Ask yourself, just what is marketing? According to the American Marketing Association’s definition: Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. In my opinion the two key concepts include activities from creation to customer. To take the Voice of Customer (VOC), “what is wanted,” and transform it into a “how do we do it” is a mixture of science and art. Also important is how to manage and sustain the product life cycle using various analytical tools such as forecasting.
By no means should you confuse marketing with sales. These are two distinct functions and require complimentary but not identical skill sets. Sound marketing practices will serve as a sales enabler. Transforming field intelligence from both current and potential customers as well as competitors into a deliverable (product or service) is important to a company’s growth. To secure the right information and work closely with the technical function within the firm is where a strong marketing team resides. The marketing function serves as the Voice of Market (VOM) champion throughout the design phase keeping the engineers and technologists on task to ensure there is little if any drift from the initial product proposal. Will there be compromise? In most cases the answer is yes. But a strong marketing function will be able to address the cause and effects to determine potential customer acceptance and revenue impact. Managing risks versus rewards during the design phase is a critical marketing activity.
Marketing also takes the lead to “rollout” the new product or service to the marketplace, preparing the necessary field communications and targeting to specific markets and customers. Engineers and technologists measure success by functional properties and release to Manufacturing. Marketing professionals measure success using time versus break-even calculations and units sold compared to forecast. Marketing’s celebration begins when the crossover point is reached, all design costs are consumed and the profit corridor is enabled!
But the marketing team’s participation and influence does not finish here. Their responsibility moves on to nurturing the product, promoting and communicating to the customer base. Serving as the brand ambassador in support of the sales team. Providing continued field intelligence to allow adjustment to the initial design in a quest to stretch the product lifecycle’s timeline.
A strong marketing function must have technical aptitude, product knowledge and importantly strong interpersonal aptitude. Having the ability to transform qualitative inputs into a deliverable engineers and technologists can act upon is critical. At the end of the day VOC is met and the marketing team will be able to convey to the rest of the organization “if you build it they will come!”
Retrieved 7/31/2014 from “American Marketing Association” (2013). https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx
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