The Real Marketing Management – it’s NOT what you think it is
Educating young adults in the fields of Marketing and Business Management at a tertiary level for many years has alerted me to some disturbing public perceptions and unyielding “truths”.
Many of these perceptions have come from enrolled students themselves, who despite having undergone the process of registering to study at a degree level, do not quite know what it is that they have enrolled for.
Were they not educated and guided by their teachers or parents? With finger-tip access to the internet, is it unreasonable to consider that the student themselves would perform some much-necessary research into a career that they intend to perform life-long service to?
I’ve heard Marketing Management referred to as gimmicks used to convince people to buy your products or designing cool advertisements and sometimes even selling techniques. In all fairness, there is very little accurate information out there about Marketing Management and these interpretations of Marketing Management are not completely unfounded. One could say that Marketing Management includes these references. However, a few questions at a reputable business school should give clarity to the confusion.
The biggest misconception I have come across is that one can become a Marketer with a six-month “quick-fix” online course. You might learn a few selling techniques but you won’t learn the true essence of the mastery that is Marketing Management.
Marketing Management has been suggested as an option to some students who, for one reason or another, struggle with quantitative subjects. What the suggestor fails to recognise, is the sheer volumes of quantitative work involved in Marketing Management and its absolute necessity in the success of the role. It’s ignorance leading these students into a career path that they know little about.
Psychology and Marketing Management have bafflingly been used interchangeably. This may explain the inexplicable of why some psychology graduates end up managing a marketing function. How successful they are in this role is highly questionable. Even worse, however, are the numerous salespeople, who, without proper training, or enough experience, drive marketing functions on sales rules.
Real Marketing Management is diverse and rewarding; it is an integral part of any business that wishes to prosper, grow, and sustain an ongoing competitive advantage.
1. It’s an art and a science
Most professional work is, to an extent, linear work with a singular focus – accounting or law as examples.
Marketing Management requires a multi-focal approach with consideration given to all stakeholders, the community, and all functions of the business. If ever there was a need for an all-rounded brain, this is it.
Working in Marketing Management requires both creativity and innovation and as well as an analytical mind that can research and gather data, convert it to information and extract, analyse, and interpret it. All factors in the environment need to be considered in a holistic and systemic approach. This is the exciting world of marketing and business science.
2. Its high-level work
Sure, most of us start at the bottom and work our way up, but up you will go. Marketing Practitioners are usually involved in higher-level decision making such as the process of determining the vision and mission of a business, converting that mission into realistic long-term goals and objectives, and finding the best growth strategy to get the business on the best path for prosperity. All practitioners research the root causes of problems that stifle the health or growth of the entity being studied – the business, the organisation, the human body and so on.
In the case of Marketing Practitioners, each strategy being considered will need to be evaluated from financial, marketing, social, and other points of view. Such evaluations require analytical and reflective approaches that Marketing Practitioners will need to acquire and develop through practice.
To put it bluntly, individuals lacking in sufficient marketing and business training or experience will lack the tools or the expertise to analyse and resolve business or marketing problems that the modern business world is having to deal with.
3. You need to know your business inside and out
Marketing Management is not a standalone course, you need to be a “jack of all trades” to truly succeed. This means a thorough understanding of accounting and financial management, business management, communication, and even a solid foundation in economics, operations management, and South African local law and regulations. It sounds like a lot of work for marketing management students, and it is.
An essential part of the Marketing Manager’s role is aligning every business function so that each function, from Procurement to Sales and Outbound Logistics, are all on the same page regarding the bigger picture envisioned for the business. All business functions are required to create a strategy that aligns with the business’ overall strategy and implement and control it as required for ultimate success.
The work is challenging and rewarding as you are designing, mapping, and managing the future. This is a far cry from the simplistic approach taken by some tertiary educators who are unwilling to mould real marketing managers, which have resulted in some “superficial” individuals who lack any kind of relevant skill to face a business’ real problems.
4. You build lifelong relationships
Marketing Managers are required to maintain open and honest communication lines with their suppliers, shareholders, employees, suppliers, and most importantly their customers.
Customers that return again and again are the backbone of successful businesses and every Marketer strives to achieve this by keeping their customers satisfied. Marketing Management is not for the socially awkward or shy – soft skills such as speaking publicly, leadership, verbal and written communication, and others are required for the easier fulfilment of the role. They need to be approachable, have passable negotiation skills and an uncanny ability to see through hot air.
5. Your grow and learn every day
New developments and trends are emerging regularly, and the evolving nature of Marketing Management requires constant upskilling. As a Marketer, you can anticipate a life-long learning process that is highly rewarding both intrinsically and financially.