For most businesses, there are several different organisational
approaches to marketing. The duty may lie with a single member of the
team, or it could be a group responsibility. The great thing about a
small team is the ability to quickly instill a marketing led ethos
which can become the operational soul of your business. Larger companies
may require more work!
Depending on budget availability and the skills of the
team, you may choose to outsource certain elements of the marketing
process (such as market research) or decide to do these jobs in-house.
Key responsibilities of the marketing manager / director vary according
to the business but can include:
- Instilling a marketing led ethos throughout the business
- Researching and reporting on external opportunities
- Understanding current and potential customers
- Managing the customer journey (customer relationship management)
- Developing the marketing strategy and plan
- Management of the marketing mix
- Managing agencies
- Measuring success
- Managing budgets
- Ensuring timely delivery
- Writing copy
- Approving images
- Developing guidelines
- Making customer focused decisions
The marketing role can be diverse or focused but now we'll
elaborate further on some key aspects which should be at the heart of
Marketing managers need to have a good knowledge of the
customer. This means building up an accurate picture using the
resources that are available. It is important to take personal opinion
out of as many decisions as possible – you probably don't think in the
same way as a typical customer. Information can be gathered from
questionnaires, focus groups, the internet, interviews, buying habits
and many more sources, but it's important that the information is
examined in a scientific way using proper statistical methods. Gut feel
can only take your business so far.
Development of marketing strategy and plan
Marketing planning should be at the core to any business
and is usually presented in the form of a written marketing plan. A
consultant called Paul Smith first developed a process known as SOSTAC®
which is a useful model used to structure a marketing plan. SOSTAC is an
acronym for the following elements of the plan:
Situation Analysis – where are we now?
Objectives – what do you want to achieve?
Strategy – how are you going to get there?
Tactics - what are the details of the strategy?
Actions – who is going to do what, and by when?
Controls – how are you going to measure success?
SOSTAC® is a registered trade mark of PR Smith
The marketing plan should provide direction for all
relevant members of the organization and should be referred to and
updated throughout the year. The main reason for the marketing plan is
that it provides a structured approach that forces the marketing
manager to consider all the relevant elements of the planning process
which might be missed if a more rushed approach is adopted.
Management of the marketing mix
The marketing mix includes all tangible elements that allow
you to market your product. This includes facilities, your employees,
the product itself, the cost strategy, the process of selling, and how
you promote and advertise. The extent to which the marketing manager
gets involved in these elements depends on how marketing focused your
business is. A product focused organization will probably start with an
ides for a new product, then try and determine who is likely to buy it.
A marketing focused business starts with the consumer and tried to
figure out what they want to buy. Some product focused businesses are
very successful but it is generally accepted that a marketing focus
provides a greater chance of success.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Customer relationship management is the process of
communicating with customers throughout the various stages of the
purchasing process, and this includes people who have already bought
from you. It is significantly easier to hold on to an existing customer
than it is to find new ones, but doing this requires all elements of
the marketing mix to be run well. For example, it's no use sending out a
beautifully produced customer magazine if your customer service is
dreadful or the product breaks easily.
It is unlikely that a small business will have the skills
in-house to develop all elements of the marketing mix. Websites,
brochures, and other promotional items will usually involve some form
of outsourced help such as graphic design or printing. Careful
management of these agencies is essential to provide an integrated
marketing approach to promotion. Agency management involves the
development of detailed project briefs, signing off creative work and
ensuring the work is delivered on time. Depending on the volume of work
which is outsourced, you may feel it is worth developing some
guidelines to ensure a consistent style across different media.
An important element of the marketing manager's role which
is often neglected is the process of collecting and analysing data on
success. This can take the form of website hits, sales figures, market
share data, customer satisfaction or many other metrics and it's
important to record and track these as a core part of the marketing
Marketing managers have a diverse and varied job, and
promotion should just be one element of the scope. Championing a
marketing focussed business structure will provide a greater chance of
success in today's challenging business environment and will lead to a
more sustainable future.