What is Marketing?

Marketing can no longer be considered an activity relating to sales of products and services, commonly known as offerings. Marketing activity has evolved from just relating to a simple sales department to an effective marketing organisation where each department of the organisation is integrated and every one shares a dotted-line responsibility to all the functions of the company.

Marketing consists of four activities – creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging (transfer of ownership). Creating involves getting offerings created of customer’s choice which delivers value. Communicating refers to the promotion aspect as well as soliciting customer feedback. Communication is a two-way process hence it doesn’t ends at creating awareness about the offering in the market. It involves regular inputs from customers to revisit the marketing strategies and planning, and make changes as required. Delivering accounts for making the created offerings available to customers at the right time at the right place. Exchanging is the transfer of ownership of the offering to the end customer. The ownership passes from the manufacturer to the intermediaries (wholesalers, retailers, etc.), and from them to the end customers. In international markets, some organisations need to invest back a percentage of their earnings in the country of operation as part of contract. Sometimes an organisation is bound to accept some other product in the country of operation as part of its earning. So the exchange process not only includes money exchange but also barter system, etc. This aspect will be covered in the Pricing Decisions.

Marketing Management

Marketing management is the responsibility of the entire organisation. The marketing manager’s responsibilities include identifying opportunities, design market strategies and programs, and its implementation and control. They rely on market research, analyse inputs from various sources like consumer’s, distributors, agents, etc., and do the planning to meet the objectives of the organisation. It includes all the activities from selecting the target market, design and produce offerings of consumer’s choice at a reasonable price, design a channel of distribution, and communicate to the buyers about the offering via various promotion activities. These activities require professional study and analysis of the marketing environment and competition.

The success of all the activities of marketing depends on the acceptance of the offering by the consumers. Organisations relying on creating a good quality offering on large scale (no customer requirements analysed) and making them available in the market have moved to creating offerings of consumer’s choice. A lot of progress has been taking place in marketing management approaches. Strategic marketing planning, understanding the behavioural aspects of buyer behaviour, and implementation and control of all the marketing functions and decisions have done wonders for profit and non-profit organizations. Today, almost all types of organisations like hospitals, government, banks, etc. understand the importance of marketing management.

Marketing management is considered as a management function. An organisation has to function in an environment that has non-controllable as well as partially controllable factors. Based on the situations faced, marketing managers have to take various decisions on the product, its price, where to sell and how to influence customers to buy their products in an environment which is constantly changing, and is unpredictable to a large extent. Understanding the environment and the target markets helps an organisation to formulate effective (hassle free) and efficient (cost effective) marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is then implemented and changes are made to it as per requirements.
Marketing Management is considered as a management function which involves decision making based on-

• Marketing environment,
• Marketing opportunity analysis,
• Working on strategies, and
• Its implementation and control.

Qualities/ Essentials of a Successful Marketing Professional
Be the best in what you do,and there will be people to higher you. An accountant will have no problem in finding the correct job based on the skill requirement. But in the field of marketing apart from “skill”, “will” plays a major role in the success. A person will need the “will” factor in all fields, but this factor is of high importance in the field of marketing which relies mostly on boundless enthusiasm and strong interpersonal, management, and professional skills. The most successful marketing professionals don’t even have a management degree, although having a degree goes a far way in making a marketing professional successful. Below are some of the essential qualities that a marketing professional should have-

1) Passion for the job – Successful marketers should have great enthusiasm and passion for what they do. If the attitude is – Where have I landed! Then the marketing field is not for you.

2) Open for feedback – this is one key quality that goes a long way in creating and maintaining client and customer relationships. The marketing professional should take the feedback positively and should correct himself by maintaining his composure. One spoiled relationship will cost big for the individual as well as the organisation.

3) Passion for learning and creativity – The chairman of a fortune 500 company, Azim Premji, in his address to the 140000+ employees of Wipro once said that the organisation in which the managers stop learning, do not grow and even starts losing business. This holds true for an individual as well as the organisation. The successful marketers always have new ideas and a passion to bring efficiency in what they do. Many organisations have made it mandatory for their employees to do projects on which they are appraised and promoted.

4) Business/ industry information – How the industry or business works? Where is it headed? Where will I be in the coming years? Answer to such questions make a marketing professional knowledgeable which helps in devising correct strategies and plans for himself as well as the organisation. He/she should keep a close watch on the industry news, latest developments, competitor’s actions and reactions, changing preferences of consumers, etc.

5) Excellent communication skills – Communication not only includes sharing information but also ensuring feedback is received that the message has served its intended purpose. It includes being a good listener and open for negative as well as positive feedback.

6) Sound knowledge about the organisation – He/she should possess strong knowledge about the product, organisation, its processes and policies and its market (customers, competitors, business partners). The marketing professional should be able to answer the questions from clients, consumers, business partners, etc. pertaining to the job role. Sound knowledge helps a person communicate effectively and take right decisions at the right time.

7) Zero resistance to change – The industry is constantly evolving and new technology has changed the way the organisations worked a decade ago. Change is an evidential truth and a successful marketer is adaptable to change. The change should be looked at as an opportunity. Plans always change and new challenges always arise which bring new learning opportunities.

8) Love and respect for the customers – The marketing strategies are planned around the customer. The organisations and professionals embrace success on creating positive customer experience, customer loyalty, and satisfaction.

9) Negotiation skills/ Understand the customer – There will always be people who will disagree and may respond politely or angrily.The professional should be able to tailor his/her communication basis the customer. Not all consumers are alike, therefore the marketer should be able to understand the customer and communicate with ease with each individual. Unless the customer is understood, the message will not be understood. The customer can be anyone from a team member, company staff, client, manager or a consumer in the target market.

10) Team player – A successful marketing professional always believes in the reality that marketing is a team effort. The person who deserves, may be a colleague or a person reporting to him, should always be rewarded or complimented for his efforts. A person can be successful by taking credit of other persons work but not for too long. Marketing is an effort of the entire organisation, and information has to flow smoothly within different departments effectively to ensure correct strategies and decisions are made. Team work helps realise goals effectively and efficiently.

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