Every business needs marketing to establish its presence, acquire customers, sustain its market share, and expand the clientele for company growth and further development. Marketing management is pivotal as it governs everything that constitutes the many processes to achieve the business goals. But what is marketing and why is it needed?
Marketing management conducts all activities related to branding, advertising, sales, and customer relations. While marketing is integral to a business, its management is equally essential. The lack of a holistic marketing management strategy may lead all associated operations astray.
From manufacturing to customer service, all operations have many facets, which need an overarching controller, a system to regulate everything. Such a system and its processes are marketing management. This article will discuss all this and more, so stay tuned.
What is marketing management in simple words?
Marketing management in simple words covers everything:
- Initial market research
- Risk assessment
- Product development
- Storage and distribution
- Customer service
- Performance audits
- Continuing analyses
Marketing is at times confused with sales. Also, the term is often used interchangeably with promotion and advertising. None of these processes is identical. However, they are all different activities within the all-embracing marketing mix.
Marketing management actively controls the whole process.
Marketing is not just relevant or confined to the financial bottom line of a business. Marketing management, such as the brand audit process, can influence, change, and often decide company policies.
Traditionally, marketing has been an inside-out approach.
Today, marketing management is mostly an outside-in process. Companies will always have their preferences for either and, in rare cases, for both.
Who does marketing management?
A marketing manager does marketing management and is a mid-career specialist. Businesses may choose to have an in-house marketing manager or delegate the entire role to a veteran consultant, a marketing agency, a multifaceted service provider, a dedicated team of specialists, or more.
Every marketing process is a vast spectrum.
Seemingly isolated or exclusive operations are interlinked and consequential through the prism of marketing. So who does marketing management is one of the most critical factors for a business.
Many upstream and downstream activities will be planned and executed perfectly if a company gets its marketing right.
Marketing management has dozens of inseparable functions.
Most activities, either directly or indirectly related, have a plethora of demands. It is quintessential for a marketing management professional or company to be capable of delivering a full suite of services.
Top marketing management activities
The specific marketing management activities depend on the business goals, the products or services, the target groups, and how a particular market or industry is poised. Most businesses have a bespoke list of the top marketing management activities.
Let’s talk about the most critical functions.
Market research is at the crux of all marketing management activities. Companies practising an outside-in approach use market research before conceptualizing, designing, and developing their products or services.
A marketing manager works in tandem with the business stakeholders and various departments to ensure that their offerings or deliverables serve the needs of the target groups.
In some cases, market research does not precede the development of goods or services. There are two possibilities in such circumstances. One, the scope of market research is restricted to figuring out the best ways to present a product or service.
Two, a business allows some room for the market research findings and inferences to influence a few changes in the goods or services.
The specific consequences of market research are subject to many variables. A business may have to return to the boardroom and revisit some or several of its core plans.
A product or service may need substantial changes or improvements.
The planned delivery of a product or service may warrant changes, while the pricing could merit a review. Market research poses case-specific possibilities aplenty.
A SWOT analysis stands for the following:
Businesses use this analysis to determine how strong their model is and where they can improve. Every product or service must have a few strengths, or it is not worthwhile and hence unsellable.
A business trying to establish itself as a brand should have a couple of strengths as a company or commercial entity. Marketing management involves the assessment of both sets of strengths.
Likewise, goods and services have weaknesses. The weaknesses may not be inherent because they could be due to the superiority of the competitors. Marketing management should identify these weaknesses.
The objective is to showcase the strengths and camouflage or remedy the weaknesses.
The two other crucial assessments are opportunities and threats. The opportunities may stem from a vacuum in a market where the available goods or services do not serve some customer needs.
The opportunities may also emanate from changing needs or demands of the customers.
Most industries and the market, in general, are always in a dynamic state, evolving in time. The continuous churn necessitates constant research and development, product or service upgrades, and improvement of the deliverables.
The changing market also poses threats along with opportunities.
A marketing manager’s job is to identify, know, understand, and plan to harness the opportunities and thwart the threats. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis is industry-agnostic.
The only situation wherein SWOT analysis is redundant is a monopoly.
A marketing strategy may be all-inclusive, beginning with the executive summary, a business plan, and covering every department, both within and beyond the company. A marketing strategy may also be limited to a few activities as determined by a business.
For instance, a company may want a marketing manager to focus only on branding, advertising, promotion, and sales. In such a scenario, the company’s marketing management approach does not influence product development, pricing, or other related policies and decisions.
There is no standard approach here.
Every company has to learn what works best for them, especially given the products, services, target groups, and business goals. While marketing management is usually bespoke, there are many common activities without which a strategy is incomplete and a nonstarter.
Branding & promotion
Branding is the art of presenting and establishing a company as a reputable commercial entity, a business that people can trust. It is also used to achieve the same goal for a product or service.
Branding uses all available media and relevant forms of communication to reach out to the target groups and convey one or a few simple messages. These messages are meticulously conceived, thoroughly thought through, and expertly crafted.
It is not anyone particular message or type of communication.
Everything about a company, at least those facets that the market and the people know, should sync with the overall branding strategy.
The company logo, the business tagline, the stated philosophy including vision and mission, the policies, and the terms of service must abide by and complement the branding exercises.
There should be one unified and uniform branding theme for a business. Everything else should feel like a natural extension of the root philosophy. Take the example of how visuals are treated in branding.
A company must have a colour theme or a chosen palette. Branding demands uniform use of the selected colour or palette in everything from the logo to the website design, business cards, and packaging.
The same rationale applies to typography and any calligraphy involved, how a language is used in various communications, including the tone or style of addressing the target groups, and how multiple departments deal with the customers.
The objective is to cast an indelible impression. The target groups must be so familiar with the brand that they will instantly recognize and associate with the company when they encounter anything from the logo to the packaging design, the typeface on the product labels, and how they experience a service.
Unlike branding, advertising, and sales, promotions used to be limited to new launches and special events. In the age of social media, promotion is also a perennial exercise.
All four core marketing management activities are now more coalesced than ever before.
Advertising & sales
A natural extension of branding, advertising uses all available and relevant media to convey concise messages. An advertising campaign is usually restricted to a product or service.
However, both branding and advertising are perennial exercises. The fierce competition in most industries does not leave any room for laxity. If a company cedes some space, more than one competitor is vying for it.
The nature of advertising has changed in recent years.
Thus, marketing management is no longer the same in this context. Visual merchandising in stores, colossal billboards, fliers and leaflets or pamphlets, and the forever expensive commercials on television are now passé.
The traditional tactics are still effective and necessary in many cases, but the world has moved on to digital advertising, online commercials, and search engine marketing, among others. The advent and success of e-commerce have further transformed how businesses reach out to their target groups.
A marketing management strategy is incomplete and will be ineffective today without tapping the full potential of online advertising. The same is true for promotion and sales.
Branding, advertising, promotion, and sales are integral to marketing management.
Customer service is not restricted to pre-sales enquiries, demos or trials, after-sales support, and the occasional troubleshooting or resolving grievances. Customer relations are now a part of the branding strategy.
Hence, a marketing manager must seamlessly blend customer relations into the larger plan.
Most businesses need to be omnipresent these days, as it is insufficient to be just there when the customer needs you. Websites, blogs, newsletters, mobile apps, social media, text and email notifications, on-call assistance, and in some cases, onsite or offsite services have compelled businesses to be always available for the customers, and visibly so.
Data & informatics
One of the most significant purposes of marketing management is to analyze data and informatics.
Earlier, marketing managers would crunch sales figures, market share, acquisition cost, client retention, customer satisfaction, and business growth. Now, marketing management involves processing a lot more data.
Hence, informatics has become a much broader spectrum. However, plenty of tools, including automation, have also simplified big data and informatics.
Marketing management assesses every digital interaction with each person in the target group. Some essential factors are heat map analysis, time on page or session duration, click-through rate, and conversion.
All such data and informatics are then used to review the marketing management strategy.
What are marketing management strategies?
Marketing management strategies are comprehensive plans that harness the collective power of what is referred to as the Ps and Cs, also known as the marketing mix. The original sets of 4 Ps and 4 Cs have expanded in time. No business can avoid any of these core components of a marketing mix.
Marketing management defines all essential indicators and benchmarks. A marketing manager or agency determines the target group based on the inputs from a business and in the context of a given product or service.
Every component of the marketing mix, including segmentation such as demographics and critical factors like the service or product life cycle, is in the purview.
Contemporary marketing managers work on the 12 Ps:
The Cs integral to any marketing management strategy are:
- Clients or customers
Does my business really need marketing?
Your business really needs marketing for outreach and sustaining exposure. Without marketing, a company’s target market might not perceive it as a reliable brand. Its products or services could remain untried by the target groups, and the competitors will continue to expand their dominance.
Conglomerates and large companies tend to have some degree of monopoly or at least substantial market dominance in a niche. Yet, they invest millions every year in myriad marketing campaigns. All their marketing endeavours are relentless.
The objective is to stay visible and in the reckoning.
You may have a fantastic product or service, but people must know about it first. You could run an unbelievably good promotion, but it needs to generate traction among the target groups for any tangible effect.
Your team can ensure the social media business pages are active and exciting. Still, you need followers and engagement to have any effect on the financial bottom line. Your company website might have a flash sale happening, but people have to be notified and redirected through multiple avenues for significant traffic.
Despite the traffic, the conversion rate may falter. The mantra to overcome all these challenges rests in the essence of what marketing management is.
Take the examples of Apple and Nike, to name two brands. Even those who aren’t fans or have never tried their products are well aware of their presence, what they do, and how reputable the brands are.
Apple thrived on the marketing genius of Steve Jobs since 1984. And, the Just Do It phenomenon of Nike is probably the greatest marketing act ever. Marketing turned Pepsi and Red Bull into household names, two modern products that have no value to offer to our species.
Marketing serves as the foundation and the guiding force for all the activities associated with the actual transactional performance: money. No other business process has as significant an impact on a company’s eventual success or failure as marketing and, by extension, its management.