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Marketing Department: Definition, Roles, Benefits, & Structure

Published July 6, 2023
/ Updated August 29, 2023

A marketing department is not a nice-to-have. They are a must-have for most companies today.

Since 2007, we’ve seen 25% more small businesses spring up in just the U.S. Globally, SaaS businesses have gone from 15,529 in 2020 to over 30,000 in 2023.

These stats suggest that competition across various industries is likely on the uptick. To win customers in this business atmosphere, one effective approach is creating a marketing department with skilled experts.

A marketing department can help you differentiate your business, attract and retain customers, and grow your revenue.

In this post, you’ll learn everything about the marketing department. From its roles and benefits to its structure, we’ll cover it all.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Marketing Department?

Marketing Department

A marketing department is the arm of a business that promotes the company’s brand, products, and services.

They achieve this by strategizing, planning, executing, monitoring, optimizing, and reporting on all marketing activities within a company.

What Is A Marketing Team?

Marketing Team

A marketing team is a group of persons (or person) who work together to achieve the goals outlined in their marketing strategy.

This team can be a single generalist marketer who’s capable of creating and executing a strategy. It can also be a team of specialists with expertise in SEO, social media, design, video, email marketing, etc.

What Does A Marketing Department Do?

A marketing department creates strategies for selling its company’s products. They also ensure people have an excellent perception of their company.

Here are some ways they do this:

This non-exhaustive list shows the many tasks marketing departments must keep up with.

Benefits Of A Marketing Department

A marketing department can increase brand awareness, help with customer retention, and provide you with a competitive advantage. Let’s explore these in detail:

Increase Brand Awareness

Marketing departments are great at making unpopular brands popular. They do this with tactics like:

They also develop content marketing strategies to help you get free traffic and generate revenue from search engines. For instance, as of March 2021, the CoSchedule marketing department got 6.6M clicks from Google in 16 months.

Google analytics over a 16 month span.

Read more on Content Strategy.

Not only do these clicks get us customers and drive revenue, but they also improve our brand recognition and help prospects recall CoSchedule when they want products like our Marketing Suite, Marketing Calendar, and Headline Studio.

Customer Retention

Marketing isn’t just about acquiring new customers; it’s also about retaining existing ones. To do this, marketing departments develop effective customer retention strategies.

For example, when customers sign up for a SaaS product, they often ask questions about how to use it. Once they do, they want fast and accurate responses. To ensure they don’t repeatedly bog down your customer support team, the product team of your marketing department can create support documentation.

This documentation can include tutorials, user manuals, FAQs, or how-to guides.

By providing helpful documentation, your marketing team reduces support requests and prevents churn due to unanswered customer questions or delayed responses.

Ccompetitive Advantage

Amidst popular competitors, a brilliant marketing department can help you edge industry players and increase revenue.

An excellent example is Mailchimp. When Mailchimp came into the email marketing industry, better-funded companies — e.g. Constant Contact, which raised $107 million in its IPO in October 2007 — were already dominating the landscape.

That didn’t make Mailchimp cave in. Instead, their marketing team went all-in to understand their customers, figure out ways to build a lovable brand, and used the freemium pricing model to attract new users.

Marketing Department Structure

How you structure your marketing department comes down to your resources. If you generate a high annual recurring revenue, you can hire many specialists for one team, and do the same for other teams in your marketing department. However, this is unrealistic if you have little resources.

Generally, a typical marketing department structure may look like this (based on a company’s size):

Small Business Marketing Department Structure

This structure works for a one-person marketing team. Usually, the lead marketer is a generalist who knows a little about everything, but is a specialist in a couple of disciplines.

Small marketing team structure.

Mid-sized Marketing Department Structure

This marketing department structure is great for companies having 101 to 1,000 employees. In this structure, each team consists of specialists who have expertise in a particular field.

Mid-sized marketing team structure.

Enterprise Marketing Department Structure

Enterprise companies containing 1000+ employees can further build on the mid-level structure by having team leads who head a group of specialists. This makes reporting easier to handle.

Enterprise marketing team structure.

Marketing Department Roles

Like the marketing department structure, the roles in a marketing department will depend on the resources and stage of the business. For instance, an early-stage startup can have a one-person marketing team, while an enterprise company can have a marketing department with several dozen marketers.

Here are examples of marketing department roles:

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The CMO is the overall head of the marketing department. As the marketing leader, the CMO finds the right marketing team leads, manages budgets, sets objectives and KPIs, creates long-term and short-term marketing goals, and develops comprehensive marketing plans for all channels, including digital, email, social media, and print.

CMOs can also have a Vice President of Marketing, Director of Marketing, or Head of Marketing who execute the marketing strategy.

Marketing Manager

If a marketing manager works in a company where they report to a CMO or a Director of Marketing, their role may include creating plans for executing the strategy of their higher ups.

Marketing managers also collaborate with team members like SEOs, designers, video editors, and more. Plus, they perform digital marketing tasks like content writing for the company’s ad channels, website, social media, and newsletter.

Marketing Specialist

Companies can hire marketing specialists to take the reins on specific marketing tasks.

For example, content marketing specialists work on content-focused tasks, social media marketing specialists handle all things social, SEO specialists optimize websites to rank high on search engines, and email marketing specialists create campaigns to nurture leads and drive conversions.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers support marketing campaigns by creating images for both content assets and brand promotion. These designs include social media graphics, infographics, illustrations, brochure designs, posters, presentations, video thumbnails, event signage, and more.

Tech Expert

Tech experts are great for companies that developed a mobile app, hand-coded their website, or need help with system integration and data analysis.

Besides fixing bugs and managing content management systems, these specialists can integrate different software systems to ensure accurate data transfer in real time. They can also use data analysis tools to extract insights from large datasets, which help the marketing department to make informed campaign decisions.

Video & Podcast Producer

Good blog content is slowly dying as a brand differentiator. Companies can mass produce them with AI and flood search engines with low-level content. But don’t fret. Video or podcast producers can help differentiate your brand by providing valuable video content.

Marketing Project Manager

Marketing project managers are vital for mid-level and enterprise companies. These managers oversee marketing projects from ideation to completion. Some of their responsibilities include delegating tasks to team members, doing stand-ups, and ensuring marketing projects are completed on time and within budget.

Marketing Department Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a marketing department depend on the company’s size, resources, and immediate needs. Here are some high-level responsibilities marketing departments undertake:

Create a Marketing Strategy

The head of a marketing department leads the creation of a marketing strategy.

This collaborative effort requires the input of other senior marketers in a company. With a marketing strategy, team leads can understand the company’s goals and outline plans to bring the strategy to fruition.

Conduct Market Research

Marketers conduct in-house research or outsource to a third party to create and do what’s relevant to customers.

As Bernadette Jiwa says, “Whoever gets closer to the customer wins.”

Using different research techniques, marketers uncover what customers want and why they act in specific ways. This helps them to ditch assumptions and tailor their strategy and execution to customer needs.

Share Product Development Insights

Marketing teams often have many insights because they are close to customers, conduct research, and know the company’s competitors well.

These insights prove helpful to both engineers and designers who work to develop a valuable product for customers.

Support Sales Teams

The partnership between marketing and sales is the perfect union for revenue growth.

Marketers always want to know what prospects are thinking, their current challenges, how they speak, and more. Salespeople know this information because they interact with prospects who are ready to close. Sharing this info with the marketing department lets them create relevant content that helps the sales team to close deals. Win-win.

Plan & Organize Events

Marketing departments use events to promote their brand and generate leads from a warm audience. These events include pre-recorded or live webinars, live LinkedIn and Facebook events, and conferences.

Marketing Department Tools

Marketing departments use different tools to carry out their tasks daily. Below are some essential tools for a marketer’s tech stack:

SEO Tools

When you create content, it has to rank for people to see it. That’s where SEO tools come in.

Why You Need SEO Tools

    • 75% of users never scroll past the first page in searches.
    • 33% of clicks go to the search result in the first position on Google.
    • SEO leads have a close rate of 14.6%.

Source: HubSpot, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal

SEO Software You Need

  • Clearscope: AI-powered content optimization platform for blog posts.
  • Keyword Insights AI: Groups topically-related keywords for targeting on one page.
  • Ahrefs: Powerful all-in-one SEO tool for keyword research, competitive analysis, rank tracking, content audit, and link building.

Content Writing Tools

Marketers write a lot. To refine their content, they need content writing tools to provide headline suggestions, avoid plagiarism, and edit their work.

Why You Need A Content Writing Tool

  • To help you research and write unique, readable content.
  • To quickly catch any errors before you publish your content.
  • To ensure content is original and guard against plagiarism.

Content Writing Tools You Need

Design Tools

Quality visuals make content pleasing to read. Here are two design tools for your infographics, social media graphics, blog posts, etc.

Canva design tool home page.

Explore more on Canva.

Content Design Tools You Need

  • Canva: Includes lots of design templates for infographics, social media graphics, blog posts, flyers, brochures, and more. If you have a visual content idea, you can probably get it done in Canva.
  • Vectr: Great option for designing catchy vector graphics

Project Management Tools

A project management tool helps marketing department members track a project’s progress, flag blockers, streamline communication, and meet project timelines.

Project management tools like marketing calendar.

Check out more here.

Project Management Tool You Need

  • Coschedule Marketing Suite: CoSchedule Marketing Suite is a family of agile marketing products that help you coordinate your process, projects, and teams. Within the CoSchedule Marketing Suite is the CoSchedule Work Organizer, the only project management platform made for marketing teams.

Video Production Tools

If using Adobe Premiere scares you, then these video production tools are your best bet for creating videos you’d proudly publish.

Why You Need Video Production Tools

    • 33% of all online activity is watching video.
    • 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product.
    • 55% of people consume video content in its entirety.

Source: HubSpot

Video Production Tools You Need

  • Riverside: An excellent online video editor for recording podcasts and videos in studio quality. It also lets you edit videos by editing your transcripts.
  • Celtx: A free and excellent platform for writing scripts and building storyboards.

Content Marketing Analytics Tools

No one improves what they don’t measure. Using these analytic tools lets you know what works, amplify it, and figure out where you’re falling short.

Content marketing analytics tools.

Contentestate is a great analytics tool.

Content Marketing Analytics You Need

  • Google Analytics: Brilliant platform that collects data from your websites and apps to create detailed reports. There are many alternatives if you don’t prefer Google Analytics.
  • Google Search Console: A fantastic resource for uncovering insights about your website performance.

Marketing Department Relationships With Other Business Groups

Silos among different departments could cause friction among team members and hinder the meeting of company-wide goals.

In an ideal situation where cross-departmental collaboration is encouraged, the marketing department will synergize with some of these departments to execute its duties:

  • Product design: Marketers need to ensure their work aligns with the product design team sprint when coordinating with the product design team.
  • Sales: Collaborate with the sales department to know what marketing assets they need to close deals.
  • Finance: ​​Marketing requires funds to execute projects. To do this, marketers must coordinate with the finance team to prepare budgets.
  • Human resources: ​​If the marketing department is hiring, they need to get a few solid candidates and work with the HR team to find those who fit the company’s culture.

Want more resources for your marketing department? Check out the CoSchedule Marketing Hub.