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What Kind of People Work in Marketing?

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The research and development department, in close contact with the marketing manager, sets to work on creating the new drink. After 12 months of laboratory work and tastings', it comes up with the right blend. The marketing director conducts a brainstorm to decide on the all important name, and a selection of possible is fed through the market research system once again. Arcadian Spring is born!

Closely connected with all this is the packaging research and design: when there are so many similar products on the supermarket shelves, this one has to stand out. Again, various different types of bottle are tested by the market research agency, and the company decides on a tall glass bottle with a silver label, which gives the drink a sleek, sophisticated image which will not look out of place beside a wine bottle.

Advertising



Fizz Inc. uses various advertising agencies on its different brands. The marketing manager wants to make sure that the right agency is working on this important new launch, so she puts the account out to tender (invites a selection of agencies to 'pitch' for the work). Each agency offers an impressive presentation for the product launch campaign and one is selected.

The successful agency now works closely with the marketing department to plan the launch campaign. It will have suggested to Fizz Inc. any further market research it believes to be necessary in order to make sure that the advertising message, as well as the product itself, is absolutely right.

The Launch Process

Fizz Inc. needs to launch and promote Arcadian Spring to several different audiences. Among the most important of these is Fizz Inc.'s team of sales representatives who sell Fizz Inc. products to shops, wholesalers and restaurant and pub chains. The retailers themselves need to be convinced, as do the consumers. The launch planning therefore needs to tackle all these with slightly different messages.

The sales team is offered glossy promotional material, sales targets with prizes for those who reach their top sales figures and an impressive presentation at the annual sales conference.

The retailers are provided with free 'point of sale' display material, sales promotion incentives to stock the new drink (weekends away, membership of the local health club etc.) and again, an impressive presentation by the sales team to persuade them to buy large stocks for the launch. They also need to know how the new product will be supported by advertising and sales promotion activities since there is little point in buying large stock if there is nothing to attract the customers to buy it.

The consumers are going to be bombarded by advertising about Arcadian Spring. The advertising agency has produced a series of television advertisements to be shown at around 9pm, which its research has shown to be the peak time for the target audience, and radio advertising will be run at the same time, as well as early in the morning.

Full page color advertisements will be run in women's magazines and in the color supplements of the Sunday newspapers.

Public Relations

At the same time, the public relations agency used by Fizz Inc. has organized a press launch, with a leading sports personality and health promoter as guest speaker. Press releases and samples of Arcadian Spring have been distributed and special paid for features have been booked in magazines.

Sales Promotion

Some sales promotion activities have been described above: the incentives offered to the retailers and wholesalers to encourage them to stock the product were part of a sales promotion strategy. This sort of incentive can also be used at other times during what marketing people call the 'life cycle' of the product. If sales began to flag after a successful launch, new promotions could be devised to encourage them perhaps money off vouchers, or an offer of a set of glasses if a certain number of labels are collected. Fizz Inc. could link up with a yog hurt manufacturer and run a series of healthy eating and drinking promotional articles in a magazine. The opportunities are endless, and it takes a creative mind and some good research to devise the campaign that will prove the most successful

The Marketing Manager

The marketing manager has been the coordinator of all this activity. The launch of a major new consumer product can take years, although manufacturers now have to work faster to avoid a competitor slipping in and launching a rival product just before theirs. The planning process is critically important; many of the activities described briefly above take months to prepare, and there are controlling bodies, such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which have to approve different types of advertising before it is used. The ASA supervises the system of control on the content of advertisements in all non broadcast media. It is one of 24 organizations which represent all areas of the media as well as advertisers and advertising agency associations, and which are all members of the Committee of Advertising Practice.

If you are looking at a career in marketing, there is no doubt that regular hours and a routine day are not going to be on the cards!

You will be expected to have an all round understanding of how the business operates since you will deal closely with most other departments: sales, manufacturing or research and development, and even credit control and order processing. Your work is central to most of the company's activities. Moreover, while a marketing job will make demands on your creative and interpersonal skills, you will need to analyze and use large quantities of financial and market research information, and such skills are being sought increasingly by companies recruiting for their marketing departments.

Other qualities demanded of anybody working in a marketing department include the ability to work well under pressure, to plan in a structured way while still thinking creatively and taking advantage of all opportunities, and to understand consumer needs which might be entirely contrary to their own.

Working well under pressure means being able to work to tight deadlines, no matter how carefully marketing plans are devised and timetables drawn up, there will always be times when a confirmation to go ahead is late in coming, a new design isn't agreed until the last minute or a competitor makes a move which nobody could have foreseen. That may mean new briefs for the advertising and public relations agencies, changes to the promotional packs for retailers or even a complete redesign of the product.

The ability to plan is extremely important: it is often said that a marketing job is never finished: there is always more to be done, so the setting out of objectives, strategies and tactics within budgets, the execution of these and the analysis of the results, have to be performed carefully and accurately. It is all too easy to get diverted, although you still need to be able to spot a genuine opportunity if one arises and to be able to rearrange priorities around it.

Understanding consumer needs is the third key quality: while market research can offer accurate information about when, how and why people make purchasing decisions, it is not infallible, and that 'instinctive feel' about something is a quality inherent in many that follow a successful career in marketing.

One of the benefits of working within a company's marketing department is that you may be dealing with external agencies: advertising, public relations or sales promotion. This is an excellent way of finding out what people in these service companies do, and whether you might be interested in specializing in one of those areas.
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