Updated June 13, 2023
Introduction to Marketing Manager
A popular view is that it is not the product that matters but how you sell it. It may be an exaggeration as consumers have the freedom of choice in an open market economy, not unlike a monopoly or oligopolistic economy where there are a large number of buyers but fewer sellers.
In a competitive environment, the product matters too- as it should satisfy some need or requirement of the consumer. The marketing personnel often participate from product conceptualization to product launch and feedback.
The role of the marketing manager in any organization is strategic. Marketing people are likelier to advance to director positions, get an appealing place on the Board of Directors, or even become CEO or MDs.
It is most likely that marketing personnel are more likely to move up to senior managerial positions compared to technical, human resources, accounting, or administration.
A marketing manager is an unenviable position as it requires tremendous hard work, communication skills, conceptualization, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work under tremendous pressure.
Tips to Be a Successful Marketing Manager
Following are some tips:
1. Develop the brand, understand the consumer mind
One of the key responsibilities of a marketing manager is the development of the company’s brand or brands. Brand development succeeds in product development in identifying a problem or need of a consumer. Moreover, the marketing manager must also promote the company and brand-building exercise.
The marketing chief creates logos, product identification, development, branding, ad campaigns, test marketing, setting up the distribution and logistics network, etc.
Understanding the consumer psyche and strategies for brand building is paramount for the success of any marketing manager.
2. Understanding selling, selling oneself
Often the marketing man is higher in the product team hierarchy and doesn’t get involved with the actual sales in retail, which is the domain of the sales manager and executives.
Hence, working closely with the sales team and studying the art of selling serves well. As a marketing manager, one has to constantly sell strategies, ideas, tasks, and decisions within the company, which makes sales skills a vital task.
Undoubtedly, investing time in learning the art of selling makes sense. However, it is not to do selling on the field throughout the career but to understand the customer psyche and dynamics of retailing and how retailers play a vital role in promoting the company’s Brand at the point- of- sales (PoS).
3. Be passionate and deliver the product
Most often, the ideas for new products are initiated at the marketing level and then communicated to the top management before leg work starts to find the product’s viability and need.
The marketing manager needs to show a passion for work and the product and deliver the product successfully in the market. If the marketing chief himself lacks the energy or enthusiasm to take the product forward, however much the company puts into marketing promotion will be of no avail.
The energy of the marketing honcho has to percolate down the entire team, and it will be contagious. This will result in greater success for the product and brand.
4. Multi-tasking skills vital
Marketing requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-tasking approach to get things done compared to other functions. They have to use secondary data, primary surveys, and customer feedback to develop new product ideas for the development team.
This involves adequate written communication skills, presentation skills, return on investment (ROI), advertising and promotional campaigns, etc.
Double up as public relations point of contact: In many firms where the public relations department is not that strong, the marketing manager is often constantly in touch with the media. They provide interviews and quotes for journalists to promote the company, its products, and its services.
At times they may have to do damage control as the PR professional does in changing the company’s or product’s negative image or perception. In some cases, they may need the support of experts in PR to execute this task.
5. Don’t focus only on competition from the same industry
With the convergence of technology, the competition for an existing product or brand can come from an unexpected industry vertical. The greatest threat the camera industry faced was not from within itself but by developing smart mobile phones with various features, including high-resolution cameras and supporting apps like Whatsapp or Bluetooth to transmit images and video depending on the size and resolution.
According to Subir Kumedan, a user experience architect, marketing personnel should do a mini-competitive analysis of at least five companies outside its vertical. According to him, unless you are in a cutting-edge design industry/vertical such as consumer travel or food delivery, chances are that best-in-class experiences are happening outside your vertical.
6. Let branding communications be simple and focused
Your product will probably deliver some value in utility, convenience, cutting-edge technology, cost-effectiveness, and other positive qualities. Therefore it is paramount for the marketer to understand their marketing communications should also be straightforward and simple.
Some experts point out that the best campaigns are focused, simple, and clear, and that will go down the audience. One remembers the Thumbs Up campaign of yesteryears-‘ refreshing Cola’ or Honda’s campaign for its new motorbike, ‘Navi- whatever it is, it’s fun.
Is it a scooter, is it a bike? I don’t know. Wherever it goes, it’s a fun ride, says the full-page campaign in newspapers.
The Thumbs Up was refreshing for the youth as Navi could be a fun ride. So simple, focused marketing communications are bound to deliver better results in the long run.
7. Launching a product without trial marketing
Due to overconfidence in their abilities or ideas, marketing heads often roll out brands without first testing them out in the marketplace. Even the best of products can fail if there is no trial marketing to discover the problems with the product or distribution network and take remedial action. In recent years, many automobiles, mobile phones, and laptop brands have had to recall some of their batches of products due to technical glitches or not conforming to regulatory standards.
8. Focussing on design rather than customer requirement
Understanding the customer’s needs is more important than the design aesthetics of a product. Sometimes, they just work on existing designs or products and try to fit in a new design.
However, what is required is not a ‘me-too product to succeed, but it should be based on identifying the customer type, behavior (motivation), and customer journey. The selection of design templates or dyes should be based on understanding the consumer.
9. Focus on the specific target audience rather than broad
Most often, a marketer estimates the total size of a market, say Rs 500 mn and calculates if we get at least 10% of the market share, our earnings will be $50 mn in the first year itself. However, we are ignoring the competition, margins in the industry, and typical ad spending or marketing promotion is not factored in.
Moreover, developing a customer profile is important as it can be visualized better, prioritize messaging, and enable calls to action in promotional campaigns.
10. Understand big data
Until a few years ago, understanding the market dynamics meant depending on published secondary data, primary market research, and more of intuition to succeed in the marketplace.
However, with the increased processing capacity of computers and the evolution of database systems, the huge amount of data pertaining to sales, consumer buying, retail selling, and online purchasing behavior are now available as structured or unstructured data.
A huge revolution in data mining and analysis has helped marketers to use Big Data to understand consumer behavior and insights.
11. Social Media comes to the forefront
Marketers were traditionally used to only dealing with the mass media and the physical domain through hoardings and banners. However, the rapid growth of the internet, web, and social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) have changed the dynamics of advertising and marketing promotion.
And no marketing manager can ignore the newer technologies, such as mobile and mobile apps, that enable them to reach the youth better, not to forget email marketing, short messaging, and related possibilities before them.
It doesn’t mean that the marketer needs to understand the technical side of these new technologies but needs to be tech-savvy to use the right medium to promote
Rapidly changing market dynamics, technology, recessionary trends, competition, and lower product life cycles have all made the life of the marketing manager quite challenging. Those days are gone when a company had a product that no one else could match. Even Apple competes with a dozen copycats within months of its new product launch.
Success in the marketplace means when the brand becomes the generic name for the product, as in Xerox in photo-copying industry, Unilever’s Surf for washing powder, SnowCem for exterior paint, and so on.
The new-age marketing manager needs not only a strategy but also good creativity. For strategy, they use the left brain, and for creativity (right brain), a good marketer must have good analytical and creative skills.
They must be able to craft and support the brand strategy with research data to get the management convinced of an idea.
Marketing managers should be visionaries without a herd mentality and no motivation to innovate. They must seek answers to some questions at the start of every campaign or product launch- will this reinforce my brand positioning? Will it add value to the company’s existing operations?
Successful marketers have a long-term perspective and are not bothered about short-term gains. Salespeople push for short-term promotions and price discounts or new product launches that dilute the value of the existing brand.
Simplicity in communication is a must for every marketing manager, especially in devising campaigns. All a brand has is a few seconds for the consumer to make a good first impression. So it is very important to highlight the product qualities, how to use it, where to get it, and so on.
Successful marketing managers have good aesthetic sense and help the design team develop the right packaging, logos, and advertisement campaigns. They also need to be good at balancing budgets for promotional activities to achieve a better return on investment (ROI) in online and offline promotions.
Unlike the marketing head of yesteryears, today’s honchos need to be abreast with technology, current events, the social milieu and cultural context in which they are operating, and the values and motivations that influence customer behavior.
More often, they need to have a local and global perspective as the next competition could be coming from not within the country but from a cheaper brand from China or Taiwan. Or it could be a cheaper online product due to lower distribution costs.
Now pharma companies are not fighting among themselves but the new breed of marketers who sell medicines and cosmetics online at a much cheaper cost.
The new-age marketing manager needs to grapple with the opportunities and threats created by social media, eCommerce, big data, globalized business, and mobile technologies and ultimately deliver a great new product or service.
It pays as the most successful among them are headed possibly to CEO or MD levels in the organization.
Procter and Gamble have renamed its marketing department brand management, making them responsible singly for strategy, plans, and results for the brands. That’s how branding communications (Bracomm!) has possibly come about.
This has been a Guide to Marketing Manager. Here we discuss the basic concept, tips to be a successful Marketing Manager. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –