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Marketing Functional Areas
The finance department controls budgets, looks after the account books and tax reports. They are also responsible for forecasting, cash flow chats and handling other financial data. It also deals with dividends and allocating wages and salaries to the company’s staff. They support the marketing department by giving them a budget to them, depending on size and requirement of the marketing department more or less capital may be required. For example if a company needed a lot of capital for the development of the product, it would be the finance’s department to either allocate it or not. Finance departments can also report back on financial trends when it comes to setting the price of the product/service. If there is a recession going on people would be less likely to pay premium price for a product, the finance department could feedback this information to the marketing department, which would influence choices in the design of the product. For example it may mean not adding the extra 50 GB storage which adds another £40 to the price to the price of an mp3 player. Support of the marketing department is crucial in order for a product to be successful when it comes to launch, priced to high for the current financial situation and the product launch could fail. Also the finance department makes sure that, the marketing department does not go over budget and gives the marketing department guidelines to work within. Finance departments also inform managers of the current financial situation of the firm, allow managers to make informed judgements and co-ordinate around the figures. The finance department gives strategic financial support for future ventures and day to day financial operations of the firm. When the Nintendo Wii was released a lot of capital was diverted to the promotion of it, this was a direct result of cohesion between the marketing and finance department. The finance department allocated a big budget or accepted a big budget proposal for the marketing department to be able to promote the Wii effectively. The finance department also dictates how much can be spent on packing; they may decide that having recycled cardboard would cost too much and wouldn’t be cost effective. I think that the finance department is one of the most crucial parts of a business; for the effective running of business there needs to be some sort of financial department. Without a finance department the company will be blissfully unaware of their financial situation, which could lead to bad decision making and costly retributions. If a firm turns a blind eye to their finances they almost defiantly loose there completive edge, resources may be invested the wrong areas of the business while the crucial places needing funding, go neglected. Although a smaller business could potentially go without a marketing department, the same jobs would need to be completed by an individual or a group, such as in a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Customer Service departments are there as a link between the business and their customers, before and after a purchase. This department allows firms to keep in touch with customers, gaining valuable feedback from them, responding to any concerns/questions and addressing any issues that arise in response to purchase of the product/service. Acting as sort of a barrier, the customer services allows managers and business owners, to receive feedback from customers without them having to physically having to email them all which would consume a lot of time in large business. In smaller companies this role may have to be taken by the manager or business owners to save money, this leads to a personal service where the people in charge get a direct response from their clients and can then make the appropriate change. A larger firm would have the customer service department report to the mangers or business owners for them to implement change among the business. A good customer service department can lead to repeat sales and brand loyalty, keeping customers happy increases the likelihood of them returning. Poor customer service can have the opposite effect having a negative effect on the brand image and damaging reputations. In the current markets we have, where competition is stiff a successful customer service department gives a company an extra edge. Markets are very much consumer driven, no longer can people get away with shoddy customer service as consumers can simply go to their competitors. Under cutting your competitors is useless if you have a reputation of shoddy customer service no one will buy from you, some may actively seek to contribute to your demise. - “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.” The customer’s demands can be used to implement change and aid the marketing department. If for example customers were complaining that they don’t like something on the product, or in the service. The feedback from customers will be passed on to the marketing department who then can make active changes, for future products or for the next product update. It is in the company’s interest to fix any prevailing problems, as they could face lawsuits if there product is not suitable for use, costing them time and money. If a problem arrives early on in the product life cycle and customer services feedback to the marketing department it can be fixed, saving sales, pulling the defective units and keeping customer loyalty. This famously happened with the Xbox 360, Microsoft having to pick up the tab when the consol overheated; fortunately for Microsoft they had a strong brand image, customer loyalty and customer service package. So sales remained strong, it’s only recently that they have released the new jasper based Xbox 360 processor which is a new improved Xbox360 with a new processor, fixing the overheating problem. This new release will encourage more customers to buy an Xbox360. The situation is a direct example of where the customer service department has influenced the marketing department who have then created a new improved product. Effective communication needs to be maintained between the customer service department and marketing, in order for products and services to stay ahead of competition. I think that the customer service department is not essential but can allow larger businesses to gain a competitive edge. It allows businesses to see if their product/service met the customer’s needs, keeping them happy.
The production department is responsible for taking inputs and producing outputs, these inputs are factors of production such as labour, capital and enterprise and creating outputs such as a toy or mp3 player. Raw materials will be acquired to create the product/service, while the production department is more important in a firm producing a product. A firm producing a service could also benefit from having a production department; they would be in charge of allocating resources and making sure it is used to meet customer’s needs. Supporting the marketing department, the production department decides factors such as the quality and quantity of products being produced. Unless the type of material is specified for a particular use in a product, the production department can find new materials that are cheaper such as a cheaper plastic. This could cut prices down, leaving the marketing department to decide the price of the new product with the cheaper plastic, giving them more power to implement and exercise pricing strategies. In addition the production department chooses how best the product should be produced, such as job, batch or flow production. Efficiency is the responsibility of the production department, they feedback to the marketing department where savings can be made. The production department makes the marketing aware of new technologies, new machines and other factors that could affect the marketing department and the business as a whole. A good example of this is the new twisted Cadburys crème egg bars, where the production department has a machine able to create twisted crème egg bars and the marketing department then can go out and market this new product. As a spin-off of the crème egg, they can now produce Cadburys year round; this might upset some traditionalist crème egg fans so it was the marketing department to make the break in tradition acceptable. They did this with a clever ad campaign, marketing the twisted crème egg bar as an evil offspring of the beloved crème egg, launching it under the crème egg brand with a humorous story made it more attractive, while keeping the allure for the original crème egg which comes round ever Easter. I think the production department holds more relevance in a product based firm but still has relevance in a service providing firm. To create a strong business, there needs to be a strong production team involved, saving costs and increasing production and technological capabilities, in order to generate more revenue and keep the company innovative.
Research and Development
The research and development department is solely concerned with finding new ways to make products/services, improving existing products/ services. They look into market trends, social situation, economic situation and political environment. Moving forward in the market, is crucial as a business needs to be innovative, this is why some businesses have whole research and development departments where as the marketing department usually would encompass research and development, this is also an indicator of an rapidly increasing competitive market where everyone needs to be ahead of the game. Research and development departments also operate before hand and assist in the planning of the business, product or service. The background research allows the business to be smarter in the choices it makes in relation to everything else. If for example the new ‘cool’ word on the street was ‘bizznizz’, and the products target market was teenagers who affiliated with slang and street culture, the research and development would feed this back to the marketing department. Using this intelligence the marketing department may come up with an advert using this buzz word, ‘Yo our soft drink is the bizznizz!’ This is just one example but it could be related to a different market replacing the slang with jargon. For example if your target audience was computer savvy you may want to mention the ‘processor speed’ or ‘clock speed’, where as if your target market are computer novices you may want to say ‘With accelerated speeds, to deliver your content instantly on demand’ An example of a company with a successful research and development department would be the market leaders in the technological field, Apple and Sony, both are prime examples as there products are constantly improved allowing them to stay innovative and on top. The Ipod is constantly being improved, from smaller sizes, to bigger capacity all the way to bigger capacity and smaller sizes. Likewise Sony’s Playstation has shown research and development by bringing out, new consoles with improved graphics and speed, retaining their market dominance in the seventh generation of video games. The Wii consol is a prime example of successful research, they identified gaming was becoming more main stream, so make a consol for the whole family, the wii is now the leading consol in home entertainment, overtaking it’s competitors the PS3 and Xbox360. Attracting non-gamers and casual gamers as well as hardcore gamers with a new interactive system, the research department found wii players enjoyed sports games, so brought out wii fit, another example of Nintendo’s strategic research and development. I think that the research and development department is necessary, in today’s modern competitive global business environment. In order to stay in the forefront of the market new technology needs to be delivered to meet customer’s needs, for faster, better and more efficient products and services. Imagine if you will, if Apple scrapped research and development, they would most certainly be over taken by their competitors brining out newer and better technology to meet customers need. It is for this reason I believe a firm needs a strong research and development department, especially in the technology market.
Quality Assurance Department
Quality assurance departments ensure customers don’t get faulty goods by checking the quality before the product is mass produced and released. This allows the company to remove any element of bad press that could be gained as a result of a dodgy product release, or poor quality service. Allowing the company to be confident before resale, that their product will meet customer’s needs and their brand image won’t be damaged. Stress testing is usually a part of quality control it is designed to cover any liabilities, In a business for example a quality assurance department do tests on a product they can provide evidence is anyone tries to sue them. Let’s say someone drops there new iPhone off a skyscraper, claims to apple that their new iPhone dropped out of there pocket and got damaged that way. Then the quality assurance department can provide evidence that, the amount of damaged sustained would of not happened if the phone had simply fell out from there pocket, due to their own tests. Saving apple time and money replacing phones which have been mistreated, this also allows them to put disclaimers and warnings onto their products. To make sure apple did not ship any faulty iPhones which had been damaged in transit or in production by moisture, they included a water sensor and could easily identify if the batch had been damaged by moisture or water. The quality assurance department can help the marketing department, improve designs to meet customer needs and fix any prevailing problems before the product/service is released to the public. It allows the marketing department make corrective action to the design of the product before it is too late; making sure it meets the purpose of the product and design brief. As a personal experience of a lack of quality assurance in a company, I eat Muller light yoghurts for lunch and whenever I open the lids of these yoghurts they spray the yoghurt on the lid everywhere. I’m pretty sure if there was a quality controller in the company, getting yoghurt thrown on his clothes repeatedly from opening the lids of Muller light, he would feedback this information to marketing department who would change the design. Perhaps make the aluminium lids come off the yoghurts easier, without a quality assurance department you can expect customer services to deal with a lot of complaints. I think a quality assurance department is a good idea as it allows the company to audit their product/service constantly, bad press is costly and it may take a lot of time for trust to be rebuilt. To maintain good public relations a quality assurance department can create a beneficial checkpoint in the design of a product/service. Without it companies could be releasing tat and would only find out when the customer service department gets swamped with complaints.
The human resources department is in charge of the overall well being of employees dealing with pay, training and addressing any issues they have. Equality within a firm has to be maintained my human resources, making sure equal opportunity is given for everyone to develop and gain promotions within the business. They take the responsibility for interviewing someone for a promotion, maintaining health and safety and training, improving over all motivation. If someone was feeling bullied in the work place, they could go speak in confidence to the human resources department. Human resources can assist the marketing department by filling any vacancies in the marketing department. They can either recruit externally or find someone in the company who is already trained and qualified to fill the post. If a large proportion of people in the marketing department were complaining of feeling stressed by pressure placed on them, they could let the human resources department know. This may result in there managers re-releasing goals and re-thinking plans. This would achieve over all happier motivated employees and reducing stress; this could reduce the amount of sick days taken off, saving capital. Google has portrayed its company as fun, creative and relaxed through a video made for human resource’s recruiting. It demonstrates to potential employees that the human resource department at Google cares about their well being, giving them information on ‘tech talks’ Where Google members are given up to date training in current engineering problems. The free snacks that they receive and other employee perks designed to keep Google employees happy and motivated. I would say this is a result of a strong human resource department, in the video Google demonstrates its equal opportunities. Where mothers have child care centres at the Google headquarters so that their children can be well looked after, close to where they work. I think a human resource department is an important department to fulfil, it is essential in a larger firm defiantly; where you need everyone to be content and motivated, increasing productivity. Certainly you would need a human resources department to handle health and safety and recruit, train and develop new and existing staff.
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