Marketing for Professionals

MM-boy-custom

Several years ago, I was riding the Metro subway in Washington, DC and got off at the end of the line.  The location was in a depressed area, and few businesses were there for commuters.  As I waited for my ride, I saw these two boys carrying a huge box of M&Ms in hopes of selling to weary commuters.

I found it amusing that these young men were hustling in such a manner. Yet, this spoke to the spirit of entrepreneurs.  The boys found an unmet need in the market.  Yes, with no stores located in the immediate area, these young men sold a lot of M&Ms to hungry commuters.

With increasing competition abroad, today’s professionals cannot afford to be ignorant in understanding business practices such as marketing.  The problem is that marketing is not second nature for all business professionals.

Sadly, most business owners do not have the time to take a long, drawn-out college course, while others want a simple process for understanding the basic concepts until they can take more formalized courses.  In fact, when you do not have a lot of money to spend on advertising your product, you have to be smarter and more creative in order to stay ahead of the competition. 

Marketing is the cornerstone of understanding today’s economic changes. Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, argue the important of understanding marketing concepts for today’s professionals: “The first decade of the 21st century challenged firms to prosper financially and even survive in the face of an unforgiving economic environment.  Marketing is playing a key role in addressing those challenges…Thus financial success often depends on marketing abilities.”

Consequently, marketing gives individuals the ability to understand how to locate these opportunities and what to do with them when you find them.  According to the American Marketing Association, marketing can be defined as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, capturing, communicating, and delivering value to customers. However, the simplest definition is that marketing is about understanding and satisfying customer wants or needs.

In fact, there are times when customers do not know what they want or desire. Marketing then becomes that linchpin in the process of finding a solution for the consumer.  Traditionally, marketing has been defined in terms of four variables described as the marketing mix, or the 4 Ps: product/service, price, placement, and promotion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQzYclR8ufM

In fact, the marketing mix is the controllable set of activities that entrepreneurs use to attract or respond to the needs of their target market.  In essence, entrepreneurs attempt to create value for their customers.  Value relates to the customer viewpoint, not that of the business.  Value relates to the benefits the customer perceives they are getting in exchange for their purchase of the product or service.

Business experts Donald Lehmann and Russell Winer point out that inaccurate information or incorrect analysis often leads to poor decisions about marketing a business product.  This flaw can hurt a business attempting to make a profit.  In fact, understanding competition is a point most executives miss.  Some of the questions executives should ponder include: 

  •       Who are my competitors?
  •       What are the competing product features?
  •       What is their positioning strategy?
  •       What markets do they currently own and their future?
  •       How do you distinguish your products from those of your competition?
  •      How do consumers make this distinction in products?

In today’s global markets, organizations cannot operate with a ‘trial and error’ mentality.  In fact, what worked yesterday is no guarantee that it will be successful in the future.  Business professionals who are less knowledgeable about marketing and marketing forces are a liability to organizations that aim for sustainable success.

Successful entrepreneurs understand how to tap into their target market instead of random selling.  Why should the expectations be any lower for today’s professionals?  Therefore, savvy professionals seek to understand and implement effective marketing strategies. 

Please discuss the value of understanding marketing concepts for professionals based on your own work experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Marketing for Professionals

  1. Understanding the competition is extremely important. Otherwise companies don’t know how they are differentiated. Most business simply don’t understand the competition and will simply push them to the side by not recognizing how they affect the decisions that they make. Inc. Magazine has suggested the following approach for thinking about the completion. “The goal is to be objective and to learn as much about the competition as you can. Scour their websites. Talk to their salespeople. Contact their distributors. Talk to their customers. Get aggressive and do everything you can to analyze their offering, their target market, their features, and how they position themselves” (Adams, 2009).

    Adams, R. (2009, October 27). Understanding the competition Inc., Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/rob-adams/2009/10/understanding_the_competition.html

    • Josh,

      That is a good point. Understanding the competition is key when companies are marketing. How the competition is doing can tell competing companies so much. For one, companies can see what marketing works and what does not. For another, as Josh mentioned, companies can see how they stand apart from competing companies.

      Another key is for companies to be in agreement with what and how to market to meet their customers’ needs. For example, the top people in a company can individually listed the three most important customer purchase factors and when those lists are compared, each list is different. The highest people in the company can all have different views on what the company should be doing to satisfy customers and entice them to buy. And those conflicting views have been driving conflicting decisions and actions for who knows how long. The conflicting decisions and actions can cause this company to be not aligned with its market (Myler, 2013).

      Source: Myler, L. (2013, November 7). How to Sell More—A Lot More. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2013/11/07/how-to-sell-more-a-lot-more/.

  2. Josh,

    My question is what do Industry leaders do? They should look at their competition. But how much time do they spend doing that? I feel that they would want to look at other indusrty leaders in different markets for ideas to help further themselves. While also brainstorming in their own market for the next great product or service.

  3. I have heard recently that marketing professions are starting to fall behind and are not needed as much anymore. I believe that is not the true story at all because the importance of marketing in this day and age could not be more important simply because of the speed at which consumer behavior is changing now. With this increasing speed comes managing expectations, Dennis Hartman of Chron.com writes about the importance of this aspect of marketing.[1] “Consumers rely on trusted brands and the consistency that comes from brand loyalty. They also use information from consumer advocacy groups to learn about which brands are most reliable and represent the best values” (Hartman, 2013). This is key in keeping up with what people might want. Marketing is one of the only aspects of business that deals in predicting what people want; understanding marketing is vital to keeping a firm on the cutting edge of consumer desires.

    Hartman, D. (2013, September 17). The value of marketing to society. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/value-marketing-society-21508.html

  4. Great posting. How can companies create something innovative or fully understand their own brand and what it means if they are not aware of their own competitors.

    Conducting market research is one way for businesses and companies to understand their competitors and what they offer. Market research involves collecting and analyzing information about the market, including the customers and competitors. It is vital to research any new market you are moving into to avoid wasting time and money on failed projects

    Researching your competitors is easier than it may seem – for example, you can simply collect any flyers and price lists they produce for customers, read their online material, or even buy their products and services to compare them with your own (“Understand your market and competitors”).

    A SWOT analysis can also be conducted to assess competitors.

    http://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/marketing/responding-competition/understanding-market-competitors

  5. I like to think I have an inherent level of marketing knowledge from my father who has worked most of his like in management and marketing positions. What it truly boils down to is knowing your product and knowing your customers then drawing a line between those two points. The problem is that those points are not easily connected. I would like to use social media marketing as an example because I am a young internet user who sees massive companies even with lots of money for marketing budgets absolutely blundering in their efforts. The Dove Men+Care Facebook page near Halloween posted a picture of a pumpkin and said “If this gets 5,000 likes we will SMASH this pumpkin!” but that’s not all folks, “…not only that we’ll fill it with body wash and record it for you to see!” (cit.) The demographic of young men is so badly appealed to here. while one can vaguely understand smashing the pumpkin might have some appeal, what does filling it with body wash do? are we really going to stay tuned for 5,000 likes in order to see that? I’ll answer, NO! there is a great quote in advertising from Fallon McElligott Rice from the 1980’s that says “I would much rather overestimate than underestimate the intelligence of the consumer.” (cit.) Marketers need to assume consumers already have a reasonable understanding of what you offer and then what more you have to offer is what you advertise and market. And really that’s not all too hard.

    Duffy, Mark ‘Copyranter’ (Nov. 2014) Why are social media managers dipshits? Vice Magazine. Retreived from http://www.vice.com/read/why-are-so-many-social-media-managers-dipshits

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s