During an increasingly digital age, marketing professionals are even more challenged to be efficient and to maintain a steady flow of customers—and revenue.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through the most important parts of marketing management to strengthen your market position and relationships with customers.
What is marketing management?
According to the Marketing Accountability Standards Board, marketing management is:
“The process of setting marketing goals for an organization (considering internal resources and market opportunities), the planning and execution of activities to meet these goals, and measuring progress toward their achievement.”
Put more simply, it’s managing everything that goes into driving marketing and sales of company products and services. This means creating, executing, and measuring a plan for the business to reach, communicate with, and supporting the customer service to convert its target market.
What are the objectives of marketing management?
Increasing market share is an important objective because it demonstrates how the market feels about your brand, goods, and services.
It measures how much of your industry or product category your company has captured and can be used to compare your marketing, communication, and other efforts against your competitors. However, profits and other finances make market share a poor benchmark for overall success of competitors.
A larger, growing market share can suggest:
- You’ve successfully reached and won a large portion of your potential customers.
- Existing customers repurchase products enough for new customers to create net positive customer growth.
- Your brand or product has a positive and growing reputation within the industry.
Increasing customer satisfaction
Keeping current customers happy also holds significant weight; your business cannot grow if you’re losing as many customers as you earn in a month.
Satisfied, loyal customers mean a few things for a company:
- Repeat customers that increase customer lifetime value and overall revenue
- Positive word of mouth, decreasing the cost of new customer acquisition
- Trusting customers that can be convinced of future purchases more easily
- Smoother customer support experiences and lower complaint volumes
A business’s best opportunities lie in its existing customer base. They know your product well enough to give informed feedback, but they aren’t deep in the trenches like employees.
Since the marketing team has the strongest grasp over the brand’s messaging and reputation, marketing management employees should be key players in improving customer satisfaction.
For example, the marketing team is often the first to see new reviews on review sites, social media discussions, and more. This gives marketing some of the most informed stances on what customers think.
These are the primary goals of marketing management, but what work does that actually involve?
Functions of marketing management
- Conduct industry market research: do research to gain a deep and thorough understanding of what consumers want and need, what their lives look like, their budget and shopping habits, and more.
- Perform competitive analysis: marketing management needs to be well-versed in who the other key players are. Marketing requires knowing the top competitors in the industry, what draws customers to them, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
- Identify unique positioning for brand and product: to increase your market share, your marketing must effectively convey, “why this product over the others?” Once management understands why customers choose your business, they can communicate this to potential customers.
- Develop a promotional plan to go to market: finally, by understanding the three prior functions, management can craft a strategy to communicate this and promote products.
Tasks of marketing management
Modern marketing is both an art and a science. After all, it’s largely powered by technology, full of all the data you can imagine. But creativity is still required in building the strategy that produces the results data illustrates.
Here are just a few tasks:
- Communicating with the public, customers, shareholders, partners, etc.
- Planning promotional calendars and marketing campaigns
- Analyzing market trends and campaign performance
- Collecting and analyzing insights from customers
- Collaborating with other teams within the organization
- Managing teams within their department such as public relations or advertising
- Overseeing the relationships with and work of any outside marketing vendors such as paid media agencies
With the current marketing landscape’s focus on digital, tech is also becoming an increasingly prominent feature of all of the above responsibilities.
The importance of marketing management
Many industries are facing rough patches right now that are forcing executives to downsize and streamline wherever possible. Marketing management, however, remains a top priority.
As Harvard Business Review put it during the previous recession:
“During recessions it’s more important than ever to remember that loyal customers are the primary, enduring source of cash flow and organic growth. Marketing isn’t optional—it’s a “good cost,” essential to bringing in revenues from these key customers and others.”
Successful marketing management benefits the entire business through:
- Consistent revenue: marketing produces revenue that helps fund the rest of the business.
- Improved reputation: marketing often oversees public relations and has the most influence and control over your brand’s reputation, which is increasingly important, especially in saturated markets.
- Better product insights: by collaborating with the product team using marketing research and analysis, product development becomes more informed.
- More targeted sales messaging: since marketers spend so much time learning about your target customers and developing positioning, they can assist sales teams with messaging and presentations for stronger closes.
What does the marketing management process look like?
Marketing involves an ongoing cycle of:
These stages are involved in marketing strategy as a whole as well as on a project and campaign level. So at any given moment, marketing managers have multiple projects in progress at various stages of the marketing cycle.
Let’s take a look at what happens in each stage.
Each stage of the marketing management cycle
Smart marketing teams seek to understand the target customer, their problems, and how the product or service being offered fits into the solution.
This involves continual research such as surveys and interviews with members of your target market, collecting customer feedback, and researching market data and industry trends. All of this information is used to inform the marketing strategy.
Goal and campaign planning
This will usually involve collaborating with product and sales teams to create a promotional calendar that’s aligned with product development and sales targets.
Once the calendar has been established, management will work with their support staff to create a plan for the parts relevant to marketing.
Leading campaign implementation
Once campaigns and projects have been mapped out on the promotional calendar, marketing managers lead their teams through campaign development. First, there’s selecting their marketing mix of paid, earned, and owned media. Within that, there’s selecting different specific marketing channels and how they fit into the overall strategy.
From there, there’s also establishing unique positioning and messaging guidelines for communicating through those channels on a campaign basis, as well as in general. Finally, there’s developing and deploying marketing copy and creative, such as landing pages, graphics, and copy.
Measuring and iterating on results
Finally, as campaigns are deployed, marketing management needs to oversee measuring the results of projects so they can optimize and iterate on the materials in the future.
This might include generating and reviewing reports, strategizing A/B tests, and making campaign optimization recommendations.
How does marketing management differ in large enterprises?
The structure and activities of a marketing department, and a marketing manager’s day-to-day responsibilities will depend on how big your organization is.
In larger enterprises, marketing teams not only collaborate with other teams in the company more often, but they’re also often made of multiple teams themselves. The marketing wing of an enterprise might be organized by:
- Channels: email, social, mobile, print, etc.
- Customer journey stage: acquisition, activation, retention, etc.
- Types of campaigns: product, brand, etc.
- Job function: content, creative, design, public relations, etc.
Additionally, enterprises may use third parties like agencies, consultants, or contractors to supplement in-house resources. These more complicated team structures bring a unique need for flexible planning across departments, systems, communication, and more.
Integrated marketing management
Integrated marketing management is the combination of multiple channels, campaigns, resources, teams, and more working together towards a larger initiative or goal.
This can amplify the overall results of the marketing team by focusing all efforts on related projects.
For example, a brand’s email marketing campaigns, offline advertising, online advertising, and social media content would all be focused on a similar campaign at a given time. The impact of the whole initiative becomes greater than the sum of its parts but can create a complicated web of projects for management to keep track of.
What is the relationship between sales and marketing management?
Collaboration with sales can be a key component of the marketing management process. While marketing is responsible for bringing customers through the doors, sales is responsible for wooing them from there.
The teams need to align in terms of messaging and positioning the product, which projects or products are prioritized, and more. Management should meet and communicate regularly to share results, data, and ideas.
What are the different marketing management philosophies?
There are five marketing management philosophies to be familiar with:
- Product: this is the simplest marketing orientation, in which strategy starts with the product. The overall business and marketing strategy focuses on creating and improving the product first and finding customers for it next.
- Production: the production concept orients business strategy around production and convenience. The focus is on making products available to target consumers more easily and affordably through optimizations in production and distribution. It can be effective in markets with little competition because being first to market can become an advantage long-term.
- Selling: this philosophy assumes that consumers aren’t actively seeking or wanting the product and need to be actively and frequently sold to in order to make up for it. It’s common in industries like insurance, where by the time the consumer needs the product, they’ll want to already have it.
- Marketing: the marketing orientation focuses on maximizing value delivered to the customer and their overall satisfaction with the company. Instead of creating a product and then finding the right customers for it, development starts with what the customer needs, and products are created and marketed to meet them.
- Societal marketing: this takes the marketing concept and extends it further, beyond the individual customer. With this approach, in addition to meeting the customer’s unique needs, the organization aims to improve their overall wellbeing and that of society.
Which approach is best for any given organization will depend on factors such as:
- The markets it wishes to enter
- Its competitive landscape
- The needs and values of the target customer
- The saturation and sophistication of the target market
Marketing management resources
If you’re looking to improve your strategy and leadership as a manager, the following marketing management resources can be helpful.
Marketing management books
- Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler: Philip Kotler is referred to as “the Godfather of Modern Marketing,” and this book is worth a read if you have a limited background in marketing. It introduces you to the marketing process, understanding marketplaces and consumer value, creating your marketing mix, and creating a marketing plan.
- This is Marketing by Seth Godin: Seth Godin is a business and marketing expert who’s written over a dozen books about how they’ve both changed over the past few decades. “This is Marketing” is an overview of the overall approach and insights expanded upon in his previous works and helps marketers face how to adapt to changing markets and audiences.
- Obviously Awesome by April Dunford: Obviously Awesome is a comprehensive dive into positioning products. Positioning and market strategy consultant April Dunford developed a simple, repeatable process for finding the best way to position and market a product, which is one of the more elusive aspects of effective marketing management.
Marketing management articles
- What Creativity in Marketing Looks Like Today: Harvard Business Review interviewed dozens of marketing executives across dozens of top brands to ask them what they thought creativity in modern marketing looks like.
- What is Blue Ocean Strategy?: this is article breaks down the different types of markets, red oceans, and blue oceans. Understanding the difference between them and how to position yourself in blue oceans is crucial for marketing leadership.
- Five Trends Shaping The Future Of Marketing: The Forbes’ Agency Council looks at how technology is shaping marketing. From data hygiene and ad blocking to artificial intelligence and conversion tracking, it discusses how different consumer and business trends will change how marketers connect and communicate with customers.
Marketing management case studies
- How Starbucks’ Growth Destroyed Brand Value: this is a case study in growing and scaling too fast for the sake of customer experience and brand perception.
- The Success of Patagonia’s Marketing Strategy: this marketing management case study looks at the success of Patagonia’s societal marketing concept, as it is known for its focus on environmental responsibility and opposition to consumerism that often makes choices that seem illogical, like encouraging its customers to shop less.
- How a 75-Year-Old Brand Changed Digital Marketing Forever: you’re likely familiar with the viral Old Spice commercial and social media campaign that launched a new era of the brand. But this study breaks down the thought and strategy behind the campaign, what brand challenges it was created to address, and how successful the results were.
Marketing management tools
The modern marketing manager oversees multiple teams, and projects, all at different stages of the implementation process. Those projects can span half a dozen different marketing channels and include hundreds of different assets.
Naturally, this involves a lot of different tools, from marketing automation software to real-time chat solutions.
The following tools could be relevant:
- Slack: a team messaging app
- Mailchimp: an integrated marketing platform that lets you manage email marketing, web and landing pages, ad campaigns, and more
- Google Drive or Dropbox: allow your whole organization to easily share files, data, and other assets
- monday.com is a Work OS that lets your team build custom workflows to manage and organize all of the above.
A full plate
Marketing managers have a great deal of responsibility to the rest of the organization and are facing tremendous challenges from changing technology and consumer behaviors. But with the right approach, resources, and tools at their disposal, you can be prepared to face it all head-on.
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