IntroductionSince the year 1991 there has been a total churn in Marketing as a profession. There already exists a body of language. The beauty of marketing is that there will be several non-MBAs also competing for jobs in the same market. They would have had tremendous practical experience that will make them successful. There are hundreds of brands and we need to understand what it takes to build successful brands, switch jobs and so on. This article specially addresses a)The 4Ps of Marketing and their implications b) brand management and advertising c) switching jobs smartly d) Supply Chain Management and e) Marketing of services.
4Ps of MarketingAs early as the year 1960, Management Experts in Marketing came out with the 4Ps framework, that is quite simple to understand. They are a) Product 2) Place 3) Price and 4) Promotion.
Each of these requires separate articles. However here the focus is on careers relating to these. In the Fast Moving Consumer Goods(FMCG) industry, whose products go right into kitchens and bathrooms and rest rooms and to dining tables the world over, there are hugely successful brands, promoted mostly by huge Multinational companies. These companies have huge pockets and promote products at huge cost through advertising. Unilever Limited, the huge Multinational company that is present the world over has so many brands in India. These are all case studies by themselves. For example Hamam, the bath soap is intelligently advertised as a health soap.
As a budding professional, even if you are not part of the action in this huge FMCG company, you can straightaway join a smaller company with a base that extends to say, whole of South India. The entrepreneurs would be raring to go. There will be enough elbow room for you to grow. For example, you can learn about success of smaller brands if you join a company like Kali Mark, a small company in Tamil Nadu, with a presence mostly in South India, fighting it out with successful brands like Bovonto and Vibro Panneer soda. The company has successfully occupied some of the space vacated by Pepsico. Since Cola drinks are not favored by customers, this company has entered into different segments of the same soft drinks market.
If you join such a company, you can learn all about the 4Ps. You might be given roles that will help you to interact with the advertising agencies and even change the positioning. The field is hugely exciting.
A company like Apple Computers, has niche markets in superb products that cannot be easily copied. The product sells by itself through references from existing customers. So your exposure to all the 4Ps of marketing is a must.
Brand Management and AdvertisingYour exposure to management of clients, that is, organizations manufacturing products and seeking to sell them through advertising agencies is a must. This will come if you prove yourself very good in giving accurate customer feedback are intelligent in understanding new customer signals and so on. Managing a brand is a huge task. In Marketing the professionals always talk about what is called the "Positioning". This is a huge task. The brand cannot change the positioning midway. Lux is a beauty soap. Hamam is a health soap. Smaller brands like Power advertise their product for their good "fragrance". Each and every product has a positioning. Your success in these two related and vital aspects of Marketing is vital for you to succeed in the Marketing Management career. These days the onset of information technology has brought in a hugely different dimension of Marketing. There are brands that are sought to be sold online., This is a hugely different ball game altogether and the rules are different. You can even switch to these kind of organizations for two years, to understand the various ramifications. Of course you need to understand that without exposure to brand management and advertising, your career will not take off.
Switching jobs smartlyIf you really want to become a big success in Marketing today, you need to choose the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. Yes, it always operates from a "cost plus"strategy. Even when the better attributes of the product are advertised, the price of the product never ever comes down. For example, toothpastes are manufactured by Dabur an Indian company. They are also manufactured by Colgate and Unilever. The Pathanjali group is a new competitor and has a huge number of products on the "naturally herbal" platform. Imagine a career with some company like this. Your career will expose you to the real world of business, as it were. With the vast eco-system of consumer products, please do not deviate. For example, do not go and join a company manufacturing and marketing televisions. The games are different. The rules are different. You can jump from a soft drinks company to a company famous for a big range of ready-to-eat products including idli and dosa batter, for example. You will have learned the entire gamut of marketing in one ecosystem. Once again, do not join the marketing department of a huge auto ancillary company even if they offer you a very handsome package. The range of marketing will be restricted to Supply Chain Management and you will go nowhere.
Similarly, if you are stuck in some role in any organization, it is essential that you move on. No matter what your present salary is, for the same salary or slightly more, if the learning opportunities and even chances of global exposure is good in another company, just jump. You really do not have any choice.
Never ever talk about careers to anyone within the same organization. Your target should be the competitor. They will be waiting with open hands to hire you, provided they realize that you are going to add value. Your record will speak for itself.
Supply Chain ManagementSupply Chain Management refers to all activities that enable an organization to access all required raw materials with minimum cost and also reach the end customer in the most economic way possible. You must gather this experience from within your existing company. Imagine you are employed with a company selling a small but growing brand of cool drinks. They will have some value chain that is established and will always explore the possibilities of innovating somewhere down the line to cut costs. This is the real action. Your learning should be part of your overall responsibilities and if you slog it out, you can easily attain success.
Marketing of ServicesHuge Retail chains like Big Bazaar, More of the Aditya Birla Group, the Reliance group and so on are into a range of services. If this interests you, there is no reason why you should not join any of these organizations and work your way up. Please do remember, this career will always be in the services ecosystem and you might land up in resorts and hotels or in tourist organizations. It is very unlikely that you can enter into FMCG organizations, as the games and rules and the entire ecosystem itself has too many different variables.
However this career in retail management is a huge career by itself. Once you know the rules of the game, it becomes easy for you to choose a career.
ConclusionA very important point that needs to be noted is that the FMCG markets are always connected with customers on the street. The kirana fellow may sell the product, but the product directly goes to the customer. You need to understand everything about this target customer as you go along. For example, customer fatigue about some attribute is a real possibility. To enable customer loyalty and secure the niche, the product itself may have to include certain new attributes, by playing around the existing value proposition.
You will learn everything in the real world. Marketing is the most exiting profession to be in. So if you are a budding MBA, even from a University/College, get right into the action and enjoy all the learning.
All the very best.
Marketing is the backbone of sales volume of a company. A marketing professional should be aware of all the products equivalent to his company's product and their relative demand in the market. This is essential as you do not know when the other company's item starts eating into the market share of your company.
Marketing people are the link between manufacturers and the customers and it depends solely on their acumen that the sales figure of the company increases ahead of all similar products in the market.
So learning good marketing skills is very necessary not only to survive in the business world but also to improve the bottom line of the company.
Just acquiring a marketing degree will do no good until an individual makes effort in updating himself every day by indulging in self-education. Theoretical knowledge of marketing is very much different than the marketing that actually goes on in the real world. If you want to rank high you need to do every possible work that will keep you ahead of everyone and for that, you need to regularly read white papers and various blogs. From the pool of information available online, you can learn the marketing skills necessary to maintain your position among others. Blogging and tweeting are captivating everyone's mind. Top-notch marketers are participating actively in these activities and providing essential information and updating essential data every hour. Why not make use of it?
Marketing business is a challenging one as it does not remain constant. It changes and change takes place at a quick pace. Change in the marketing world is mainly because of the change witnessed in the behavior of customers and the introduction of innovative technologies on the internet. If one wants to become successful in a marketing career, one has to never give up on learning.
Marketing is a large area, though it may appear very simple and straight to us. The very basic thing is to make people buy our product. The product may be new and never tested, may be a variant or improvement of an already existing product. The marketing personnel's duty is to make people buy the product even if it is a totally useless one. The first one is to create a demand where there is none or partial and vague. Then make it appear as if it is a prized possession and make it seemingly easily affordable. Even if the pricing is high, smart marketing can make it attractive by 'offers', exchanges, deferred payment,tied-up financing, and EMI facilities. The next is to see that repeat buying is happening in case of FMCGs.
Marketing needs a lot of surveys, field intelligence, and feedback, strategic pacing and pricing, appearance and presentation, advertising,after-sales service etc.
As the article above concludes "Marketing is the most exciting profession to be in". But for that one needs to be equipped and enthusiastic to become enriched with experience and expertise.