What is marketing all about and what do marketing managers do? Should I consider a career in marketing?
To help answer these questions, you can go to the library and thumb through any introductory marketing textbook. You can look at some of the magazines in the library with titles that include the words marketing or sales or advertising to get an idea about careers in marketing.
In general, marketing is about understanding and satisfying customer needs and wants in a way that provides benefit to the customer, the company, and society. Firms that have a market orientation are externally oriented and their decisions are driven by improving customer value and satisfaction. Of all the business functions, marketing is the only one that generates revenue, while the others are costs to the firm. Marketing managers are responsible for more than developing and executing advertising and sales plans. They are responsible for developing objectives, strategies, and tactics related to pricing, logistics, and channels of distribution. They are responsible for directing the product development of the firm. These areas are commonly called the “4 P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
The following provides an overview of some marketing careers.
Marketing communications includes advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, sponsorship, public relations, and database marketing. Advertising positions include jobs related to the actual creation of an ad (copywriter and art director), as well as positions related to the management of the account, the development of advertising strategy, and the placement of the advertising (account management, consumer researcher, media planner and buyer). Although advertising has traditionally involved creativity, people skills, leadership, and presentation skills, as it has evolved into a more sophisticated business, analytical skills have become more important for some areas of advertising. There are job opportunities in the other areas of marketing communications, as these areas have grown in recent years. In particular, direct marketing and database marketing have become very important in communicating with customers. Database marketing is relatively new and involves the analysis of customer information so that a company can best market to customers on a one to one basis. Database marketing requires strong analytical skills and the ability to think strategically.
Brand and Product Management
These managers plan, direct, and control business and marketing efforts for their products. They are responsible for planning and execution for all of the 4 P’s mentioned above. They must coordinate closely with R &D managers, production/operations managers, finance managers, accounting managers, and senior management. Brand management requires high problem-solving, analytical, presentation, communication, leadership skills as well as the ability to work well with a team. In consumer goods firms, such as Procter and Gamble, a MBA is usually necessary along with some experience in the sales force. In other firms, such as pharmaceutical firms and industrial firms, successful experience in the sales force is the route to product management. Product management is one of the best training grounds for future corporate officers and offers good opportunities to move into international marketing. Because of the requirement for these positions, salaries are relatively high.
Sales and Sales Management
The Marketing Department offers three selling and sales management courses and a Professional Selling Minor. Information about sales careers is provided under that heading.
Retailing provides an early opportunity to assume a wide variety of marketing responsibilities including store management, buyer/merchandiser, salesperson, and department managers. Retailing requires high people, communication, and sales skills. Retail buying requires creativity and analytical skills. Retailers work long hours and starting salaries in retailing tend to be low. However, salaries increase as you are promoted to management and some retail executives use their experience to open their own stores.
Market researchers interact with managers to define business problems, identify the information needed to aid in decisions relative to those problems, decide how to gather the information, analyze that information, and submit research reports to their clients. They must understand psychology, statistics, and sociology. Analyst positions typically require a master’s degree. Client contact personnel (sales) typically have some experience in the operations of the market research firm. Some large firms have their own internal market research department.
Marketing logistics or physical distribution is a growing field due to the increasing importance of reducing logistics costs. There is a growing trend to combine logistics responsibilities and buyers are shifting more inventory management decision-making to sellers. Employers include transportation carriers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and logistics service firms. Quantitative decision-making skills are important for success in the logistics field.