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MBA Essentials
NOV 17, 2016

There’s More to Marketing Than Meets the Eye

By Robe Ann Paccial
Stock photo: rawpixel / 123RF

I started my career as a management trainee in a telecommunications company in the Philippines. As part of the training program, I had the chance to do a three month rotation within the company to learn the various functions of the business. It was a blessing in disguise for a fresh graduate like me. It bought me some time to really figure out which career I wanted to pursue.

After completing the program, I was given my own product as a product marketing manager. This is when I realized that marketing was much more complicated than I thought. So much so that I started to redefine my own notions about marketing and its range.

Contrary to popular belief, a marketing job does not just involve coming up with advertisements and promotional campaigns. While the scope of work of a product marketing manager varies from one company to the next, it usually includes an end-to-end process of understanding consumer needs, preparing business cases, developing products, and creating go-to-market (GTM) strategies. Marketing requires close collaboration with every part of the business, from finance to sales, customer service to IT, and even corporate communications. Marketers have their hands in a whole slew of business functions. We go way beyond creating marketing campaigns.

Another common misconception is that marketers do not (or cannot) deal with numbers. The truth is, the amount of number-related tasks that marketers have to handle every day is considerable. Most of marketing managers are responsible for the profit and loss of their respective brands. I myself monitored telecommunication revenue drivers such as churn rate, average traffic per user (ATPU), and average revenue per user (ARPU). I was also heavily involved in the budget cycle process, wherein we would set revenue targets for the year in a bottom-up approach. Marketing managers also have to compete for budget allocation within the companyーmore numbers.

One of the most exciting parts of my job is building business cases. Presenting a business case is pretty much like telling a convincing story on how much capital and resources the company needs to invest, how much revenue it will deliver over time, and how all that will contribute to the company’s vision.

The challenge for every marketer, especially in a technology-driven business, is to translate technical benefits into a language that is relevant to consumers. You don’t have to be an engineer to carry out the role, but you do have to be patient and determined to understand all the technical specifications of your products. Otherwise, you won’t be able to come up with marketing materials that matter to the target market.

The scope of marketing is vast. Its reach is boundless and ever-evolving. As a marketer, there are many stories to tell about your product, but it is your role to pick the one truthful, impactful story that will capture your target market’s attention.