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Business Essentials for Graduate Students – Marketing Management

October 5, 2016
By GradProSkills

analysis of marketing data

Understanding fundamental business concepts paves the way for succeeding in various areas of your graduate experience and future career. Are you an executive of a student organization? Creating an effective marketing plan will help you recruit more members and increase the attendance rate of your events. Hoping to secure funding for a student-run project? Solid understanding of budgeting can strengthen your application. Interested in starting your own business? Adequate knowledge of business will help you turn your dream into reality.

This Fall, GradProSkills has partnered with the John Molson School of Business to offer a series of workshops on various fundamental business concepts such as understanding a budget or financial statement, hiring an employee, and defining client needs. The best part? The workshops are designed for students from any discipline. The first workshop from the series – GPLD152: Marketing Management Essentials – took place last week and offered the attending graduate students a number of valuable tips for creating effective marketing strategies. Read on to review the main points discussed in the two-and-a-half-hour class.

Did you know the difference between marketing and marketing management? “Marketing is defined as a voluntary exchange of benefits between parties,” explains the workshop leader Dr. Christopher A. Ross, Professor in the Department of Marketing at JMSB. An example of marketing is buying a coffee – the customer receives the coffee, while the shop gets money in exchange. All organizations that participate in some type of exchange process are involved in marketing. Yet, not all marketing is performing at optimal levels. This is where marketing management comes in. It involves a number of strategies designed to adequately manage and maintain the exchange of benefits such as minimizing competition and adjusting to the changing consumer needs. At the end of the day, customers must feel better off after the exchange, explains Dr. Ross. “To get people to buy a cup of coffee for 35 cents, they must have the notion that having the coffee is better than having the 35 cents.” 

What is effective marketing management?

There are many ways to conceptualize effective marketing management. First, it could be understood as providing benefits to customers. Dr. Ross cautions that when identifying those benefits, we must carefully observe and interview our customers in an attempt to capture their point of view. Simply assuming how and why customers use our product based on our own beliefs may lead to erroneous conclusions. Other ways to conceptualize effective marketing management include providing solutions to customers’ problems, promoting products in terms of sensory experiences, and reducing transaction costs. Often the costs involved in getting a product or a service are more than just paying the price. They may include things like stress, time, travel costs, and costs associated with disposal. In fact, “we can often increase the price if we manage to reduce the other costs,” advises Dr. Ross.

Designing the marketing strategy

Now that we know how effective marketing management looks like, how do we achieve it? Dr. Ross recommends beginning by defining the marketing problem through a thorough analysis of the 5 Cs: context, customers, competition, company, and collaborators. Below are some examples of questions to ask yourself at the analysis stage:

  • Context: How does the macro environment affect the situation? Are there any social, political, economic, natural, or technological factors that may influence it?
  • Customers: Who are the customers? What do they buy? When, where, why, and how do they buy the product?
  • Competition: Who are the competitors? Why do people go to them?
  • Company: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company relative to the market?
  • Collaborators: Are there any potential collaborators that could facilitate the exchange of benefits?

Once you have analyzed the marketing problem, you can start designing the strategies to solve it. To do this, you use the following tools: product, place, price, promotion, programs, people, processes, and performance. For example, based on the results of your analysis, you can decide to modify the product, change the location or method of distribution, adjust the price, or retrain the personnel.

What comes next?

Now that you have a basic understanding of marketing management, how can you further expand your business knowledge? One way to do so is to register for the rest of the workshops from our Business Essentials Series. They all build on each other, allowing you to gain a good general understanding of business that you can use in your graduate studies and future career. If you want to learn even more about business, you can apply for an MBA or a Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Business Administration at the John Molson School of Business.


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