Becoming a Marketing Manager
Marketing is key to the success of any organization that seeks to reach people with a product or message. Even non-profit organizations must market programs to attract supporters and donors. Marketing manager, sometimes called marketing directors, are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating marketing policies and programs for an organization or for a specific division within an organization. They identify marketing opportunities and new target markets by monitoring consumer trends, then work to gain or expand market share by working with research analysts and product developers to promote products and fulfill consumer demand.
A large business typically has multiple marketing managers, each presiding over a particular division, product or marketing channel, and who work with sales managers, advertising managers, promotions managers and public relations managers to reach the right audience with the right message. Marketing managers responsible for managing a particular marketing channel may have more specific job titles, such as email marketing manager, online marketing manager, digital marketing manager, social media marketing manager or mobile marketing manager. In a small business, on the other hand, all or most of the marketing and sales functions may be rolled into the job description of a single sales and marketing manager.
Marketing Management and the Marketing Mix
The American Marketing Association defines marketing management as the process by which an organization sets marketing goals, develops and implements a strategic marketing campaign and then measures progress toward reaching stated goals.
The tools used by marketing managers to carry out the chosen strategy are often referred to as the marketing mix, which is traditionally made up four components known as the 4 P’s:
* Place of distribution
Product attributes like quality, features and design are highly variable, and will be developed based on the expectations and requirements of the target market. Marketing managers may serve as product marketing managers and influence decisions regarding product attributes during the design phase of a product based on consumer expectations as determined through market research. Product marketing managers may also make decisions about branding, packaging and labeling, as well as what product support services may be made available to consumers after purchase.
A company’s marketing manager, often in collaboration with a larger management team, is responsible for developing product pricing strategies designed to attract the desired customers, while also building in the desired profit. There are complex considerations, as it isn’t always about making a product as affordable as possible. In fact, more discriminating consumers who are interested in higher-end products will be less compelled to make a purchase if they perceive the product as cheap, and their perception in this regard is often influenced by a product’s price tag.
Standard factors that affect price include the cost of manufacturing the product, nature of the market or demand for the product, competitor pricing, government policies and the company’s overall marketing strategy as it relates to branding.
The purpose of promotion is to build consumer interest in a product or service and to persuade consumers to buy it. Many tools are available for this purpose, including advertising, personal selling, publicity, and sales promotion including short-term incentives for buyers such as discounts, free gifts or samples, coupons, as well as demonstrations, and store displays.
Place of Distribution:
This factor includes not only the choice of where to sell a product, whether retail stores, catalogs or online – taking into consideration the type of retail outlet, mailer or website that would best reach the target market – but also the channel of distribution. The four most common channels of distribution include the following:
• Direct marketing and distribution in which the business or product manufacturer sells directly to the consumer
• Single intermediary marketing and distribution in which the business or manufacturer sells to one intermediary, usually a retailer that then sells to consumers
• Two intermediaries, which involves the business or manufacturer selling to one intermediary, usually a wholesaler, that sells to a retailer, that, in turn, ultimately sells to consumers
• Three intermediaries, which involves the business or manufacturer selling to a wholesaler that sells to a jobber (jobbers usually sell to small retailers that wholesalers don’t serve), that then sells to a retailer who makes the product available to the buying public
The Role of the Marketing Manager
The role of marketing managers may vary depending on the company they work for and the products they sell, and on the particular position the marketing manger holds within the company. More similarities than differences exist, as the role of a marketing manager within any organization will almost always include the following:
• Analyzing and understanding markets, which includes learning about consumers, customers, competitors and conditions within the target markets. This usually involves the help of market research analysts.
• Planning and designing marketing programs that take advantage of opportunities to influence customers, and sometimes even competitors, within the target market.
• Deciding which marketing programs to use. When multiple people are involved in the marketing process, each may work independently on designing specific marketing programs and events. The marketing manager in this case often decides which program to go with, or presents and recommends marketing plans, programs and events to senior executives.
• Consulting and collaborating with others who are involved in executing marketing plans, but who don’t report to the marketing manager. This may include the sales force or an advertising agency.
• Monitoring and evaluating marketing programs and events.
Marketing managers come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, but many employers look for a bachelor’s degree in marketing or in business with a marketing emphasis or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with an emphasis on marketing. Marketing managers in highly technical industries like engineering or life science often have undergraduate degrees specific to their industry, along with an MBA, graduate degree or graduate certificate in marketing.
In addition to marketing courses, other useful courses to take include accounting, business law, economics, finance, management, quantitative methods and statistics. Completing an internship while in college is a big advantage. Employers look for experience, ability, and leadership skills. Many employers promote internally, drawing a marketing manager from their internal talent pool of experienced personnel.
Key Responsibilities of a Marketing Manager
There are some important responsibilities a Marketing Manager is required to perform:
• A Marketing Manager is responsible for laying out initiatives for the marketing team in achieving targeted sales or service.
• A Marketing Manager may be responsible for managing the training of newcomers, communication, coaching and mentoring team members.
• A Marketing Manager has to determine price strategies and discount rates.
• Preparing budgets and getting budget expenditures approved is a prime responsibility of a Marketing Manager.
• A Marketing Manager consults with department heads on leading a successful marketing campaign.
• He/she must develop the strategy on how the firm can maximize profits.
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