-sales service, product features, pricing, or even salesperson skills when interacting with customers. Finally, the marketing team came up with a unique selling proposition that satisfies the customer and performs better than the competition.
Maintaining customer loyalty
Satisfying customer needs is the first step. And encouraging their loyalty is the next step.
Customer loyalty is about how the customer and company are emotionally attached to its products. It then manifests in how willing customers are to repeatedly buy and engage more deeply.
Loyal customers are important to the company as it leads to more profits. Companies can continue to sell products even when they cannot acquire new customers. For example, when the industry is mature, it is difficult for companies to find new customers in the existing market. They survive in the industry, relying solely on repeat purchases from existing customers.
In addition, repeat purchases are cheaper than acquiring new customers. For example, it does not require intensive promotion to encourage potential customers to buy.
So, how does the company encourage existing customers to be loyal? Conceptually, it is easy, i.e., by always giving the best to the customer. Companies consistently offer a unique selling proposition. This requires companies to continuously adapt to competitive and customer needs changes. Thus, the unique selling proposition remains relevant over time.
Building customer relationships
Building strong relationships is vital to driving their satisfaction and loyalty. This effort is not only done after the customer buys, is satisfied, and repurchases. But, it lasted since they were aware of the company’s offerings. For example, impressions and relationships are created when potential customers interact with salespeople. But, it may last a short time because they don’t like it and choose a competitor’s product.
Meanwhile, when the first interaction produces a positive impression, it leads to interest and desire to buy. Say a potential customer then decides to buy. Once satisfied with the purchase, they may repurchase it later.
During the above process, relationships with customers are built. And the emotional bond gets stronger when customers continue to buy and engage even more deeply, for example, by promoting products to colleagues or other people through social media.
To maintain a strong relationship in the long term, the marketing team conducts research to understand why customers are willing to continue to buy the product, including considering existing competitors’ products. In addition, they seek information about what marketing mix needs to be improved to make it relevant to customer needs. This research will make marketing more effective in retaining customers.
In addition to existing products, research is important to anticipate changing customer needs. The marketing team identifies new trends in customer demand or gaps in the market. Thus, the company can produce new products to meet other needs of customers which are not currently available.
Eventually, by continually satisfying needs, strong emotional bonds are built. And in this phase, customers and the company need each other. So, customers feel something is missing when they don’t buy products from the same company.
What to read next
- How is the Marketing Department Structure Organized?
- Marketing: Meaning, Function, Philosophy
- Marketing department: Functions and Responsibilities
- The Four Major Marketing Roles: What Are They?