A few days ago a long lost friend of mine called me up to enquire if all was well with me amidst all these chaotic times. The topic of marketing came up eventually while were talking about our lives and work. It came as a bit of a surprise to me when my friend wondered that apart from promotions and advertising what is it that a marketing guy does.

I didn’t mind him of course. Because we do so much more obviously. He is and had always been an engineer who didn’t really have to do anything with marketing in general. But it got me thinking.

It will be befitting if a marketing guy himself talks about all the main functions that he gets to deal with on a day to day basis.

So, in this post, I take a stab at explaining all the major functions of marketing.

Here goes:

Promotion

Wikipedia defines promotion as any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue. It helps marketers to create a distinctive place in customers' mind. The aim of promotion is to increase awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty.

Promotion is basically the action of informing or persuading potential clients about the products or services of a business. It plays a crucial role in demonstrating value to consumers. Digital ads, TV and radio commercials are all kinds of promotion. This kind of promotion is called advertisement. Additionally, advertising is used to boost the public image of a product. This is called PR (Public Relations). A company can show that it has gone green by adopting eco friendly materials thus caring for the environment. This is also a type of PR.

Promotions could be of many types like these:

  • Personal Selling.
  • Sales Promotion.
  • Public Relations.
  • Direct Mail.
  • Trade Fairs and Exhibitions.
  • Advertising.
  • Sponsorship.

Market Planning

Market planning is the process of coordinating and identifying a company's marketing objective and developing systems and strategies to achieve it. A good marketing plan comprises of the company's USP or value proposition, details about its target market or customers, relative market positioning of its competitors, promotion strategies, supply chains, and resources allocated to the plan. All related departments must refer to their marketing plan.

Market planning of a company involves sales projections and evaluations of past promotional initiatives to assess its performance. This analysis allows the company to identify which areas should be given more importance or which areas should be rebalanced. The evaluation usually requires not only assessing the competitive position of the company in its market, but also implementing completely new strategies for achieving its business objectives.

Product Management

Simply put, product management is a way to coordinate planning , development, marketing and other activities related to product development and distribution. Coordinating staff, data, processes, business solutions etc are a part of product management.

And what does product management entail to?


Research: Research to gain expertise on the company's market, users, and competitors.

Strategy: Shaping industry knowledge they have learned into a high-level strategic plan for their product — including goals and objectives, a broad-based product overview, and a timeline.


Communicating Plans: Create a detailed action plan using a marketing strategy and deliver it to key stakeholders in their organization: managers, customers, their development staff, etc. Continuous communication across cross-functional teams throughout development and beyond.


Coordinating Development: Coordinating with relevant teams — product marketing, development, etc.—to start implementing the plan.


Feedback and Data Analysis: After building, testing and marketing the product, learning through data analysis and requesting users direct feedback, what works, what doesn't, and what to add. Working with relevant teams to incorporate this feedback into future product iterations.

Distribution

Distribution involves both the sale and delivery of products and services from the manufacturer to the consumer.

A distribution channel is a route followed through direct or indirect transfer of product ownership as it passes from manufacturers to customers.

A channel is a pipeline through which a consumer flows.  The manager places his products in the marketing channels of the pipeline and moves towards marketing people and reaches the ultimate consumer, on the other end of the channels.

Various types of distribution channels:

  • Wholesaler/Distributor.
  • Direct/Internet.
  • Direct/Catalog.
  • Direct/Sales Team.
  • Value-Added Reseller (VAR)
  • Consultant.
  • Dealer.
  • Retail.

Risk Management

Marketing risk represents possible failures or losses from a marketing plan. To minimize the chance of losses, you need a marketing risk management plan in place.

For example, failure to conduct extensive market research, collecting data from incorrect locations and misapplying data may pose risks to your marketing plan. If you don't understand your market, you can develop a strategy that targets the wrong people or paints the wrong picture you sell. To create a marketing message appealing to your target audience, make sure you conduct extensive research beforehand.

An all-round risk reduction program helps you predict, plan, solve, or resolve any issues you face.Click To Tweet

Pricing

Every company operates with the goal of earning profits, and it can be done through proper pricing methods.

While setting any product or service price, consider the following points:

  • Product / service nature.
  • Market price of similar product / service.
  • Target demography
  • Production costs viz. Labor costs, raw material costs, machine costs , inventory costs, transit costs, etc.
  • External factors like economy, government, legal issues, etc.

Sales

Sales is a part of marketing as it involves determining customer needs and desires and responding through planned, personalized selling that influences buying decisions and enhances future business opportunities.

Selling provides a critical link between value creation and value delivery. It reflects value ownership change and provides the goods and services that customers want.

Building customer relationships and convincing them to purchase is the core of selling. Sales decides the amount of money a business is making. Advertisement, product promotion and personal selling all help improve revenue. Product sales can occur through direct and indirect distribution channels.

Marketing-Information Management

Market information gathering and analysis is a crucial function of marketing. The information can be obtained from multiple outlets, such as analyzing existing market research reports, conducting a survey, tracking reviews and social media. Gathering and analyzing information helps the organization find out the best market opportunities.

Great business and marketing decisions depend on customer information, trends and competitive products. Collecting, storing and analyzing this information is part of marketing information management.

That is what marketers do to know more about consumers, their habits and behaviors, where they work, and the market patterns. Companies conduct research to successfully market and sell their products.

Financing

Finance is the lifeblood of any company. Business can not survive without finance. A company needs sufficient finance to produce and promote its product. Finance works with various forms of payment for goods and services sold to consumers. Most goods are sold on credit to wholesalers and retailers, leading to the existence of financing services. Budgeting for marketing efforts and ensuring enough funds for operations is important. Finance source includes capital, loan, and retain earnings.