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education Updated: Dec 25, 2012 15:00 IST
Hindustan Times


The lowdown

Marketing is both a science and an art. The science part includes exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs (or wants) of a target market. As an art, marketing is about helping your customers by creating genuine value. It is not a short-term selling effort but a long-term investment effort. When marketing is done well, it takes place before the company makes any product or enters any market; and it continues long after the sale. Marketing as a function and its execution has been evolving over time — from products-centric marketing and customer-oriented marketing to value driven marketing. Once marketing departments were primarily concerned with increasing sales, they now concern themselves with product development, customer support, personal sales, distribution and corporate communication.

In marketing, people have different roles so there is no fixed schedule. Planning and execution are a long-term process and a day is hardly ever structured. Job description of a marketing manager/director in a reputable firm includes:
* Development and execution of strategy; planning and forecasting (marketing budgets) and operation plan; ongoing review
* Brand planning and development strategies (positioning etc); ongoing review
* Looking through consumer insights/working through social media and other data sources to understand consumer conversations; build and review business and competitive intelligence
* Working with agencies and partners to create relevant content for different mediums of consumer contact
* Working internally with product development teams for product/packaging renovation
* Reviewing and working internally with stakeholders for product pricing, distribution including, merchandising strategy to ensure strong presence in key retail stores; develop trade promotions
* Work with the commercial team to drive sales
* Monitor results of all marketing activities

The payoff
Earnings vary according to the industry segment one is working in. However, broad pay packages are Rs. 25,000 - Rs. 50,000 per month (entry level) and Rs. 60,000 - Rs. 1.2 lakh per month (middle level). At the level of vice-president, it may fetch as much money as a CEO does

* Self-motivated
* Ability to handle multiple priorities
* Ability to work with multiple stakeholders and vendors
* Genuine interest in people’s needs
* Leadership and vision

Getting there
A management degree is a must for career growth. One may start as a product executive and then move on to become a brand manager and then a marketing manager. According to some experts, it is also extremely important for any successful marketing person to have a stint as a field salesperson. There are, however, examples where an ordinary graduate with the right aptitude has done well in marketing. People with professional qualifications in advertising and communications could also do well in this field

Institutes and URLs
* Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Calcutta,,
* Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
* Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
* XLRI School of Business and Human Resources, Jamshedpur
* Indian Institute of Mass Communication

Pros and cons
* Opportunity to connect with varied segments of people
* Variety in work profiles
* The pressure to deliver can get intense

The current age of digital economy is perhaps the greatest time to be in marketing. It can be challenging but exciting. The question is — are you up to it? -- Rajesh Kumar, global client insight director (branding), TNS