While doing my Msc Marketing at Makerere Business School, MUBS, the marketing class always had the fewest students. Whereas MBA students needed loudspeakers and halls, MSc Marketing would fit in an office. This wasn’t for just our year but all the other years. This was rather strange considering how much the world is running on marketing.
We are all in Marketing;
• If we consider the text book definition of marketing, where “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably (CIM), everyone in any business or organization is part of marketing. We are all trying to build connections with the customer, build/package products and services that they need and hence achieve our business or organizations’ objectives. The person at the front office, the sales people, the CEO, and the accountant all preform marketing functions, in addition to their core responsibilities. Their actions, the way they talk, engage with customers; influences the overall reputation of the business/entity they work for and hence the buying decisions.
• By the mere power of marketing, we find ourselves in love with products beyond our control. You find yourselves preferring one product over the other, not because its better but it has earned your loyalty. Many products and services have become multibillion businesses simply because of marketing, Uber, AirBnB, Safeboda, and Jumia among others are mostly built on marketing. I can say the same for bottled water. The first time I told my people at home that there is bottled water and sells at the price of soda, they thought I was lying. One friend who had never been to a big town nearly beat me for taking them for fools. Now, there is water at every funeral or party in villages and my village mates even use a straw to drink it after paying the price of soda for water. All this happens because of the power of well-crafted marketing.
*Marketing for all professionals*
When we sell, develop products, get them on shelves etc., we are doing marketing but it needs to be deliberate effort. It needs to be structured, organized so that marketing initiatives don’t follow gut feel but a deliberate, organized, structured process.
Applying a simple marketing framework is vital. It enables you to plan your activities in advance, find out what works, then use them again when and where they are most effective. Today, as competitive pressures increase, marketing skills have never been more highly valued. What was once seen as a departmental activity is now regarded as a frontline business attitude for all employees.
People, especially in leadership positions, need to take a few courses in marketing to fully appreciate the marketing needs of the Marketing Department. A little fundamental knowledge in marketing will help the accounts/Finance department appreciate and vet the budgets. For the CEOs, as the main ambassadors for their brands and institutions, marketing helps them vet marketing decisions and have thorough marketing plans at strategic level. It will give them an edge.
What will you learn at basic level?
When you choose to study some marketing, you will be able to learn the marketing process and appreciate the marketing tools. You will be able to understand the customer better in terms of consumer behaviour. By learning marketing research and research methods, you will be equipped with ability to study your customer and hence do better to deliver on their needs. You will be able to learn on how best to market services in service marketing. If you take on Digital Marketing, you will learn the new forms of marketing and how they can help your organization. You will find for example, that all you need will not be a Facebook page and twitter account but full knowledge on how search engines work, how performance can be measured and using the insights, get more value in new technologies.
One subject that is often a tough cookie for many who haven’t done maths is quantitative methods. This mostly introduces you to statistics, probability, time series, waiting and others which help you understand where your business is and where it might be going. It also involves understanding the Financial Statements such as balance sheet, income statements etc. These equip you with the ability to understand those figures from auditors better. People won’t confuse you with figures.
*Why should a young person consider a career in marketing?*
Beyond the knowledge as shared above, marketing opens your world to cool stuff. Those big pickups and company cars you see all over town, most of them are for marketing people. Facilitation and perks are usually big for marketers because they have to visit the market. Pay for marketing professional is also often higher because it’s easy for them to justify their numbers to top management. Because you are dealing with the income side of things, often it will give you an easier chance to rise in the ranks. You also get to dress nicely, compared to engineers and doctors, mostly casual smart. The marketing jargon you learn makes you sophisticated- or atleast you sound so!
If you haven’t considered studying marketing, I would encourage you to start today.
PS: I was asked to speak to young people about Marketing by @Uganda Marketing Society last week and the above are part of the things i share.
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