Is Your Marketing Department Dead?

I’ve worked in marketing for over a decade and in that decade, I watched the Marketing Department fly across the sky in a blazing ball of glory and flame out.

Welcome to Technology Marketing 3.0!

I know every marketer hates to hear this, including me, but - is the marketing department dead?

When I say “dead,” I mean has it become bulky, not effective, time consuming, and most of all costly to most (if not all) organizations across the spectrum of industries.

Hiring, training, and paying for an array of marketing tactics is incredibly costly no matter which way you look at it. It’s the reason why the marketing department is likely one of the first places to get reduced budgets when things go awry, or profits are low.

The Harvard Business Review recently wrote about R&D spending surpassing Advertising costs and it’s decline over time.

The MIT Sloan Management Review wrote about the decline and dispersion of marketing competence years ago.

When I say “dead,” I mean has it become bulky, not effective, time consuming, and most of all costly

As a previous corporate marketer myself, there were many times during my work experience where I felt that my time/skills could be used better elsewhere. There are simply going to be times of intense output (i.e. product launches, campaigns, etc.) and times of low output (i.e. budgets are low, internal discourse or indecision, nothing new going on at the company).

As an employee, you’re getting paid either way.

As an employer, there are people to pay even though they may not be producing a lot of work at any given moment.

Unlike other departments like Sales, Customer Support, Engineering, and Operations - Marketing is quickly going down the route that IT services has… outsourced.

Here are some reasons why your marketing department may be dying - or worse - operating as a zombie.

Innovation in Technology

Rapid growth in marketing technology tools has made it difficult for any marketing professional to be knowledgeable in such a wide array of complex tools. Furthermore, the cost to subscribe, implement, and learn a multitude of platforms is overwhelming and costly.

Marketing professionals must be strategic and creative, big picture thinking and able to execute on tasks, make sales and dazzle clients, and a plethora of other skills.

Nowadays, marketing professionals must be strategic and creative, big picture thinking and able to execute on tasks, make sales and dazzle clients, and a plethora of other skills. This doesn’t include software knowledge of running a Content Relationship Management Software, Content Management Software, Social Media Tools, Analytics and Tracking Tools, Publishing blogs, Managing Ad Campaigns, and the list goes on and on and on.

Did you see how quickly this can spiral out of control?

As a business owner, it’s important to realize that innovation in technology has greatly improved but made some roles moot.

Cost Benefits

The average salary for a Director of Marketing in the United States is $115,000.00 per year. If your Director of Marketing is there for strategy only (and cannot complete the tasks themselves) then you have to hire a Marketing Manager with an average salary of $80,000.00.

What about email? Well your Marketing Manager can write and manage, but she can’t design. So now you hire a Graphic Designer to create all your web banner ads, social media posts, and edit your presentations and e-books. The Graphic Designer’s average salary is $43,000.00 per year.

Many CEO’s distrust Marketing and want to see ROI. The cost-benefit of having an internal team isn’t easily justified.

With only three people on your team, this is already costing you $353,000.00 per year, not including required federal/state, healthcare, and PTO costs.

Now that you have your team, you can set aside another budget for marketing expenses like software subscriptions, printing collateral, trade shows, advertisements, etc.

It’s easy to see why many CEO’s distrust Marketing and want to see ROI. The cost-benefit of having an internal team isn’t easily justified.

Alternative Marketing Solutions

There has always been a swaying of a pendulum when it comes to marketing.

You either hire within or outsource to a marketing agency.

What a lot of businesses get wrong about outsourcing is that it is important to find an agency that knows your target markets, understands their needs, and can help you build an effective strategy.

Ultimately, you are still the driving force for the agency.

You cannot depend on an outside agency to build your entire marketing plan and push the responsibility of growing your sales on them alone. Even beyond this, many companies look towards outsourcing to curb the high cost of hiring, training, and retaining an entire department - thus continuing the fall of the marketing department.


How is your marketing department?