Marketing management is the function and process of managing an organization's marketing budget, personnel, and activities. In general, the goal of marketing management is to effectively and efficiently use resources to increase customer base, improve customer perceptions of the organization's products and services, and help the organization meet its goals and objectives as related to the marketing function. Marketing management is a far-reaching function that encompasses the management of every aspect of the marketing within an organization. The role and scope of the marketing management function varies widely between organizations according to organizational characteristics (e.g., size, corporate culture) and industry.
Not long ago, marketing efforts seemed much less complicated affairs. Stories about rag-and-bone men traveling to a village with a dancing bear to grab attention and advertise themselves depict a simpler time. For better or for worse, 21st century marketing efforts are increasingly complicated. The use of a dancing bear in marketing efforts today might bring fleeting attention from potential customers, but would probably also result in earning the organization a negative reputation as well as the wrath of the ASPCA. Marketing managers today must be concerned with such concepts as branding, integrated marketing communications, marketing mix, and control systems for their sales forces.
Marketing management can be defined as the function and process of managing an organization's marketing budget, personnel, and activities. In general, the goal of marketing management is to effectively and efficiently use the organization's marketing resources to increase customer base, improve customer perceptions of the organization's products and services, and help the organization meet its goals and objectives as related to the marketing function. The role and scope of the marketing management function varies widely between organizations based on organizational characteristics (e.g., size, corporate culture) and industry. For example, a high-end consulting company is unlikely to hawk its services on late night TV in the same way as is done for onion choppers. Similarly, the role of the marketing manager in a small start-up company with only one product to sell is unlikely to be the same as that of the marketing manager in a large company or one with an established and varied product line.
General Marketing Functions
No matter the size or type of the organization or the stage of its products or services, there are certain general classes of activities that marketing functions and their managers need to take into account in order to better help the organization meet its goals and objectives: Analyzing the market and environment to determine how best to focus one's marketing efforts, determining what the optimal target market or market segment is for the particular market and environmental conditions, setting a marketing strategy and develop a marketing plan, determining the proper marketing mix for persuading potential buyers in the target market or segment to purchase the organization's products or services, and controlling the implementation of the strategy and plan. As shown in Figure 1, these efforts are cyclic in nature. To be optimally effective, a marketing manager needs to be constantly engaged in all phases of the process and with refining the marketing plan to better reflect the needs and realities of the real world.
Although marketing has been viewed by some as a purely personality-driven set of activities whose objective is to persuade potential customers to purchase, it is much more than that. Marketing and the management of the marketing function, like other strategic functions within the organization, needs to be created based on a needs assessment and data analysis to determine what the needs of the market are and how best to position one's product or service to meet those needs. The collection and objective analysis of empirical data allow the marketing manager to make reasoned decisions as to the best way to market the products and services of the organization. Based on the collection and analysis of data regarding the needs, wants, buying habits, and other characteristics of the target market, the marketing management team can then develop a marketing strategy that will best enable the organization to meet its marketing objectives.
A number of factors impact the development of a unique strategy for an organization or product line and the development of a concomitant strategic marketing plan (see Figure 2).
- First, the assets and skills that the organization possesses or can readily acquire need to be determined. For example, if an organization selling application software wishes to market itself as a vendor offering superior customer support, it could not do so honestly unless it either had sufficient staff with sufficient time on the payroll to offer such support or could affort to hire the extra personnel needed for such support.
- The development of an effective marketing strategy must also take into account the market drivers for the industry. These are various political, economic, sociocultural, and technological forces that can influence the wants and needs of the consumer base. Increasing reliance on cordless and mobile telephones, for example, might make it a poor strategy for a communications equipment company to focus on the development of more attractive housings for corded phones.
- In addition, marketing management must consider the nature of the competition in the marketplace to help determine whether or not a marketing effort is likely to be successful. Part of the strategic marketing effort is to decide how best to differentiate oneself from the competition and demonstrate that one's product or service is superior to those offered by the competition.
- Not only must one consider the nature of the competition in the marketplace, one must also consider the stage of the market or the industry life cycle when developing a marketing strategy. Some organizations are innovators, and do best when introducing a new product to the marketplace to gain the initial share of the market. While other companies rush to take over some of the market share, innovating companies may be hard at work on another innovative product that can again reshape the demands of the marketplace.
- In addition, there are often strategic windows that affect an organization's ability to successfully compete in the marketplace. These are limited time periods during which there is an optimal fit between the needs of the marketplace and the competencies of the organization. For example, typically only one company can gain a strategic advantage for being the first to market an innovative new product. The...
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