Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Marketing Communication Primer – What’s The Future? - Series

Marketing Communication – What’s The Future? - Series

Today I am starting this new series on my blog on Marketing communication, What’s the future?


With the B-Schools still teaching 4 Ps of marketing to MBA students while preparing them for businesses, the students face a stark reality when they sit for Interviews. They realize within 2 minutes of interview, that this is not what the companies are looking for.

Wow! “I worked my ass off to learn so much about marketing in my B-School and you are telling me this is not what you are looking for?” – This could be a reality check question running in mind of any B-School passout. Well the cruel answer is “YES”.

Do we blame the education for this mismatch? “No”. Then what do we do?

This series of Marketing Communication primer is going to help all fresh graduates, Marcom professionals, Strategic Marketing Professionals and Hiring Managers to see the difference in various levels of marketing, as well as, what’s the NEXT big things in Marketing to look for.

Causes for aberration:-

The prime reason why people get confused or are not well prepared for what they are looking for in their role in marketing is the lack of understanding about the two levels of Marketing.

Two Broad Levels of Marketing:
1. Strategic Marketing attempts to determine how an organization competes against its competitors in a market place. In particular, it aims at generating a competitive advantage relative to its competitors.
2. Operational Marketing executes marketing functions to attract and keep customers and to maximize the value derived for them, as well as to satisfy the customer with prompt services and meeting the customer expectations. Operational Marketing includes the determination of the marketing mix.

It’s very important for people to understand that Strategic Marketing is a function of a Sr. Marketing Professionals where the person in charge has very well mastered the Operational Marketing.

Demystifying Strategic Marketing:- In simple words it’s the Visioning Strategy linked with the execution planning. This would require the below mentioned functions:
a) Understanding Business Objectives / Goals
-Annual X % increase in revenue of a product line
-Retention and growth of Y accounts in Z geography.
-A % market share for this service / product.
-C no of competitor accounts to be captured etc.
These are some examples of wider business goals that a CEO would have in his mind.

b) Converting these business goals into plans like:- Annual / Bi-Annual / 5 Yearly, is what a senior Marketing Professional (marketing and sales director/VP/SVP) would look at and come up with a strategic plan to support the larger business objectives.
-Identifying milestones in the plan.
-Broad annual metrics to be achieved based on sales data from past or industry averages etc. these are few examples to illustrate.

c) Execution Strategy: - This is is one of the most neglected portion from a strategic perspective. Ram Charan, Author of book, Execution, stresses on this point in his book and calls execution as an essential part of strategy.
Without a clearly defined execution strategy all this is just a Bird’s Eye-view approach to say things. A very clearly defined execution strategy and plan is something which can really make these things happen. The execution strategy might look at various activities which can support the annual plans in the previous step.
-Resources required – Hiring/Training etc
-Commission and incentive buffers / Employee benefits
-Media strategy
-IT Infrastructure
-Strategic Alliances and partnerships etc.
-Tactical challenges and solutions

d) Handover of Plans:- Communicating the plans company wide to ensure effective information dissemination etc. Continuous follow-up etc.

Demystifying Operational Marketing:- In simple words, leveraging various channels / media, to generate demand and achieve organizational objectives.

4 Ps of marketing:
In popular usage, "marketing" is the promotion of products, especially advertising and branding. However, in professional usage the term has a wider meaning which recognizes that marketing is customer centered. Products are often developed to meet the desires of groups of customers or even, in some cases, for specific customers. E. Jerome McCarthy divided marketing into four general sets of activities. His typology has become so universally recognized that his four activity sets, the Four Ps, have passed into the language.
The four Ps are:
-Product: The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support.
-Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary - it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, psychology or attention.
-Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling, and refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
-Placement or distribution refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point of sale placement or retailing. This fourth P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or services is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc.
I am not going to focus on these 4 Ps of marketing, however, I would keep them in mind as well as showcase the Future of Marketing Communication to all.

Closing Remarks:- In my coming postings: while these 4 Ps might be the basis for operational marketing I will introduce the
-5th P of Marketing.
-4 “A”s of Marketing
-Web and Internet as Business Models of Future marketing
-Newer and Exciting Channels and Media of marketing
-New strategies for Business Development
-Strategic Advances in positioning

And more…Please share your comments to help me improve my postings.

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