Is it time to fire the marketing department or should you fix it?

Larry Mulhern, Senior Market Analyst

In today’s social media world, people have begun to question the need for a marketing department. In the last few years, innovative businesses have grown from new ideas into viable organizations without focusing on traditional marketing techniques. Instead, they have relied on social media to spread the word about new products and services. Is it time now to fire the marketing department?

As we look at this question, let’s differentiate between marketing and sales because some people use these terms interchangeably. Marketing creates interest and builds brand awareness. Sales helps identify needs with potential customers, influences the purchase decision and closes the deal. For this discussion, we will focus on marketing.

One of the roles of traditional marketing is to create materials such as printed glossy brochures, advertising in newsprint, radio/TV ads, mail campaigns and telemarketing. In some industries this can expand to doing tradeshows, writing in-depth papers, creating case studies, etc.  The argument is this – with social media these traditional marketing vehicles may no longer be needed. However, before you abandon these old-school forms of communication, be sure to understand your target audience. Are they tech savvy millennials or senior citizens? If you want to reach certain demographics, you may need to retain some of these communications types to meet the needs of key people in your target market.

For many companies, social media is the ideal vehicle to reach out to both consumer and business customers. It can quickly access very large audiences at minimal cost. If the message can create the right buzz, it could go viral and gain you an incredible amount of attention.

Before you fire the marketing department and replace them with a part time social media person, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you need a cohesive message that represents the value your product/service brings to the market?

Do you need to differentiate your product/service from the competition?

Do you want to create a recognizable brand that your customers will value?

Do you need to ensure that all your communications adhere to a set of consistent messages and brands?

Do you foresee the need to use any traditional communications vehicles such as newsprint, telemarketing or TV/radio?

If the answer is yes to any one of these questions, then you need someone to assume the marketing role. But, this person will require dramatically different skills than traditional marketers needed just a few years ago.

Some companies are turning over marketing responsibilities to the sales department. This is a mistake because your sales reps are focused on securing orders and don’t have the skill set or the inclination to make marketing tasks a priority. Your sales reps have a role to play in connecting to customers through social media, but that role does not include directing marketing efforts. I will explore the role of sales and social media in a future blog.

Learn from what other people are doing with social media marketing. You may want to look at Top Social Media Influencers Marketers Need to Follow.  You can also review what the Top Ten Social Media Blogs are doing.  You don’t need to invent everything from scratch because many great ideas are readily accessible.

Don’t fire the marketing department, fix the problem by educating your marketing team in the basics of social media. Here are some suggestions that can help fix your marketing efforts:

  • Review your target customers to understand how and where social media could be used.
  • Hire a professional to evaluate your current use of social media.
  • Work with a consultant to educate the current marketing staff in social media use.
  • Train your entire organization in the use of social media. Remember that everything that an employee may post can reflect on your company both positively and negatively.

Porter Consulting has worked with large and small companies on social media campaigns. We can help you with all of the above services.

Contact us at to help you win with social media.

Larry Mulhern assists customers in business development through market research, sales programs, and coaching, with a focus on cloud computing and IoT.  You can find more blogs and content from Larry at  Porter Consulting is a marketing services consulting company who can you help you grow revenue.

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