How do you know if your product or services would be of any interest to your customers? How do you determine the best marketing strategy that would help you target the right customers, generate quality leads, and constantly deliver value to both your customers and industry? This is where marketing management comes into play.

In this guide, we would look at what marketing management is and how to do it right. 

This is what we would be looking at in this article:

  • Definition of marketing management
  • The role of marketing in business
  • Structure of marketing management
  • The fundamentals of marketing management
  • Marketing management: SWOT analysis
  • Arms of marketing management

Let’s get started.

Definition of marketing management 

According to marketing expert Philip Kotler, “Marketing management is the art and science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping, and growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value”.

Another definition from the American Association of Marketing defines it “as the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services in order to create, exchange and satisfy individual and organizational objectives”.

In simple terms, marketing management is concerned with developing techniques and processes to help a business reach its business/marketing goals.

These goals can be any of the following three:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Increase in sales volume
  • Increase in organizational revenue and profits

This discipline aims at managing a firm’s resources and activities. 

The role of marketing in business

Before we get into the process and structure of marketing management, we should first see a summary of marketing in business. 

When you ask individuals outside the marketing department what they think marketing is all about, you would hear things like branding and advertisement. This is because marketing communications is usually the most visible part of any marketing strategy. 

Marketing is much more than this. Communications is just one part of a whole engine. The marketing mix consists of a whole lot more.

Role of marketing in business

It doesn’t even matter if a business has a marketing department or not, they must engage in some form of marketing to locate their target customers, attract customers, deliver value, grow their business, and meet the company’s goals.

In summary, marketing is composed of four key components. These components are called the marketing P’s. They are product, place, price, and promotion. 

The reason why most people view marketing as mainly promotional is because it’s the most visible part to anyone outside the business. To develop a successful marketing strategy, you would need to consider all four parts of the equation

This marketing p’s become much more important when you get involved in international marketing. To engage in business on a global scale, you need to efficiently market your product or service. 

In all, what you should note is that as a marketer, your primary goal is to deliver value to your customer while meeting your business goals.

Structure of marketing management

There are two key strategies that marketing management uses to analyze the industry in which the firm operates for increased efficiency. They include economic and competitive strategy.

In competitive analysis, this is the system that marketing managers make use of:

  • Researching and creating a detailed profile of each competitor in the industry
  • Using SWOT analysis to determine the strength and weakness of each competition. (We look into SWOT analysis later in the article)
  • In-depth analysis of competitors’ resources, source of revenue, cost structure, competitive positioning, and other factors. 

Marketers also use several techniques to conduct research. The most used techniques include:

  • Qualitative market research: This kind of research makes use of focus groups and interview sessions with customers. 
  • Quantitative market research: This kind of research would make use of statistical surveys, customer surveys, and the use of questionnaires.
  • Experimental techniques: This involves using a test market to determine the viability of a product in a mass market.

Along with these research techniques, marketers would also make use of competitive intelligence analysis to identify the developing trends in the market or industry. 

Brand audit

This is another significant aspect of the marketing process. 

A brand audit helps you to examine your business so as to understand your standing when compared to your competitors and also the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. 

A brand audit would help you determine if your business market share is increasing or decreasing. You would be able to examine your profit margin and market share when compared to your competitors.

A brand audit also investigates if you are receiving a positive return on investments, assesses a brand’s reputations, and evaluates your business’s financial strengths. 

The main goal of a brand audit is to determine if a business resources consists more of competitive assets or competitive liabilities. 

When running a brand audit, these are the questions you need to answer:

  1. How is your current brand strategy working?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business?
  3. What are the threats your business is facing and the external opportunities you have access to?
  4. How competitive are business prices and costs of doing business?
  5. How strong is your business position when compared to your competition?
  6. What are the strategic issues that your business is facing?

The fundamentals of marketing management

When marketing, there are several approaches that could be used to reach the final goal. 

In one approach, the focus could be on communicating to the customer using several channels like social media. (Read on how to increase your brand’s Instagram discoverability)

At other times, marketing management focuses on received feedback and customer sentiments so as to improve the quality of a product, optimize prices of products, and manage the brand’s image. 

For the marketing department to be effective they would also have to work with other departments like sales and partner with influencers to see considerable growth. 

Marketing management process

The marketing management process consists of a system that is used in generating ideas, implementing these ideas, and then analyzing them to ensure an optimum ROI, and then starting the process all over again. 

Marketing is an information hub. Marketing management simply facilitates the flow of information from the customers to the company so that the marketing mix can be adjusted in the interest of delivering value to the customer and creating profit for the business. 

This flow causes marketing management to follow a simple three-step process: ideas, work, and results

Ideas

The first step to creating a marketing campaign is idea generation. You would need to source for new ideas that you add to your marketing mix to optimize the entire process. These ideas must have a significant impact on giving the customers value and growing the business.

Work

After brainstorming ideas, the next step would be creating a system to start developing them. You can use your marketing department to implement these ideas or indirectly through other company functions. 

Results 

You need to monitor your marketing results to see what is working and the areas that need improvement. These data would serve as feedback to help you optimize the process moving forward. 

Marketing management: SWOT analysis

When creating a marketing process, there are certain factors that determine the growth strategy the company should implement. 

These strategies are divided into two factors.

  • Two internal factors: strengths (S) and weaknesses (W)
  • Two external factors: opportunities (O) and threats(T)

Combining these factors for market analysis are called SWOT analysis.

Marketing management: SWOT analysis

Source: Wordstream

When should you use SWOT

SWOT-analysis helps a business to determine the best way to use the resources at its disposal to grow its business. 

It helps a business to identify their weakness, opportunity for brand growth, market opportunities, business strength, and how to identify a threat and avoid it. 

How to use SWOT

Use the image below as a template to get started.

SWOT analysis template

The next step would be to gather a team from different departments in your organization and identify the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, or Threat your business face. 

After identifying them, the next step would be to write them down in the relevant grid using the template above. 

Let’s look at each of the factors in detail:

Strength

Strengths are the areas where your organization excels in. Your strengths are what gives you an edge over your competition. Your strengths can be anything from customer relationship, effective manufacturing process, company culture, and motivation of staff.

Your strengths are what drives your business and makes it tick. Your strengths should answer why your business is better than your competition. 

One thing that should be added to your strengths section should be your unique selling proposition or value proposition. 

Note that you can only call something as strength strength when it gives you a visible advantage over your competition. For example, if your competitors have a low production cost, then having a low production cost also is not a strength but a necessity. 

Weaknesses

For a SWOT analysis to be effective, you need to be honest with yourself. You need to get all the necessary information to achieve success. 

It is important that you tell yourself the truth and face your weaknesses before it becomes too late.

Just like strengths, every business would have its weaknesses. These weaknesses can be in the form of inadequate systems, lack of resources, the skillset of the individuals in the company, and features of your organization. You need to define your weaknesses so you can realize the areas that need improving.

One way to define your weakness is by accessing your competitors and examining the ways they are better than you. 

Opportunities 

The success of every business lies in how well you can take chances that can lead to the growth of your business. 

Most of the time, these opportunities lie outside your business and it takes a keen eye to observe these changes or trends and claim it.

When you are able to observe opportunities for growth outside your business, you get a competitive advantage over your competitors. Exploiting opportunities on time can give you a headstart over your competitors and help you gain a large percentage of the market share. 

You should always be on the lookout for the latest marketing trends that can give your business a significant boost. 

Other things you should be on the lookout out for are: changes in government policies, lifestyle habits, social patterns, technological shifts, etc.

Threats

Anything that can affect the growth of your business from the outside is a threat. It is important that you identify these threats on time and take measures to combat them before they hurt the growth of your business. 

The ever-changing nature of technology can be a threat if you do not anticipate them. To stay in the lead, you need to brainstorm the obstacles that you might face as you develop your marketing strategy. 

Threats can be anything from changes in market requirements, supply chain difficulties, change in consumer tastes, government policies, tax laws, bad-debt, cash flow problems, or shortage in recruits.

Example of a completed SWOT analysis
Examples of SWOT analysis

Arms of marketing management

Marketing management controls both the leadership and marketing function of a business. It is designed to help a business grow and sell its products and services effectively. 

The following are the common arms or parts of marketing management:

Different arms of marketing management

Marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy is what helps you to define your business goals and allows you to develop a system that helps you achieve these goals. 

The first step to creating your marketing strategy is defining the goals you want to achieve. It helps you to effectively develop a system that would help you grow your business.

When writing a marketing strategy, these are the boxes it should tick:

  • Your marketing strategy should describe the product and services you offer
  • It should describe the position of your product or service in the overall market
  • It should explain the tactics that you would use in your marketing
  • It should give a detailed overview of your customers and competition
Steps of marketing strategy

These are five steps that would help you get started with your marketing strategy:

1. Perform a situation analysis: These are questions you need to answer to perform a situation analysis –

  • What and who are you selling too?
  • Who are your main competitors and what is their unique value proposition?
  • Perform SWOT analysis. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that might affect your business.
  • How do you deliver your product?

2. Discover your target audience: It is important that you define the target audience that would make use of your product or service. You should look into things like audience demographics, market size, and social trends. 

3. List your marketing goals: Writing down your marketing goals makes it attainable. Ensure that the goals that you set are reachable. A good goal would be getting your company’s website to the top of the search engine. It’s a great goal because 33% of the traffic on the search engines goes to the first result

4. Create a marketing system: After developing your marketing goals, you need to create a system to help you reach these goals. Are you going to make use of social media, email marketing, or other forms of traditional marketing like billboard advertising? Your system helps keep you in check and also analyze if you are on the right track or not. 

5. Set a budget: Your marketing system won’t be of any use if you do not have a budget to cover the expenses. Your costs can be anything from running a social media campaign to hiring a new marketing manager. If your budget cannot cover your costs, adjust your tactics accordingly. 

Business development

Business development consists of any tasks or activity that is implemented to bring about the growth of a business. These activities create long-term value for both the customers, the market and the organization itself.

Business development is any activity that aims to develop a company. Business activities can be handled internally or by an external body. 

Business development integrates the functions of the marketing, research and development, production, and sales department to ensure that the company successfully implements its growth strategy

Brand management

Brand management is the planning and analysis of how a brand’s image would be perceived by the public. 

A tangible element that brand management looks at is the product; it’s price, packaging, customer appeal, etc. The intangible elements would include things like customer experience and the relationship the customers have with the brand.

Hislop defined branding as ” the process of creating a relationship or connection between a company’s product and emotional perception of the customer for the purpose of generating segregation among competition and building loyalty among customers.”

Product development

Product development involves the stages of bringing a product from just being an idea to the stage where it is released to the market. It incorporates every stage of the buyer’s journey

Product development works with several teams across the company, from product management, marketing, design, manufacturing, testing, and shipping or distribution. 

The stages involved in product development are:

  • Identifying a market need
  • Conceptualizing the product
  • Designing the product
  • Creating a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Testing the MVP
  • Releasing the MVP to users
  • Iterating based on the feedback from users. 

Product marketing

This is the immediate stage that comes after conceptualizing and creating a new product. It entails the activities that brings a product to the market and oversees its success. 

Product marketing definition

The work of a product marketer occurs in two stages, before and after a product launch. 

Before a product launch, product marketers would be concerned with product sensitization, positioning, receiving customer feedback, and creation of the go-to product marketing strategy. 

After a product launch, product marketers would be in charge of driving demand for the product, sales enablement, and ensuring the overall success of the product. 

Additional reading: Thinking of starting a podcast show? This is a list of the best podcast hosts online.

International marketing  

International marketing is the activities involved in bringing a company’s products or services to a foreign market. In simple terms, international marketing is undertaking marketing activities in more than one nation. For a more in-depth review, read this guide on international marketing

Creative and promotion

This department is concerned with developing marketing strategies that would boost a business. These strategies range from using social media, content marketing, and content marketing to promote a brand’s product or service. 

The creative promotion department is concerned with telling people about the brand and spreading brand messaging using creative and inventive methods. For a new startup, this department is very important.

Media relations

Media relations involves working with the media to involve customers and the public of organization products, policies, practices, in a creative, credible, and consistent manner. 

The main aim of media relations is to strengthen and improve the image of a brand by putting it in company articles, interviews, or outside publications. Media relations is in charge of coordinating or producing the news featured in mass media. 

Customer service

Customer service is the provision of services to a customer before, during, and after a purchase. It is the act of helping take care of a customer’s needs by providing professional and high-quality assistance. 

In simple terms, customer service is meeting the needs and desires of the customer. 

Customer service is very important because it improves customer loyalty and can increase the amount of money a customer spends with your business. 

Customer marketing

Customer marketing focuses on improving the consumer experience of your current customers so as to improve retention and growth. The system relies on effectively engaging customers.

Customer retention is very important to ensure business growth. It is five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. 

Marketing operations

Marketing operations is a collective term that describes every marketing activity that helps a business to operate and scale efficiently. It involves the processes of creating, manufacturing and promoting products.

Sales

Sales involves all the activities that are required to sell a product or service to a customer or another business. The sales team of every organization is divided into different teams. 

Three different factors determine which team a sales personnel would be placed in: 

  • The region they would be selling to
  • The product or service they are selling
  • And finally, the target customer

For a sales team to be efficient they need a efficient sales tools and plan that outlines the goals and plans of the organization. 

Which tips or strategies did you think I should have added that is not in this article? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. Let’s have a conversation!!

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