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Seeking variety in your profession?

Few professions offer as much variety and scope as marketing. Marketing managers are always on their toes trying to keep their product ahead of the competition. Read on to know more.

education Updated: Jun 20, 2012 17:40 IST
Pranab Ghosh

Few professions offer as much variety and scope as marketing. “The main activities of the marketing department of an organisation are advertising and public relations, market research, pricing and monitoring competition,” says Sanjay Sibal, vice-president, sales and marketing, Jenson & Nicholson (India) Ltd, the paints company.

It is this “variety” that drew Anu Anamika, 36, to this profession. Anamika, who did her executive MBA from IIM, Kozhikode, started out as a junior account executive in an advertising firm in 1998. Marketing “happened as a natural progression from advertising and communication”, says Anamika, who is now marketing manager, Suzuki Motorcycle India.

To her, the basic purpose of marketing “is to get your message across to a customer, in as little cost as possible, to motivate him/her to purchase your product”. To her boss Atul Gupta, VP, sales and marketing, Suzuki Motorcycle India, marketing is about “understanding your product/service and application of common sense”. According to Amit Mookerjee, associate professor, marketing, IIM, Lucknow-Noida campus, the primary role of marketing is “to create and maintain a long-term relationship of mutually beneficial exchange of values, with selected stakeholders, including customers”. And this is done by “creating and delivering the value that is sought by the customers”, he says.

Stakeholders with whom marketers typically engage are customers, and the partners in trade/business who help the company reach out to those very customers. “The main focus of any marketing team is to first understand the customers’ need and then to create a campaign so as to increase the customers’ understanding of existing products and services,” says Sibal.

The job of a marketing manager is by no means easy. At a senior decision-making level, “he identifies customer needs and specifies the market in which the company will do business”, says Mookerjee. He is required to help identify the products and services that the company will offer, “using market research and other sources of information”. “The segment of customers to be targeted by the company within this market, and the positioning and branding of their offers are key strategy aspects that s/he will develop,” adds Mookerjee. After identifying the value that the company will offer to customers, comes the final stage, the delivery – communication and the flow of goods and services to the end-users via channels or directly.

“The largest number of marketing jobs is in sales and channel management across territories and regions; organised retailing; media, PR and advertising, event management; distribution and logistics; customer services, etc,” points out Mookerjee. With the advent of digital marketing, the demand for able professionals has only increased.

As India develops into a high-growth market, with a degree of competition in most sectors and a wide array of choices for the customers, “the role of marketers will get more strategic as companies learn to become more customer-centric and adopt CRM (customer relationship management) in an integrated manner,” says Mookerjee. “The challenge will be to think long-term and ensure short-term profit and revenue,” he points out.

What's it about?
Marketing is the sum of activities involved in directing the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers. In other words, it is ideally about identifying what customers and stakeholders need and value, and creating and delivering an offer that is valued by them, in a mutually profitable manner. In advanced industrial economies, marketing considerations play a major role in establishing corporate policies. Where once marketing departments were primarily concerned with increasing sales through advertising and other promotional techniques, they now concern themselves with product development, customer support, personal sales, distribution and corporate communication/PR

Clock Work
8.30 am: Reach office
9.30 am: Chalk out the week/month’s action plan
10.30 am: Review meetings – budget plan review; running a check on the last campaign etc
11 am: Meet clients
1.30 pm: Lunch
2 pm: Filing work
2.30 pm: Meetings – with media, inter-departmental etc
3.30 pm: Meet clients/influencers. Market visits
4.30 pm: Read reports
5 pm: Meet the internal marketing team
6 pm: Call it a day

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 senior level, the sky is the limit. Top marketing jobs at the level of vice-presidents may fetch as much money as a CEO’s position does

. People management and interpersonal skills
. Listening as well as communicating
. Ability to handle severe pressure and deadlines
. Being good with numbers is a plus point, as analytical skills are required to grow in the profession
. Familiarity with database applications and other computer-related skills
. Creativity, motivation, organisation and a decisive nature

How do I get 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 manger. 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 & urls
. IIM Ahmedabad
. IIM Lucknow (It has a campus in Noida as well)
. IIM Calcutta
. Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
. ISB, Hyderabad
. XLRI, Jamshedpur
. Indian Institute of Mass Communication
Other IIMs

Pros & cons
Opportunity to connect with varied segments of people
. Variety in work profiles
. As companies increase their focus on product performance and customer feedback, the pressure to deliver more can get intense

The challenge is in being cost-effective

Marketing professionals are the custodians of brands, says an industry insider

Is there an adequate number of good marketing managers in the country?
Yes, there is a good number, and there is (also) a growing demand for these professionals.

What are the industry segments where a marketing manager can find employment?
All organisations, big or small, product-based or service industries, require marketing managers. Therefore, there is a huge scope for marketing managers in the country. FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and durable industries have the most opportunities for learning and growth.

How important is brand management in the day-to-day work of a marketing manager?
A marketing manager is the custodian of the brand. Therefore, brand or product management is very important and one has to be good at it. The aim of brand management is to always be “aware of the market”. They (brand/marketing managers) have to give the right market and product information to the departments that need this information to make critical decisions (related to their products).

What are the challenges facing the profession of a marketing manager today?
A marketing person is always challenged to give the best product exposure at the least (possible) cost. They are always on their toes trying to keep their product ahead of the competition and finding new avenues to interact with customers. Also, searching for and finding and training new and young marketing persons is becoming a challenge.

With continuous growth in GDP and a vast market like India, marketing professionals would never have dearth of job opportunities.

What is the difference between marketing and sales management?
Sales managers are responsible for the top line of sales and are responsible for day-to-day activities to distribute the product so that it reaches customers, while the strategy to sell the products is defined by the marketing team.

Sanjay Sibal, vice president, sales and marketing, Jenson & Nicholson (India) Ltd., Interviewed by Pranab Ghosh.