A cross-national investigation into the marketing department's influence within the firm

Peter C. Verhoef, Peter S.H. Leeflang, Martin Natter, William Baker, Amir Grinstein, Anders Gustafsson, Pamela Morrison, John Saunders

Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


Both marketing academics and practitioners are debating the diminished role of marketing as a separate function within firms. In this study, which expands on previous research on Dutch companies, the authors focus on how the marketing department’s capabilities relate to business performance across countries.
The authors collected data in seven Western countries—the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Israel. They surveyed top marketing and financial executives, CEOs, and other top employees of profit-based middle-sized and large firms.
Their findings show that accountability provides the most consistent predictor of influence, whereas the marketing department’s innovativeness and customer connection show less consistent results. Across the seven countries, the department’s integration with the finance department has a consistent but negative effect on the department’s perceived influence.
The influences of marketing departments clearly differ across countries. Perceived influence is substantially higher in the United States and Israel than in other countries, whereas top management respect for the marketing department is substantially higher in Israel than in any other country. The study also found that the marketing department is well represented on the boards of companies in Sweden, Israel, and the United States. In most countries, marketing tends not to be organized as a line function.
Some differences among countries emerge in the relationships between the marketing department’s influence and business performance. In Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia, influence relates positively to business performance, whereas in the Netherlands, it has no influence. The results for Sweden suggest a negative influence.
The authors conclude that a strong marketing department appears to benefit firms in most of the countries studied. The results imply that the marketing department should have input into boardroom considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameMSI reports
ISSN (Print)1545-5041


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