“Too many manufacturers think that their marketing managers are marketers and they are not – they are product experts and that’s not helping drive my business – or theirs.”
Because new product development is critical, it’s not surprising that many companies find people who are good at project management.
Many marketers are skilled at working within an organization cross-functionally and adept at Stage Gate or some other milestone process. After all, aren’t new products how you grow your category and improve your margins?
Are you thinking about marketing too narrowly?
Ask yourself these questions to determine the breadth of your marketing focus:
- Do I understand the needs of the consumer, shopper or end-user?
- Am I creating products that solve a problem or are innovative enough to give my sales team “new news?”
- Do I understand the needs and priorities of my customer? Can I build a compelling story as to why our new product is right for them and will help build sales and profits?
- Do I have the capability to bring to life the new product’s packaging, merchandising and sales tools?
- Am I bringing new users to the company or helping my customers make the sale? Can I help build my customers’ business with strong promotional programs, social media or e-commerce tools?
Marketing is more than just products
Marketing is a complex discipline. Although this is an oversimplification, we marketers tend to fall into one of these three broad categories:
Strength in one does not necessarily translate into strength in all three.
For example, you may be outstanding at moving a new product through your internal systems, but are you equally comfortable building the sales story for your customer or know how to create demand in the market?
How the pieces fit together
If you want to move from being just a product manager to a more senior marketer, here’s how the three parts of marketing fit together:
1. Product Marketers
- Intimately understands the needs of the end-user.
- Create products that solve a problem or help give the sales team “new news.”
- Skillfully use cross-functional teams and internal systems and processes to move from the drawing board to the sales floor…without wasting the time and resources of the organization.
2. Channel Marketers
- Intimately understands the distribution channel and knows the needs and priorities of their customers – and their customers’ customers.
- Can build a compelling story as to why their new products and programs will help build their customer’s sales and profits.
3. Brand Marketers
- Bring to life the new product’s packaging, merchandising and create compelling and convincing sales tools that give the brand or product a personality.
- Build the customers’ business with a strong promotional programs, social media and e-commerce tools.
Like most things, balance is the key and you need all facets of marketing to be most successful.
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