It is often claimed that advertising, public relations, market research and so on, are all activities that come under the umbrella of marketing. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) offers this definition: 'Marketing is the management process which identifies, anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably.'
The process also includes the use of marketing research to identify and anticipate customer requirements, new product development to produce the required item, and advertising (and public relations where appropriate) to communicate to the customer that it is available.
There is no one definition of marketing which describes it as it is used in every company. Marketing is a function' which adapts itself to the needs of the company, and it is also a way of thinking that makes the identification and satisfaction of customer needs a top priority.
This article will look at marketing, advertising and public relations separately because, while a smaller company may have one marketing person to carry out all the advertising, public relations and marketing activities, larger companies and agencies have specific people for each role. Sales promotion will be considered briefly within this chapter, although if you are interested in this area, I recommend that you contact the Institute of Sales Promotion and read Julian Cummins' well known book on the subject: Sales Promotion.
In house and Out of house Work
It is worth saying something about jobs 'in house' and 'out of house'. Many larger companies have people within their organization to carry out marketing and public relations for the company. However, these people are likely to buy in the services of professional agencies: in particular, for advertising and public relations. These agencies are the specialists, who take the 'brief from the client (the company) and stay in close contact with the client through regular meetings.
Companies decide how much they do in house and how much out of house for various reasons, including the quality of the specialists available, the type of work they want done, and the regularity of the work. Many large organizations use a combination of in house and out of house experts, with the company's marketing manager being responsible for appointing and monitoring the work of the agency.
The work and qualifications discussed within this book are equally applicable to in house jobs and agency positions. Many people move between the two, spending some time working within a company and then moving to a senior position in an agency, or vice versa. The greatest difference between them is probably that in house you are working as part of a team towards a common corporate goal, whereas in an agency you could be working on several different 'accounts' (for different clients), and each will demand your attention.
If you would prefer to get into general marketing (as opposed to a specific advertising or public relations job), you will need to know about the other areas described later in this book, but won't necessarily be expected to have all the specific skills needed, for instance, by an executive in a public relations consultancy or a market researcher in an advertising agency.
Since general marketing does combine advertising and public relations activities, this will be useful to anybody thinking of going into these specialist areas.
The Process of Marketing
There are two kinds of product that can be created for sale: manufactured goods, and services. Examples of manufactured goods would be shoes, books or cars. Services would include banking, management consultancy or legal advice. The role of marketing in the creation and sale of both types of product is to work out what people want or will buy, making sure that the product is right for these people, and then making sure that it is available at the right price in the right places.
For example, there would be no point in making a car with an in built perfume dispenser if market research showed that this was very low on the priorities list of people buying cars! A new car with extra, unique, safety features would be a popular buy as long as it was offered at a price people were prepared to pay, readily available at garages, and promoted to potential customers (through advertising).
So marketing means taking all the steps to ensure that the product sells. In many companies today, marketing is a business philosophy that is applied to everything that the company does.
The Marketing Department
The structure and responsibilities of a marketing department within a company vary according to the company size and the importance it places on marketing.
In a large firm, for example, the marketing director will have a say in all the company's activities: he or she will be on the board of directors and will be involved in the important decisions made about the company, from deciding on new products to whether to buy up a small competitor.
A team of managers will work below the director on different product 'lines'. These are often called 'brand managers', they specialize in a certain product or range and deal with all the advertising, public relations and sales promotion activities for that product. (We will come back to sales promotion later in this chapter.) Some of these services may be found within the company (in house) and some maybe bought in (out of house). These managers will have support staff in the form of 'executives' and 'assistants'.
The Marketing of a New Product
To get an idea of what the marketing department does, we will look at two different examples of a new product being conceived and launched, pinpointing where the marketing department is involved. Advertising and public relations will be mentioned, and will be explored in more detail.
The first example is a fast moving consumer good' (FMCG) and the second is a service, rather than a product, in a geographically limited market.
A "Fruity Fizz' Drink
A major international food and drink manufacturer (Fizz Inc.) is interested in producing a new soft drink. The world is already well supplied with this kind of product, so the company has to make sure it can win enough customers, perhaps converting people who don't like soft drinks to this new 'brand' and 'stealing market share' from other companies with popular and established brands.
Fizz Inc. first wants to find out as much as possible about the market for a new fizzy drink. The marketing manager for this new brand decides to use an out of house market research agency to do this. She selects the agency and 'briefs' it. The agency may use a combination of statistics and reports that are already available, and tailor made research aimed at collecting more specific information. It provides Fizz Inc. with a detailed report which concludes that there is a 'gap in the market' for a fizzy drink which contains less sugar than some of the drinks already available, and more real fruit juices. The drink would be bought by people aged between 24 and 30 who would be prepared to pay a higher price than usual for a non alcoholic drink if they felt it was doing them some good.