The marketing department is in danger

It occurs to me that during the time the internet bubble bursted (2001/2002), there was also a crash in the marketing value in companies. Both phenomenas focus on increasing market share at the expense of the bottom line: spending money but have no proof if there will enough income in return on investments done. Recently I read an article mentioning that only 10 percent of executive meeting time is devoted to marketing (Ambler 2003, p.62). Clearly respect for marketing in organizations is declining.

Lately I received a direct mail from Tele2, offering me a far lower price for internet and phone usage. Next to that they offered me the service that they will close my subscription with my former internet provider. All for free of course. So there was customer value involved, they were cheaper and they would save me time. Just to check I called my former internet provider and they told me they were not informed that I would leave them and move to Tele2. Then I called Tele2. The person from customer service admitted that no such service existed for the internet/phone bundle I took. Well, why mentioning it on the direct mail then, I asked? Yep, also in this company marketing is used as a tool to feed customers with propaganda. It has lost its role to take care of customers and is only able to report on my rage afterwards. This is when my complaint appeared on

A left-brain approach
But what to do about it? To me marketing is in itself a strong business driver and should be looked at as an investment. Most organizations though perceive it as cost. This is quite logic. First of all most marketers nowadays are engaged in more tactical decisions as advertising, sales support and public relations. Second, they don’t follow a left-brain approach to their activities. According to prof. dr. Verhoef (customer based marketing) and prof. dr. Leeflang (marketing) the two major drivers to increase marketing influence and respect within the company is accountability and innovativeness. Marketing plans should include a financial section that features the planned financial consequences of their marketing actions. To increase the innovativeness of marketing departments, marketers might capitalize on their market and customer knowledge to develop successful new product and service concepts. They could build on new trends, such as customer codevelopment and customer solutions (Verhoef & Leeflang, 2009).

Source: Verhoef P.C. & Leeflang S.H., Understanding the Marketing Department’s Influence Within the Firm, Journal of Marketing Vol. 73 (March 2009), 14-37.


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