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Why should I study marketing?

I don't understand what that word means. I want to do fashion and my teacher told me about marketing.

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Jim’s Answer

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Marketing is on the ascent. It has frequently led at big consumer products companies. Now its influence is growing everywhere: at B2B companies, professional services firms, companies dominated by engineering or logistics. You can see marketing's rise on business bestseller lists, on YouTube playlists, in the new brands that have broken away and differentiated themselves, and in the explosion of marketing start-ups (and what investors are paying for them). Marketing is becoming a more powerful and resource-rich function of business. In today's digital world, marketing is the function responsible for creating and sustaining a long-lasting relationship with the most important asset of any business—the customer.

In an always-on world, consumer expectations are changing. As a result, the nature of marketing itself is also changing—data, digital, social, mobile, analytics, real-time agility—these have all become part of the vocabulary of numerous business articles and conversation. Thus marketers need to shift their focus from pushing messages at people to engaging them in an ongoing conversation and relationship. The speed, direction and magnitude of the changes in marketing have been widely discussed. It is not as clear, however, where marketing will end up (and what marketers need to do to ensure that they aren't disintermediated by a small group of 20-something programmers).

The Economist Intelligence Unit spoke with six marketing visionaries around the world and posed a question: “The world of marketers today has changed drastically from what it was ten years ago. What will it be like in 2020? And what do marketers need to forge a winning career path over the next five years?”

Here are the 15 things they told us:

1.) It's all about engagement.

An engagement is a contract of betrothal. It is the start of a personal relationship expected to grow deeper and endure over time. It requires listening, nurturing and care and feeding. It comes with expectations of intimacy and trust. The engagement that marketers seek is not so different.

Seth Godin believes that marketers who are serious about engaging the customer recognise that the most valuable moments are when the customer is actually in touch with you: using your product, on the phone with you, reading your content. If you are able to address your customers' needs during those moments—rather than put them on hold while telling them how important their call is—you're going to get engagement.

Says Jim Stengel: “At P&G we used to say that if we measured our brands the way we measure healthy relationships with other people, it would lead to a high market share. So think about your relationships. Do you look forward to seeing that person? Do you care about them? Do they share your values? Do you speak well of them to others?”

2.) Start at the start.

Marketers have always been treated as the last and fastest runner in the relay, brought in for the final leg to sprint for the finish. The problem is that most races are already won or lost before the last runner gets the baton. Any marketer who has run a campaign knows that marketers can sprint. But the best marketers are five-minute-mile marathoners who combine speed and stamina. They take the customer on a journey. They need to show up at the starting line, when the people who run the business are saying, “What should we make? Who should we make it for? How do we make it in such a way that the story of our product is true?”

3.) Articulate your ambitious purpose.

We all want to feel that our lives have meaning. We gravitate towards brands that help us find that meaning. It could be a personal manifesto like “Think different” or “Just do it.” It could be an allusion to our common humanity like Skype's family portrait series, which illustrated the growth of a long-distance friendship between two girls, each missing an arm. Or it could be a global call to action like Wal-Mart's sustainable supply chain initiative. Each of these companies built an engaged audience by finding a big, ambitious theme and building a long-running campaign around it. Each also experienced sustained growth.

4.) Agile will rule.

As recently as five years ago, most marketing departments were set up only to conduct campaigns and launches. That is changing, especially at larger companies with large numbers of customers. It is not the old mode of planning a campaign, executing it, analysing the results, learning from them and applying those lessons to next year's campaign. Marketers are increasingly running a real-time dialogue, constantly listening and instantly connecting in relevant ways. Consumers have an expectation of immediacy. Like Visa at the World Cup, they are taking advantage of events when they happen and linking them to their brand.

A 24/7 mentality requires a different way of working. Marketing used to be an assembly line. Now it is more like a trading room that responds to the ebbs and flows of the market as they occur. Although marketers will always have to manage the equivalent of an iPhone launch, there will also be day-in and day-out efforts to build a relationship with customers who in return reward you with a stream of purchases.

5.) Turn start-and-stop into start-and-continue.

The next five years will see the growth of test-and-learn as standard operating procedure. Campaign workflows are still siloed today. Analytics comes up front, then there's a big creative piece, the campaign is launched and more analytics at the back end. Those distinct pieces need to be joined together into a more iterative workflow that combines the creative and the analytical in a collaborative process. Marketers are the stewards of significant resources – iterating in real-time, with real-time analytics about what is working and what is not will allow them to be true drivers of productivity.

“ Marketing used to be an assembly line. Now it is more like a trading room that responds to the ebbs and flows of the market as they occur.

6.) Make transparency a virtue.

Unilever Senior Vice-president of Marketing Marc Mathieu likes to say that marketing “used to be about creating a myth and selling it and is now about finding a truth and sharing it”. It is difficult to sustain myths these days; with a few clicks of the mouse, anyone can discover almost anything and instantly circulate it to an audience of millions. Companies confident enough to share the truth are choosing to participate in a web-enabled show and tell— and consumers appreciate it.

7.) Integrate the old with the new.

In the minds of many, marketing and advertising are synonymous: the marketing budget exists to buy TV spots and trade show booths. It is true that marketers do far more than buy ads now. A lot more. It is also true that consumers now rely more on peer-to-peer connections and less on messages directly from the companies. Marketers are creating journeys to guide consumers and customers towards a mutually desired outcome. But at the same time, marketing does run the ad budget and those traditional expenditures have not gone away.

Bain's Aditya Joshi points out that in many industries analog media like TV may decline in the next three to five years, but won't fall by much. In the consumer products industry, for example, TV's share of the marketing mix in 2020 should still be north of 40%. Marketers should not think in terms of discarding traditional and embracing digital. Instead, they should think about how to get both to work together in an integrated and consistent way. If marketers do it right, window-shoppers become buyers and buyers become advocates and fans.

8.) Get your own house in order.

An asset is an investment that generates value in the form of return on investment (ROI). Engaged customers fit the definition of an asset, but marketers often complain that their CFOs resist the idea of engagement as an asset worth investing in.

In fact, these marketers are wrong: the problem is one of data, logic and presentation. Many marketers don't fully understand what drives engagement—and therefore they can't present it in a compelling way to the CFO. “If you can quantify engagement, any CFO in the world will pay attention,” says Jim Stengel. And not just pay attention, but jump in and ask, “How can I help?” Too many marketers don't understand what makes their company preferred over others.

9.) Harden the soft.

Of all the factors that drive engagement, the most important may be a culture of customer centricity. Culture is often mistakenly considered to be a soft concept. It is a big concept, but it is not a soft one: it can be broken down into a very specific set of values and activities that are mirrored in incentives, salaries and promotions. Customer engagement needs to play a central role in the organisation's culture. Otherwise the business will not be sustainable.

10.) Keep up with the consumers.

Enterprise technology has lagged consumer technology for over a decade. Consumer behaviour changes faster than behaviour within the organisation. In the world at large, Facebook and Twitter enable communities to spontaneously form, sync up and take action. Marketers have a responsibility to modify the organisation's outreach based on changes in the outside world. At the same time, those external shifts need to be brought into the corporation. Marketing bridges the gap between the lives of consumers and those of people in the organisation.

11.) Concerns over privacy are overwrought.

The customers of Target, EBay and Home Depot know all too well that privacy is important. At the same time, and more relevant to marketers, the new generation of digital natives has grown up seeing the value in sharing everything. They want to share. They want personalisation. They see the tradeoff between what they are giving up and what they are getting as positive. Sharing personal information is not going away. In fact, it will become more widespread.

12.) Learn to make decisions about making decisions.

Marketing no longer sits in a corner and runs campaigns; it interacts with almost every part of the business, from IT to customer service and logistics. To do their jobs effectively, marketers need to be able to join up collaborative, cross-functional processes with functions that have objectives and report up through other parts of the business. That requires agreeing in advance what the decisions are and what criteria will guide the decisions. If there is a purchase, who funds it? Who decides on the vendor? What is the role of marketing versus IT, finance and other functions? Progressive marketers are starting to understand and embrace the need to set up cross-functional decision-making processes.

13.) There is a formula for building trust.

Companies collect data with every customer interaction. Most people don't care about disclosing information if they believe it will be used to help them. The concern is that the company will take advantage of the data to do something not in their interest – sending ads, for instance, or giving the data to “trusted partners” who may misuse it.

The solution is a series of small steps of helpful actions. The customer benefits. Trust grows. And ultimately the privacy concern goes away because you have demonstrated that the data are being accumulated for the benefit of the customer.

14.) Keep the touches light.

Imagine that you are browsing on a website. A box pops up and asks if you found what you are looking for. If you say, “no,” it opens a window and you find yourself talking to customer service. If you say “yes,” it sends you to Amazon or Yelp! and asks you to leave a positive review.

In theory, the interaction is positive. You are being helpful, trying to guide the customer and enlisting their help if the experience pleases them. In fact, customers feel manipulated and turned off. Instead, remember the interaction and use that to be more relevant with the next conversation. Just because you can automate something doesn't mean you always should.

15.) Bridge left and right.

There is a lot of talk about political polarisation in the halls of government. Polarisation exists in marketing too. The influence of left-brained analytical hires is growing. Many creatives feel pressured. The ideal marketing organisation requires both sets of abilities—and for these to work together in an integrated fashion. “Very few individuals have left- and right-brained capabilities in the same depth and strength,” says Bain's Mr Joshi. “One would need a modern-day Da Vinci. But you know how rare that is.”

A more practical answer is to create a Da Vinci in the aggregate, hiring different people with different skills who combine to create a Da Vinci. That is the ideal marketing team – not right-brained or left-brained but both-brained.

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Jim’s Answer

That's a terrific question Caitlin!

Marketing is the way a company sells it's product or service. In many ways, as you enter the world of business you will be marketing yourself by showing a company or companies your education, your skills and how you can help them succeed.

Marketing will help you no matter what business you eventually get into, as it is the most essential ingredient in the success of any business, from a roadside lemonade stand to a large corporation.

Marketing also is a language you can learn, and if you google Guerrilla Marketing you will find some of the interesting devices marketers use from headlines, sub headlines, unique selling propositions, testimonials to calls to action.

Best of luck in all your endeavors!


the marketing is good type of job .but the marketing is not get money in sometime but i like the question muthu K.

thank you Mr.jim Sharmila R.

Thank you, Jim! Caitlin B.

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Slick’s Answer

Hello Caitlin, marketing is very important and necessary in the business world. Whether your marketing music, a beverage company, or even clothing, marketing is how we all sell our products and brand. If you make a whole fall clothing line no one will now that your fantastic designs even exist if there isn't any promotion or word that it exists. Marketing is how you advertise your product or brand. Usually for music you would hire a promoter who would be part of your marketing and promo team but in the fashion world, you would have to use social media,flyers or radio and tv ads to show off your designs. You would want to start by finding people that have an ideal body type for your clothes, and then have them take high quality professional photos that can be technically for lack of a better word lol spammed to everyone. Take a closer look at other online clothing ads and look at the design of the pictures and the words they chose to advertise.They might be tired of seeing your promotion but eventually they'll give you a chance. I hope that answered your question Caitlin. Good luck!

thank you so much Sharmila R.

Thank you, Slick Kid! Caitlin B.

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Vishal’s Answer

The heart of your business success lies in its marketing. Most aspects of your business depend on successful marketing. The overall marketing umbrella covers advertising, public relations, promotions and sales. Marketing is a process by which a product or service is introduced and promoted to potential customers

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Arun’s Answer

You should study marketing because it's the most essential part of any business to become successful, without marketing, you would not see most of the big successful companies today. And marketing agents are in high demand right now.
Marketing is something everybody needs in order to sell their product or service. It might be a new or existing product which needs to be brought to the notice of existing or potential customer. You need to create visibility, highlight the USP so that your product sells.

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Ashok’s Answer

Marketing is one of the hardest and the coolest jobs you could get. It goes all the way from Product & Price to Promotion & Place. This is one of the most important pillars for any organization. If you are passionate about sales and adverting.. and if you love to interact with people, products and brands, Marketing is the way to go.. However, Please be prepared for long hours and lots of responsibilities. Studying Marketing will give you exposure to the tools and the skills required to build the organization.