Updated April 20, 2023
Introduction to Marketing Management Functions
Businesses frequently use the term “marketing,” but many people may not fully understand its meaning. Let’s break it down in simpler terms. Most people confuse it with sales or think it is an excellent selling function.
Marketing is at the core of the success of any product or that of the company that produces it. Sometimes, even an average product can sell through intelligent marketing management.
It is not the product that matters but how you sell it, which underlines the importance of this core department in any firm. Many leading organizations do not often give top positions of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and board membership to technical or administrative personnel.
Marketing Management Functions
Following are the marketing management function:
1. Market Research
The first stage in any product development is market research, which assesses the market’s potential demand and growth expectations. If it is already an existing product category such as shoes, cooking oil, soap, and TV, there would be a lot of secondary data available from research agencies and in the public domain.
However, if it is a new product or service, it makes sense to do a sample market survey with the help of a competent firm. In these situations, a broader word applies– marketing research. It can gauge the attitude of buyers, potential market size, consumer preferences, acceptable pricing, product features, and attributes. In the service industry, companies typically launch a new marketing management concept or service after conducting detailed surveys.
Companies organize market surveys or competitions to decide on product or brand names. William Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name? A rose smells sweet by any other name. However, a good brand name can spell success in business, while an inappropriate word can spell failure.
Product, Price, Promotion, and Place are the four P’s of marketing, and market research usually focuses on one aspect, such as price or promotion. Marketing management professionals depend on qualitative and quantitative data types for market analysis.
Qualitative focuses on consumer perception, attitudes, and opinions of a particular product or service, while quantitative data refers to units sold, produced, and distributed in a specific region and time. A new product or brand launch is likely to fail if there are not adequate research or market surveys conducted by the company.
On the other hand, scientifically designed research and survey methodologies will likely result in better product development and acceptability by consumers. E.g., satellite phones launched in many countries failed because of their cost and perhaps ahead of time.
Sometimes, a brand name may not be acceptable in a cultural context and hence likely to fail. Colgate launched its toothpaste brand ‘Cue’ in France, not knowing it was the name of a popular pornographic magazine.
Mercedes-Benz launched the ‘Bensi’ model in China, but it meant ‘rush to die’. All this shows market research and marketing management research is the first and vital step or foundation to building a successful product. Every product or service should serve a consumer need; the launch will likely fail if it does.
2. Product development and management
Once market research has enabled the evolvement of specifications of a product or service, the next step in the marketing management process is making the product. The production planning and manufacturing units need to work out the details of getting the right raw materials, dies, fabrication, prototype making, and other operations.
The success of a product depends on raw materials, technological know-how, and good inventory management. Experts say that with rapid advances in technology and the availability of raw materials, product life-cycle is getting shorter and shorter.
Each product goes through a cycle popularly known as the Product Life Cycle (PLC), which is made up of the following stages-development of the product, introduction to the market, growth through increased promotion and sales, maturity when sales reach a peak, followed by saturation in the market and subsequent decline.
Product Life Cycle (PLC) will differ across products and categories, and sometimes it may last only a few weeks or months, while in some other cases, some years. PLC can extend through advertising to gain new market share, price discounts to lure customers, using product enhancements to add value and target new areas. Even new packaging and color changes can improve perception levels.
Before promotional activities plan on a large scale, it makes perfect business sense to test the product in select cities or regions to gauge the market response. If any changes in the product are required, modification and design changes occur before it reaches the retail shelves and is in customers’ hands.
A good product will only sell if the consumers come to know about the product. With the advent of marketing management technology, newer options are available at marketers’ disposal. The first step is to identify a media planner and devise an appropriate mix of platforms to announce the product launch.
Companies can obtain some launch publicity in business newspapers and pages with a little effort and support from public relations agencies. Newspapers, radio, television, websites, and social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter are all useful platforms for launching and popularizing products.
A product can also expect some strength based on word-of-mouth publicity, which can attend after only sufficient market penetration is gained through traditional publicity channels. Hoardings, digital banners, and point-of-purchase (POP) display all contribute to the overall brand and awareness of the product.
Companies need to optimize their advertising spending so that they achieve a positive return on investment (ROI) since no company has enormous resources to spend on advertising. Similarly, newspaper, broadcast, and online advertisements must be sustained to ensure brand recall among customers and drive sales growth.
There must be continuous monitoring and tracking of ad spending and their ability to make sales conversions. While newer media platforms like Facebook are cost-effective, they may not lead to immediate sales conversions since likes, shares, and comments on Facebook are only the beginning of consumer engagement.
Participation in trade fairs and events can also boost sales and revenue for companies, be it consumer goods, industrial goods, banking, and financial services
4. Sales & Distribution
The company has done market research, identified the required product, and proceeded with production planning, prototype testing, advertising and promotion, and marketing management trials.
The most crucial part of the business process is sales and distribution. The products must reach the targeted markets through a well-planned distribution channel of national-level distributors, clearing & forwarding agents, regional distributors, wholesalers, and retailers.
It is a crucial marketing management function as the ready availability of the product is vital for the consumers to buy and consume it. Many a time, due to a lack of management function of planning, the products may have yet to reach the shop shelves. Still, sufficient advertising has created a demand among consumers who, in turn, get disappointed when the product is not immediately available.
The marketing management team needs to build a network of distributors and work on logistics, either depending on an in-house fleet of trucks or outsourcing the function to third party logistic service providers.
In the case of perishable products, sufficient care should be taken to ship them in refrigerated containers or those protected from direct sunlight and heat.
A proper enterprise resource planning (ERP) system must be in place to track the activities of finance, production planning, shop floor, marketing, sales, distribution, and administration so that marketing management requirements are adequately met, and inventory control and financial cost control can be achieved.
The use of mobile computing applications can enable field staff to update and feed market data and information to headquarters on a real time basis.
Proper storage of goods is vital for not only perishable and semi-perishable goods but also for processed food and consumer durables but only to a lesser extent for industrial goods. Distribution centers must have adequate warehousing facilities that can be leased and emergency requirements for supply to retail outlets.
6. Standardization and Testing
The products produced should conform to regulatory standards regarding safety, environmental impact, quality of raw materials used, design, and other parameters.
Governments in the USA, UK, Gulf Co-operation countries, and Asia have set different standards for food, consumer, electrical equipment, and mobile gadgets. Products are allowed to be sold only if they meet those stringent requirements.
Although this is a function of the production and technical teams, the product’s success would depend on conforming to such standards. The marketing management team also needs to ensure that the products are periodically tested and evaluated based on consumer feedback for making good improvisations.
7. After-Sales and customer service
Companies often need to pay more attention to an important market function- after-sales service. The success of a product depends on customer satisfaction, so it must track regularly.
Every product is flawed, but a company’s success depends on how fast it is with complaints redressal. Recently, major car makers Ford, Toyota, and Suzuki had to recall several new batches of their cars due to technical defects.
It happened with Apple iPhones too. It proves that even large corporates are fallible, and it is in their long term interest to admit and provide product replacement and support.
Most often, goods sell to distributors and wholesalers on credit, not immediate cash. The act of providing credit and money when needed for distributors, the costs of getting merchandise into the hands of the final user is known as the finance function in marketing management.
The need for finance in marketing activity is towards working capital and fixed capital that can raise through the company’s funds if it is cash rich or through bank loans and advance and trade credit.
The manufacturer provides trade credit to distributors and wholesalers. Various short- and medium options Selling products and services is essential for short-term and long-term financing.
In times of mild recession and change in trade cycles, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers face cash flow problems and fail to meet their day-to-day obligations.
If they can prove their creditworthiness, adequate institutional financial management function support may be present. Here, the marketing management team has to lend a helping hand to tide over the crisis by rescheduling payments and giving time to meet the obligations of sellers and resellers.
9. Market Risk taking
The business carries a lot of market risk due to new competition, price falls, loss of goods due to spoilage, depreciation, obsolescence, theft, fire, and floods. Sometimes for unknown reasons, a slight defect or quality concerns in certain batches of goods shipped may have to be recalled.
New regulatory rules can also make the sale of manufactured goods or products impossible. Marketing management’s function is to provide adequate market risks that are unforeseen and often unpredictable with the data available.
10. Market information
Timely market information is vital for product enhancement and sales growth. The importance of timely market information is being recognized more than before due to the expansion of markets, the proliferation of products, and intense competition.
Timely marketing management information is vital for companies to decide when, at what price to sell, the number of competitors, and their offerings. Now business firms employ service providers to gather data, analyze and interpret facts.
They also actively seek facts and information from external sources such as government publications, government reports, and market research firms. Such data can also come from internal departments, and a robust ERP system can create useful marketing management reports that help in business decision making.
This has been a guide to Marketing Management. Here we have discussed basic concept with 10 most important functions of Marketing Management. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –