Marketing develops and tests product concepts, designs merchandising and promotional campaigns, creates and manages the relationship with the customer, collects and analyzes information about the marketplace and creates and carries out the sales plans that generate the profit for the firm.
The brand manager is responsible for one product or product line and all the marketing related to it. The main function of the brand manager is to place one person or one team in control of the activities, growth and profitability of individual products. Brand management includes developing an annual marketing plan, executing the advertising strategy, planning and selecting media, planning sales promotions, coordinating package design, and analyzing and forecasting business results. Brand managers are also responsible for new product development. Most firms require an MBA with an emphasis in marketing. To succeed, the brand managers must have the ability to work with, motivate, and persuade people over whom they have no formal authority, but upon whom they depend to get work done. Good writing and analytical skills are necessary, as is a facility for quantitative analysis. The brand manager must be able to handle a great amount of detail. Most important, he or she must know and understand his or her customers.
Selling is focused on finding customers who will buy certain goods. Generally, sales is an unstructured job. The salesperson maintains contact with customers, takes orders, acts as a liaison between the customer and the corporate entity, plans requirements, forecasts sales, projects supply and demand, researches markets, assists with inventory and production control, services client needs, develops new customers, checks on competitors and prepares sales reports. In addition, the sales manager recruits, hires, trains and supervises new employees. Skills required to be successful in sales management include proficiency in oral and written communication, organization, and business management. Basic statistic skills are also important. An ability to analyze situations creatively is required to understand the unique positions of each customer and product, while consumer empathy is needed to interpret how a particular product is used.
Advertising uses the media to help sell a product or idea by creating consumer awareness. Usually a general theme for promoting the product/idea will be developed at the beginning of a campaign and will serve as a guideline for all other advertising decisions. Creativity, interpersonal, and organizational skills are important in management (which includes campaign theme formulation, research, and competitive brand analysis), copyrighting, and buying advertising spots from various media.
The goal of Sales Promotion is to induce consumers to purchase a product or service by stimulating trial and repeat purchases. Tools used in promotion include coupons, free merchandise offers, tie-ins with other products, sweepstakes, and other special offers. Sales Promotion works closely to coordinate efforts with the product’s brand manager and advertising team. The ability to think creatively and strategically is critical in planning effective promotion plans. One must also be detail-oriented and able to work with a variety of people to see that the plan is carried out correctly. Strong organizational skills are a must. Positions in Sales Promotion can be with a promotion agency or with a firm’s marketing department.
Public Relations is concerned with developing and maintaining a favorable image for a company or organization. Through Public Relations, the public is informed about the performance and positive achievements of a company. Potentially damaging situations are handled so as to minimize any adverse effects on the company’s image. Public Relations is a form of communication which is achieved in a variety of ways, such as press releases, media management, community involvement efforts, shareholder relations, and special events. It can be performed by an outside agency or a member of the firm’s marketing staff. The most important qualification for a career in Public Relations is strong writing skills. One must also be able to work effectively with the media. Coordination with corporate executives and the advertising team is essential to ensure that the Public Relations efforts are in sync with the company’s overall marketing plan.
Corporate Marketing is an area where marketing efforts are aimed at other corporations. Most of the companies that heavily emphasize corporate Marketing are Fortune 500 Industrial Corporations. Corporate marketers analyze market segments, competitive activities, economic outlooks, and demographic trends. In addition, customer and product research is an important decision-making tool. The analyzed information is used to assist in the development of long-range product strategies and formulating future product alternatives. Customer satisfaction is also measured throughout the product life cycle.
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