Marketing Management Tasks

Figure 1.7 summarizes the three major market forces, two key market outcomes, and four fundamental pillars of holistic marketing that help to capture the new marketing realities. With these concepts in place, we can identify a specific set of tasks that make up successful marketing management and marketing leadership. We’ll use the fol­lowing situation to illustrate these tasks in the context of the plan of the book. (The “Marketing Memo: Marketers’ Frequently Asked Questions” is a good checklist for the questions marketing managers ask, all of which we examine in this book.)

Zeus Inc. (name disguised) operates in several industries, including chemicals, cameras, and film. The company is organized into SBUs. Corporate management is considering what to do with its Atlas camera division, which produces a range of professional quality 35mm and consumer-friendly digital cameras. Although Zeus has a sizable share and is producing revenue, the 35mm market is rapidly declining at an accelerating rate. In the much faster-growing digital camera segment, Zeus faces strong competition and has been slow to gain sales. Zeus’s corporate management wants Atlas’s marketing group to produce a strong turnaround plan for the division.

1. DEVELOPING MARKETING STRATEGIES AND PLANS

The first task facing Atlas is to identify its potential long-run opportunities, given its market experience and core competencies (see Chapter 2). Atlas can design its cameras with better features. It can make a line of digital video cameras, or it can use its core competency in optics to design a line of binoculars and telescopes. Whichever direction it chooses, it must develop concrete marketing plans that specify the marketing strategy and tactics going forward.

2. CAPTURING MARKETING INSIGHTS

Atlas needs a reliable marketing information system to closely monitor its marketing environment so it can continually assess market potential and forecast demand. Its microenvironment consists of all the players who affect its ability to produce and sell cameras—suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers, and competitors. Its macro environment includes demographic, economic, physical, technological, political-legal, and social-cultural forces that affect sales and profits (see Chapter 3).

Atlas also needs a dependable marketing research system. To transform strategy into programs, marketing managers must make basic decisions about their expenditures, activities, and budget allocations. They may use sales-response functions that show how the amount of money spent in each application will affect sales and profits (see Chapter 4).

3. CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS

Atlas must consider how to best create value for its chosen target markets and develop strong, profitable, long-term relationships with customers (see Chapter 5). To do so, it needs to understand consumer markets (see Chapter 6). Who buys cameras, and why? What features and prices are they looking for, and where do they shop? Atlas also sells 35mm cameras to business markets, including large corporations, professional firms, retailers, and government agencies (see Chapter 7), where purchasing agents or buying committees make the decisions. Atlas needs to gain a full understanding of how organizational buyers buy. It needs a sales force well trained in presenting product ben­efits. Atlas must also take into account changing global opportunities and challenges (see Chapter 8).

4. BUILDING STRONG BRANDS

Atlas will not want to market to all possible customers. It must divide the market into major market segments, eval­uate each one, and target those it can best serve (see Chapter 9). Suppose Atlas decides to focus on the consumer market and develop a positioning strategy (see Chapter 10). Should it position itself as the “Cadillac” brand, offer­ing superior cameras at a premium price with excellent service and strong advertising? Should it build a simple, low-priced camera aimed at more price-conscious consumers? Or something in between? Atlas must understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Zeus brand as customers see it (see Chapter 11). Is its 35mm film heritage a handicap in the digital camera market?

Atlas must consider growth strategies while also paying close attention to competitors (see Chapter 12), antici­pating their moves and knowing how to react quickly and decisively. It may want to initiate some surprise moves, in which case it needs to anticipate how its competitors will respond.

5. MARKETING MEMO Marketers’ Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can we spot and choose the right market segment(s)?
  2. How can we differentiate our offerings?
  3. How should we respond to customers who buy on price?
  4. How can we compete against lower-cost, lower-price competitors?
  5. How far can we go in customizing our offering for each customer?
  6. How can we grow our business?
  7. How can we build stronger brands?
  8. How can we reduce the cost of customer acquisition?
  9. How can we keep our customers loyal longer?
  10. How can we tell which customers are more important?
  11. How can we measure the payback from different types of marketing communications?
  12. How can we improve sales force productivity?
  13. How can we establish multiple channels and yet manage channel conflict?
  14. How can we get the other company departments to be more customer-oriented?

6. CREATING VALUE

At the heart of the marketing program is the product—the firm’s tangible offering to the market, which includes the product quality, design, features, and packaging (see Chapter 13). To gain a competitive advantage, Atlas may provide leasing, delivery, repair, and training as part of its product offering (see Chapter 14). Based on its product positioning, Atlas must initiate new-product development, testing, and launching as part of its long­term view (see Chapter 15).

A critical marketing decision relates to price (see Chapter 16). Atlas must decide on wholesale and retail prices, discounts, allowances, and credit terms. Its price should match well with the offer’s perceived value; otherwise, buyers will turn to competitors’ products.

7. DELIVERING VALUE

Atlas must also determine how to properly deliver to the target market the value embodied in its products and services. Channel activities include those the company undertakes to make the product accessible and available to target customers (see Chapter 17). Atlas must identify, recruit, and link various marketing facilitators to supply its products and services efficiently to the target market. It must understand the various types of retailers, wholesal­ers, and physical-distribution firms and how they make their decisions (see Chapter 18).

8. COMMUNICATING VALUE

Atlas must also adequately communicate to the target market the value embodied by its products and services. It will need an integrated marketing communication program that maximizes the individual and collective con­tribution of all communication activities (see Chapter 19). Atlas needs to set up mass communication programs consisting of advertising, sales promotion, events, and public relations (see Chapter 21). It also has to tap into online, social media, and mobile options to reach consumers whenever and wherever it may be appropriate (see Chapter 20). Atlas also needs to plan more personal communications, in the form of direct and database market­ing, as well as hire, train, and motivate salespeople (see Chapter 22).

9. CONDUCTING MARKETING RESPONSIBLY FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS

Finally, Atlas must build a marketing organization capable of responsibly implementing the marketing plan (see Chapter 23). Because surprises and disappointments can occur as marketing plans unfold, Atlas will need feedback and control to understand the efficiency and effectiveness of its marketing activities and how it can improve them.

Source: Kotler Philip T., Keller Kevin Lane (2015), Marketing Management, Pearson; 15th Edition.

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