Exclusive Features

Marketing Momentum: What Does Your Marketing Department Look Like?

Marketing Momentum: What Does Your Marketing Department Look Like?

By Katrina Olson

Whether marketing is a one-person department or a fully staffed team, they perform many functions. Do you have the staff, resources and skills they need to get the job done, and done well?

For example, if your marketing team is one or two people, they’re likely not working at their highest potential. Something is being neglected—usually strategic planning. So, they’re spending their days fighting fires, handling unnecessary requests, making flyers, distributing t-shirts, and coordinating activities that probably aren’t even in line with the company’s strategic goals.

Furthermore, they have no time to attend conferences (like NAED’s August AdVenture Marketing Conference) and keep up with best practices, or continue learning about the rapidly changing world of marketing.

For example:

  • Does your company have a content marketing strategy?
  • Have you considered marketing automation?
  • Do you have buyer personas and journey maps to identify where you’re missing sales opportunities?
  • Do you have a strategic marketing plan?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’re losing opportunities, sales and profits.

Ideally, an electrical manufacturer or distributor internal marketing department looks like this:

  1. Director/VP of Sales & Marketing: This person is the strategic thinker, planner and budgeter.
  2. Communications Manager: This day-to-day project manager oversees the implementation of marketing activities and supports the director or VP.  
  3. Communications Specialist: Usually a writer for advertising, brochures, the website, and social media, this is the go-to content generator for any type of marketing piece.
  4. Graphic Communications Specialist: Every department needs a graphic designer who may also serve as the website manager or webmaster and help with visuals for social media.
  5. Marketing Research Specialist: This person is skilled in secondary research, data collection and analysis, and social media analytics.


  1. Events Specialist: This person coordinates customer appreciation events, counter days, workshops, expos, or training events and may also be in charge of  vendor relations and/or public relations.

But even a fully staffed marketing department can’t do everything well. Some functions to consider outsourcing include:

  • Strategic marketing planning (if necessary)
  • Big research projects (e.g. surveys, focus groups)
  • Professional photography/videography
  • Content development/management
  • Printing, mailing, catering, marketing automation, other specialized services
  • Big production projects (website revamp, important printed pieces)

I’ve been a one-person department; I know how difficult that is. You’re expected to know how to do everything from web design and writing to planning and budgeting. And that’s not productive for you or the company.

What’s the moral of this story?

An effective marketing department requires time, resources and staffing. Failure to adequately staff or support the team sacrifices potential profits.

What can you do?
If you’re the marketing person, make a list of initiatives you’d like to launch and estimate their potential impact on the bottom line. In short, make a business case for expanding your resources.

If you’re the CEO or president, give your marketing department what it needs. Ask them what they would do with more time, money, staff and resources. Or, just ask what they’d like to learn more about. Then, give marketing what they need to be a profit-generator.


Want to learn more about this topic, and many other marketing challenges? Register to attend the upcoming NAED AdVenture Marketing Conference in Chicago on August 10-12. Visit naed.org/AdVenture to join us!

Olson is a marketing and public relations consultant, and principal of Katrina Olson Strategic Communications. She has written for tED magazine’s print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine’s Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and emceed the Best of the Best Awards ceremony for a total of seven years. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.comor via her website at katrinaolson.com.


Tagged with ,

Comment on the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *