Marketing management is a business discipline which is focused on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of a firm’s marketing resources and activities. The marketing manager of a company plays an important role as far as marketing of the firm’s products and services are concerned. Apart from this, marketing managers are often responsible for influencing the level, timing and composition of customer demand accepted definition of term. It is worth noting that the roles of a marketing manager can vary significantly based on a business’ size, corporate culture and industry concept. However, we will discuss about the general roles that all marketing manager independent of any business performs. These key roles of a marketing manager will be analysed in depth below:
Carrying out of Marketing research
The first and most important role of a marketing manager is to carry out marketing research and analysis. The marketing manager should do a thorough marketing research and analysis in order to possess a detailed understanding of their own business and the market in which they are operating so as to make fact-based decisions regarding, marketing strategy and design effective, cost-efficient implementation programs. The latter has to know whether his company is operating in a monopolistic market which is characterise by a large number of buyers and only one seller, in a perfectly competitive market which is characterise by a large number of buyers and a large number of sellers selling homogenous or partially differentiated product or in an oligopolistic market which is characterise by few suppliers for the same product. The marketing manager should be able to determine the market in which his company is operating in order to adopt marketing strategies that will prove to be effective and profitable for the company. The marketing manager should also know the microenvironment and macroenvironment factors that can influence the company sales. Examples of microenvironment factors are direct and indirect competition, influence of suppliers and influence of customers; and examples of macroenvironment factors are economic forces, political forces, natural/physical factors, legal and regulatory forces, technological forces and socio-cultural factors.
Develop marketing strategies and plan
The marketing manager should develop marketing strategies and plan. He needs to identify the company potential long-run opportunities given its market experience and core competencies. After the company’s strengths and weaknesses have been analyse in order to determine which opportunities it can best pursue, that marketing manager should develop a marketing strategy that will help the company attain its overall strategic objectives. If the product is facing difficulty in the product life cycle, the marketing manager should be able to design a product with better features so that the product does not sink on the market but rather regenerate on the market. In addition to this, a marketing manager can also use the company core competencies to design a line of the product. To better explain this, let’s take for example a company making camera, the marketing manager can use the company core competency in optics to design a line of binoculars and telescopes. Moreover, a marketing manager can develop a concrete marketing plan that specifies the marketing strategy and tactics.
Capturing marketing insights
A marketing manager is also responsible for capturing marketing insights. To understand what is happening inside and outside the company, the marketing manager needs a reliable marketing Information System. The Marketing Information System is a framework for day-to-day management and structuring of information gathered regularly from sources both inside and outside an organization. MIS provide a continuous flow of information considered relevant to marketing managers. An MIS has got three components namely an internal records system, which includes information on the order-to-payment cycle and sales reporting systems; a marketing intelligence system, a set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment; a marketing research system that allows for the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation.
The marketing manager needs to be able to monitor the six major environmental forces: demographic, economic, social-cultural, natural, technological and political-legal. In the demographic environment, the marketing manager must be aware of worldwide population growth; changing mixes of age, ethnic composition and educational levels; the rise of non-traditional families; large geographic shifts in population and the move to micromarketing and way from mass marketing.
In the economic environment, marketing managers need to focus on the distribution of income within the society and the levels of savings, debt and credit availability and finally inflation within the economy.
In the socio-cultural environment, the marketing manager must understand what people think of themselves, of others, of the organizations, of the society and of the world. The marketing manager should market a product that correspond to the society’s core and secondary values and satisfy the needs of the different subcultures that may exists within the society.
In the natural environment, the marketing manager need to be aware of raw materials shortages, the rise in energy costs and the pollution levels and the changing role of the governments in environmental protection.
In the technological environment, the marketing manager should take into consideration the fast emerging rate of technological change, opportunities for innovation and the rise in governmental regulation brought about by the technological changes.
Finally, in the political-legal environment, the marketing manager must work according to the many laws regulating business practices and with various special interests groups.
Connecting with customers
Customers are very important as far as buying of the product and creating its goodwill are concerned. However, a marketing manager should consider how to best create value, satisfaction and loyalty for its chosen target markets and develop strong, long-term relationships with customers. Customers are said to be value-maximizes and they form an expectation of value and act on it. Marketing manager should be able to know how to satisfy its customers as customers will prefer to buy from those firms that they perceive to offer the highest customer-delivered value which is defined as the difference between total customer value and total customer cost.
Moreover, a marketing manager should aim for total consumer satisfaction both as a goal and a marketing tool as losing profitable customers can drastically affect a firm’s profits. The costs for attracting new customers are estimated to be five times higher the costs of retaining a customer and keep the latter happy. Customers rather seek for quality product, therefore a marketing manager should participate in formulating strategies and policies designed to help the company succeed by achieving total quality excellence and secondly the marketing manager must deliver marketing quality together with production quality. In addition to this, since companies are becoming skilled in Customer Relationship Management(CRM), which rather take into account how to meet the individual needs of valued customers. The marketing manager should see to it that a customer database is set up and thus data minding can be done in order to detect trends, segments and individual needs.
Building strong brands
Branding of a product is very important as far as the product displaying characteristics are concerned. However, great attention should be given as far as branding of the product is concerned. Yet, the marketing manager bearing this fact in mind, must understand the weakness and strengths of the product brand with customers. He must pay great attention to its competitors, anticipating their moves and knowing how to react quickly and decisively and anticipates how the competitors will react to his moves. The marketing manager should know how to improve product branding so as to attract customers as branding is the only thing that can attract customers’ attention. Customers sometimes attach great importance to branding and therefore a marketing manager should know what strategy to adopt as far as branding of his product is concerned.
Shaping the market offerings
Apart from providing the product quality, design, features and packaging, the marketing manager can also provide various services, such as delivery repair and training for examples. These supports can provide competitive advantage in the global market. Customers feel to be on the safe side when they get to know that the company’s role does not end after the product has been sold to them but rather has support from the latter. Therefore, marketing manager should see to it that his company provides services that customers are seeking and that competitors are not willing to provide.
Moreover, a critical marketing decision relates to price, the marketing manager has to decide on wholesale and retail prices and allowances. Prices should be equal with the offer’s perceived value otherwise, buyers will turn to competitor’s products.
The marketing manager must also determine how to properly deliver the value embodied by the product he is delivering and services to the target market. He must identify, recruit and link various marketing facilitators to supply its product and services efficiently to the target market. The marketing manager must understand the various types of retailers, wholesalers and physical-distribution firms and how they make their decision. The marketing manager should choose the best marketing channel so as his product reaches customer’s sight.
Apart from delivering value, the marketing manager must also adequately communicate the value embodied by its products and services to the target market. He must do marketing communications activities in order to inform, persuade and remind consumers directly or indirectly about the brands they sell.
Moreover, the marketing manager has to develop an integrated marketing communication program that maximizes the individual and collective contribution programs consisting of advertising, sales promotion, events and public relations. He has also to set up more personal communications in the form of direct and interactive marketing and must also hire, train and motivate sales people.
In order to develop an effective communications, the marketing manger has to identify the target audience, determine the communications objectives, design the communications, select the communications channels, establish the total communications budget, decide on the communication mix, measure the communications result and finally manage the integrated marketing communications process.
Creating long-term growth
Once a company has already segmented the market, chosen its target market and identified their needs and determined its desired market positioning, it is ready to develop and launch appropriate new products. The marketing manager should take a long-term view of the company’s products and brands and how its profits should be grown.
Based on its product positioning, the marketing manager must initiate new-product development, testing and launching. However, it is worth noting that he needs to see that the strategy adopted takes into account changing global opportunities and challenges. The marketing manager needs also to organize its marketing resources and implement and control the marketing plan. He should also see to it that the company built a marketing organization that is capable of implementing the marketing plan.
Due to surprises and disappointments that can occur as marketing plans are implemented, the marketing manager will need feedback and control in order to monitor the implementation of the product on the market. Last but not the least, the marketing manager should do marketing evaluation and control process in order to understand the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing activities and how both could be improved.
To conclude, one can say that the most important “actor” that exists within a company’s four walls is the marketing manager as everything lies on his shoulders. The marketing manager has got lot of responsibilities and if one of these responsibilities is not performed accordingly, it is the whole company that will be affected. Therefore, a marketing manager needs to work effectively and efficiently as the company’s product reputation and sales lies between his hands. If the marketing managers adopt good marketing strategy, the company will earn lots of profits, but however, if the latter does not take good marketing measures and adopt good marketing strategies and plans, the company can go bankrupt. On this conclusive note, it can be said that the marketing manager of a company has got a load of responsibility to do and if someone wants to become a marketing manager, he needs to know all these before entering this world of high competition.