Marketing is imperative to your business’s success, but it entails more than advertising your product or service. You’ll find seven functions of marketing that inform your team’s operations: marketing information management, financing, product and service management, pricing, promotion, selling, and distribution.
This post will explore these functions and provide actionable resources to help you build a robust marketing strategy.
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What are the functions of marketing?
The seven functions of marketing are marketing information management, financing, product and service management, pricing, promotion, selling, and distribution. To help your business grow, you need each area to come together and build a productive marketing approach.
Why do you need to understand all 7 marketing functions?
You might be wondering why you need to understand each of the functions of marketing. You might also be trying to understand how they all tie back to marketing — aren’t other teams responsible for some of them?
For functional marketing that achieves success, all teams must work together. Each marketing function informs the next, and success requires a holistic view. For instance, your marketing communications impact your sales team’s success, and your distribution strategy affects whether your promotions drive real results.
As we explore each marketing function, you’ll see how they all work together to add depth to your marketing strategy.
7 functions of marketing
Ready to dive deeper into the functions of marketing and how you can implement them into your strategy? Keep reading for an overview of each!
1. Marketing information management
- Determining your target market: To succeed, you must target your strategies to a specific customer group that aligns with your offering and goals.
- Understanding your target market: Once you’ve determined your target market, you’ll need to thoroughly understand their wants, needs, and goals to craft a marketing strategy that resonates with them.
- Conducting a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis: You’ll need to understand your business’s strengths and weaknesses and your external You should also gather information about regulations that could affect your business and cultural trends.
- Analyzing your competitors: Another aspect of your SWOT analysis that requires careful consideration is your competitive landscape. Know what your competitors do well and not so well, so you can respond strategically and set yourself apart.
You can collect this information through:
- Social media
- Customer reviews of your product and competitors’ products
- Internal data, such as website traffic reports
- Competitive research tools
- Your sales team, who has direct communication with your customers
I’m focusing on marketing information management first because your data will inform all other functions of marketing, from pricing to promotion and distribution.
Because of the all-encompassing importance of your marketing information, you’ll need a method for organizing, analyzing, and communicating your findings across teams. Fortunately, you have access to many online tools that can help, such as Tableau and Zoho.
Further resources for marketing information management
- 4 Cost-Effective Ways to Do Market Research Online
- 16 Market Research Tools
- How to Successfully Perform an Online Competitor Analysis
- The Best Free Online Survey Tools
- 7 Social Media Monitoring Tools
- 7 Best Social Listening Tools
All business endeavors must secure financing to operate. While your company needs funds to get off the ground, you and your marketing team will also need continual funding to support your marketing strategies.
The data you collected in the marketing information management stage will help you secure these funds. You should also look at data from past campaigns, particularly the metrics that tie into your overall business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
You’ll want to communicate the value your marketing efforts have created for the company. Focus on the most relevant metrics and how they impacted your bottom line. If you can show that your marketing campaigns brought a high return on investment (ROI), you’ll likely have an easier time securing financing.
Further resources for securing financing
- How to Plan a Marketing Budget
- The Cost of Marketing
- How to Manage a Marketing Budget
- Marketing Budget Calculator
- How to Measure Digital Marketing ROI
3. Product and service management
Your product or service stands at the center of all marketing strategies. After all, you need an excellent product for your marketing efforts to mean anything.
While research and development teams might be responsible for creating new products, this stage is a vital marketing function, too.
As a marketing leader, you should work closely with your research and development team to ensure your business creates an offering that will resonate with your target audience — and continue learning from your target audience post-launch.
Remember that data you collected in the marketing information management stage? Communicate your findings to the development team. They’ll need to know your target audience’s pain points and your company’s competitive landscape to create a stand-out offering.
You can also conduct marketing research pre-launch to ensure your offering resonates the way you intend. Post-launch, continue collecting information from customer interactions and use it to inform future product updates and releases.
The collaboration works in reverse, too — you’ll need a thorough understanding of your offering’s features so you can translate them into benefits that will matter to your audience. These benefits will form the foundation for all marketing communications you employ.
Further resources for product and service management
- How to Write Convincing Unique Selling Propositions
- 9 Value Proposition Examples
- How to Optimize for the Product Life Cycle
- How to Write Product Descriptions
Pricing is one of the most critical functions of marketing because the price you set determines your audience’s willingness to buy. However, setting your price is a complex process influenced by psychology and customer perceptions.
For instance, designer purse brands can price their products much higher than generic brands.
Why can two brands employ such different prices? Because of branding and how customers perceive the designer labels.
To understand that price differential, you must consider the value of your offering and the factors that influence worth, such as:
- Product quality
- Product benefits
- Post-purchase support
- Cause-driven business decisions
- Branding that resonates
- Brand community
- Customer experience
When you consider those factors, you can see some reasons why higher-end brands carry more substantial price tags. For instance, those brands might have a cause-driven business model focused on sustainability or offer an elite brand community.
On the flip side, some brands might opt for a lower price to appeal to more price-conscious consumers. The price you set depends on your market, business goals, marketing approach, and target audience. When selecting your price, consider:
- Your competitive landscape
- The cost of production
- The value your offering brings
- Your branding
The other marketing functions will all impact your pricing strategy. For example, your product’s benefits and quality affect its value. Distribution influences convenience or exclusivity. Meanwhile, promotions and sales help establish branding.
Further resources for determining your price
Promotion is the function of marketing most people probably think of first. After all, a large part of marketing involves getting your offering seen by your target audience and communicating its value to them.
The promotion stage involves all communications you use to help your target audience discover and learn more about your offering. Promotional strategies include:
- Setting up a website
- Optimizing your website for search engines (SEO)
- Running advertising campaigns
- Communicating on social media
- Publishing relevant content
- Partnering with influencers
- Generating word-of-mouth
- Hosting events
Most businesses will use a mix of communication channels to generate the most effective results. Your chosen platforms should align with your marketing goals, budget, competitive landscape, and target audience.
Pro tip: A robust promotional strategy will encourage two-way communication and build relationships with your audience. After all, brand-customer relationships foster loyalty, and customers sticking around will prove beneficial for your business.
Further resources for developing a promotional strategy
- 5 Fundamental Steps to Deploying a Website
- Learn DIY SEO
- Promoting Your Content
- Ecommerce Promotion Ideas
- How to Use YouTube for Marketing
- 5 Ad Marketing Tips
Once you’ve communicated your offering’s value, you need to close the sale. While your sales team might ultimately accomplish this goal, selling remains a critical marketing function.
Your marketing strategy should communicate with customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey, nurturing them down the funnel towards a sale. You can do so by using a robust mix of communication channels and targeting your content to each stage.
For instance, you could publish blog posts that generate awareness and encourage buyers to sign up for an email list.
Then, you can send emails that provide more in-depth information and guide your audience into the consideration stage.
You could point them to webinars or product guides to continue leading them into the decision stage, where they’ll ultimately decide whether to purchase your product.
Further resources for making sales
- How the Buyer’s Journey Affects Your Content Marketing
- How to Create Emails for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
- 7 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing
- What is Conversion Marketing?
- 25 Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate
Now that you’ve created an effective product, communications strategy, and sales funnel, you need to get your offering to the buyers. Your distribution strategy consists of where you sell your product and deliver it to your customers. Distribution channels might include:
- Ecommerce stores
- In-person stores
- Warehouses and transportation to stores
- Shipping methods
Distribution matters to marketing because it fulfills the purpose of your communications. You’ve worked hard to get people to buy your product, and now you need to deliver.
Additionally, the marketing information you collect informs your distribution strategy. Both must work together for the most effective results.
Further resources for optimizing distribution
- Ecommerce vs. Retail: Should I Expand My Business Online?
- 6 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses
- Social Media Ecommerce
Learn how digital strategies will inform all functions of marketing
Now that you’ve learned about the functions of marketing, are you ready to put them into practice? Digital marketing empowers you to collect information about your target audience, conduct competitive research, and communicate your offering to potential buyers.
Check out our library of free guides to learn about topics like:
These digital strategies will complement and integrate all seven marketing functions, making your approach more robust and tech-driven. Browse the guides today, and learn how digital marketing will positively impact your business!
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