An ongoing strong debate within the marketing discipline concerns the role of marketing within the firm. It has been frequently reported that the marketing function is in a deep decline. Marketing executives and academics alike are interested in the antecedents of this decline and potential performance consequences of this decline. Recent academic research have started investigations on this important topic. Using studies in single countries innovativeness and accountability of the marketing department has been reported as major antecedents of the influence of the marketing department within the organization. Academic research, however, does not provide convincing evidence for a direct link between this influence and business performance. Instead it shows that market orientation is a crucial intervening variable, as marketing department influence is positively related market orientation, which subsequently positively related to business performance. As noted prior research, however, studies firms in single countries. In this article we execute a cross-national study on the antecedents and performance consequences of marketing department influence in order to derive initial empirical generalizations. This study is executed in seven Western-oriented countries, including USA, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Israel and Australia. The study heavily builds on the framework developed in the 2009 Journal of Marketing article of Verhoef and Leeflang. This framework is tested per country and subsequently meta-analytic tests are used to derive initial empirical generalizations. An important empirical generalization is that innovativeness, the customer-connecting capabilities, and accountability of the marketing department are positively related to marketing department influence. Interestingly, a second initial generalization is that creativity of the marketing negative induces less influence. Our results also show a third empirical generalization in that firms having a CEO with a marketing background tend to have more influential marketing departments. Confirming prior research a fourth initial empirical generalization is that MD influence measures and market orientation are positively related. Market orientation is subsequently positively related to business performance. Our most important generalization is, however, that MD influence is positively related to business performance. Hence, beyond striving to become market oriented, firms should also aim to have strong marketing departments. These departments can create a stronger focus on the customer and can also coordinate marketing efforts. In order to become more influential marketing departments should: (1) acquire innovative capabilities, (2) be more connected to customers, (3) invest in accountability, and (4) be careful with be careful being too creative.
Verboef, P. C., Leeflang, P. S. H., Reiner, J., Natter, M., Baker, W., Grinstein, A., Gustafsson, A., Morrison, P., & Saunders, J. (2011). A cross-national investigation into the marketing department's influence within the firm: toward initial empirical generalizations. Journal of International Marketing, 19(3), 59-86. https://doi.org/10.1509/jimk.19.3.59