Understanding Marketing: Lessons Learned And Future Plans

The Role of Marketing in Business and Understanding Customer Needs

Understanding marketing has been an immense learning experience. I have come to understand the magnificent role played by marketing in the success of any business organization. Marketing refers to several different process through which a business understands customer needs, curates products or services to fulfil those needs and works towards generating brand’s awareness in the minds of customers (Chernev, 2018). There are several facets of marketing that I learned through the course.

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With the growing technology and the advent of globalization, I really wanted to understand the role of digital marketing and the shift that the businesses have observed from traditional marketing to newer forms of advertising. I also understood the role played by several social media platforms in reaching out to customers. I always believed that traditional marketing platforms like print and television are far more effective than digital. However, we had an active debate regarding the same in class. I also discussed the issue with my near ones. I was then able to comprehend the role played by social media and other digital forms on marketing in engaging customers. The communication between a brand and a customer has become two way with the advent of technology (Coles, 2015). This void existed in all forms of traditional marketing and has been filled to an extent now. These channels have allowed brands to engage customers, know them better, address their grievances and establish a positive positioning of the brand.

Most of our classes dealt with fairly contemporary issues that gave us a present day insight about the state of marketing in business. One of the most fascinating learnings through this course was the changing dynamics as well as the role played by customers in the entire business. The power of customers has enhanced significantly over the recent years (Fan & Gordon, 2014). Instead of creating products and offering them to customers, businesses have increased their focus on understanding customer needs and working towards fulfilling them. The power of social media has drastically enhanced the reach of customers as well (Agnihotri et. al., 2016). A bad or a good review from a customer also reaches out to several people and hence it becomes even more important for businesses to ensure efficiency of customer service.

At the beginning I was highly apprehensive about learning about sales process. I wish to make a career in sales and I have believed that it is difficult to learn the process of sales or other facets associated with it in theory. Unless someone is out there on the field, it is difficult to understand sales. I also found out that every client is unique and there is no right approach to deal with all the clients. However, through the course, we learnt several theories, tactics and strategies in order to excel in the sales process.

The Changing Dynamics of Marketing: Shift to Digital Advertising and the Power of Customers

Similarly, we learnt several theories and marketing practices. The most fascinating attribute of the entire course was that all the theories that we learnt are relevant today. This helped me in trusting the course curriculum and gain the most from it. I sincerely hope to apply my learnings in my future endeavours.

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Through the course, we learnt several marketing analysis models that have enlightened me regarding the practicality and implementation of marketing strategies with real business. The two important models that I believe have stood the test of time and continue to significantly influence marketing decisions for marketers across the globe are the 4Ps of marketing as well as the Ansoff’s matrix.

Marketing mix is a renowned strategic marketing model that helps businesses identify the 4 P of marketing. These four P form the basic foundation of the business and helps marketers in gaining a deeper insight about their business (Hamtah & Suntanto, 2016). These four Ps are product, price, place and promotions. My future marketing plan includes a luxury car rental service. The service would allow customers who are not using their cars to rent it out to others. On the other hand, customers who wish to rent a luxury car for a short span can avail that service.

In the above marketing plan, I started with defining all the 4 Ps of marketing. This helped me gain a clearer idea of my marketing plan. The first P: Product throws light on the details of the product or service that is being sold (Stead & Hastings, 2018). The second P is price. There are several pricing strategies that can be adopted. I decided to go for a premium pricing strategy. This suggests that the product or service should be made expensive in order to set a certain image in the minds of customers (Nagle & Muller, 2017). The third P is place and I decided to make this an online platform. The platform can be made accessible through a website as well as mobile application. The reason behind making an online place was to ensure high reach and reduce costs. Lastly, the fourth P is promotions and helps in understanding and identifying strategies through which product can reach out to customers (Hanssens et. al., 2014).

Through this tool I was able to learn the absolute basics of marketing. This tool helped me in understanding my own marketing plan better. I truly believe that the four Ps of marketing are very important for any entrepreneur and must be identified in the initial stages of the business. This would help in gaining clarity of the business as well as assist in making stakeholders of the business understanding the same (Khan, 2014).

Marketing Strategies: The 4 Ps of Marketing and Ansoff’s Matrix

The second market analysis model that I believe is very important to marketers even today is the Ansoff’s matrix. Ansoff’s matrix is essential for all marketers in order for them to understand different growth strategies that can be applied for the development of the business. The matrix is easy to understand and helps marketers in devising a clear road to future by helping them in identifying the most appropriate strategy for growth given the current status of the business as well as the industry at large. The matrix understands the growth of product as well as the overall market and based on that offers one of the four growth strategies that can be adopted by businesses (Proctor, 2014).

Car renting is an existing market but luxury car renting is a new product. Therefore the strategy that can be applied to my business is Product Development. This matrix recommends that I can add value to existing products, change payment models, delivery models or enhance product range. Either way, the aim of the business for growth in this scenario should be to develop the product better.

Ansoff’s matrix is a fantastic tool that is being used by marketers since a long time. The other strategies offered by the matrix are market penetration, diversification and market development (McDonald, 2016). At the advent of a new idea, marketers must analyse the two parameters of the current status of market as well as the product and based on that understand the best growth strategy that can be adopted.

However, there are a few limitations associated with the model. Firstly, I noticed that the matrix does not take into account the actions or activities of external competitors (Oh, Cho & Kim, 2015). Also the matrix in general is extremely optimistic. It is theoretical in nature and hence it is unfair to assume that the strategies are easy to implement by the organization. There are several other factors that need to be kept in mind which the matrix fails to include. Even so, the matrix continues to be an excellent tool for businesses to plan their growth and expansion within the industry.

This section of the report focuses on my own personality as a brand. Through this course, I have also been able to analyse my own personality and this journey of self-reflection has been full of learning. I have grown and developed into a better version of myself with the help of this course. I definitely believe that certain aspects of my personality have significantly improved owing to my learnings from the course. However, there are certain aspects of my personality which hold a certain room for improvement.

Applying Principles of Marketing to a Business Idea

In order to understand my personality better, I conducted a SWOT analysis of my personality. My biggest strengths include my communication and my relationship building skills. Throughout the course, we have been taught the importance of communication skills. This is why I focussed on enhancing my communication skills from the very beginning. It is important for future managers and leaders to have effective communication skills. Besides this, relationship building skills are essential to establish optimistic relationships with all stakeholders of the business (Nichols, 2016). As an individual I am strongly opinionated and try to be well read. I am also open to new ideas and consistent learning. This ability will help me widen my horizons and enhance my learning.

My weakness includes my inability to say no. I have never had any leadership experience and this may be a hindrance in my work. Leadership abilities of a manager are imperative for the growth of the individual (DuBois et.al., 2015). I would definitely work on improving these. Besides this, I realized that even though I am good with one on one communication, there is definitely a scope of improvement in my presentation skills. I sensed a stage fear a few times during the course when I had to present my views. Therefore this is something I would surely work upon. Another weakness of mine is that I tend to take complete responsibility for any project that comes my way making it difficult for me to effectively work in a team. I try to take all the onus upon myself and often lack the patience and perseverance that requires to work in a team. In business, one has to work in effective collaboration with various stakeholders (Mencl & Lester, 2014). And this is why it is important that I improve upon this aspect of my personality.

The opportunities that lay ahead of me include starting my own business or getting a job from companies that recruit from campus. I feel that working for an established firm for a few years will give me a better idea about the functionalities of a business. I have also be able to save money in order to start my venture and would have improved industry knowledge. Therefore I need to work hard and improve upon my interview skills in order to crack campus placement offers.

The threats that can perturb my chances of getting a job placement are several other students in college. My college and specially this course is full of highly talented students. Therefore I need to work extra hard in order to get my first job. Another threat to my future is my innate inability to take risks. I have received a feedback that I rarely take on new challenges and I am afraid of taking risks. Hence I feel that once I get used to working in a job where I draw a fixed salary and have stability, it may be difficult for me to risk it all and start my own business. Over the course of time, I would work towards increasing my risk appetite. An entrepreneur must have a strong risk appetite as well as a planned risk taking attitude. I hope to learn the same and improve my chances of starting my own business.

Self-Reflection and SWOT Analysis

In order to improve upon my managerial abilities, I have devised an action plan. This action plan is spread across the next six months. The plan is short term in nature because I need to improve upon my managerial and leadership skills on an immediate basis. For the longer term, my plan is to work with an Ecommerce organization in the sale role. However, a short term plan is more essential for me at the moment and will eventually help me in achieving my long term objectives.

In order to devise this plan, I did seek feedback from my seniors and family members and the first advice that I received was that I need to start reading books. Reading books widens individual horizons and offers fresh perspective. Individuals grow by reading books and hence, I will ensure that I read at least one book in a week. This would include fiction, non-fiction, mythology as well as philosophy.

For the next two months, I would be working in collaboration with my mentor (my senior) and consistently seek industry experience and understand more about real world problems in the business world. I would enhance my industry knowledge by communicating with him and also gain feedback upon my skills.

There are two issues that I need to address in my personality. Firstly I need to improve upon my team building skills and secondly I need to improve my leadership skills. Therefore I would be attending two workshops to address the same.

I read in a book that maintaining a journal also helps in consistent self-reflection. I am very poor with my time management skills and I would therefore ensure that I maintain a journal which records all the productive things that I do in a day. Hence if I am missing out on anything, I would be able to keep track.

My father mentioned to me that visiting religious places offers calmness and composure. It will help me reflect upon my abilities and identify opportunities in the near future. Hence I would like to adopt this strategy and visit at least four religious places. Year end and the beginning of next year is the best time to visit these places and hence I would do the same.

I would also continue to seek opportunities wherein I can present in class. This would help me in overcoming my stage fear and be able to improve my presentation skills. Lastly, I would like to learn a foreign language. This is because it requires a lot of patience, persistence and sincerity.

Gantt Chart depicting Action Plan

Nov-18

Dec-18

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

Reading books

Help from mentor

Attending workshops

Maintaining journal

visiting religious places

Presenting in class

Learning a foreign language

This action plan is depicted in the form of a timeline. I would ensure that I apply my learnings from the course in my action plan as well. The entire course has been a source of learning and I sincerely hope that I am able to stick to this plan and improve upon my managerial ability.

References

Agnihotri, R., Dingus, R., Hu, M.Y. and Krush, M.T., 2016. Social media: Influencing customer satisfaction in B2B sales. Industrial Marketing Management, 53, pp.172-180.

Chernev, A., 2018. Strategic marketing management. Cerebellum Press. United States.

Coles, B., 2015. Making social media work for you. Inside Film: If, (166), p.13.

DuBois, M., Koch, J., Hanlon, J., Nyatuga, B. and Kerr, N., 2015. Leadership Styles of Effective Project Managers: Techniques and Traits to Lead High Performance Teams. Journal of Economic Development, Management, IT, Finance & Marketing, 7(1).

Fan, W. and Gordon, M.D., 2014. The power of social media analytics. Communications of the ACM, 57(6), pp.74-81.

Hamzah, S.B. and Sutanto, J.E., 2016. The Role of Marketing Mix (7P) for Consumer Buying Decision Pastry Cake in Malang City.

Hanssens, D.M., Pauwels, K.H., Srinivasan, S., Vanhuele, M. and Yildirim, G., 2014. Consumer attitude metrics for guiding marketing mix decisions. Marketing Science, 33(4), pp.534-550.

Khan, M.T., 2014. The concept of’marketing mix’and its elements (a conceptual review paper). International journal of information, business and management, 6(2), p.95.

McDonald, 2016. Strategic marketing planning: theory and practice. In The marketing book (pp. 108-142). Routledge. United Kingdom.

Mencl, J. and Lester, S.W., 2014. More alike than different: What generations value and how the values affect employee workplace perceptions. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21(3), pp.257-272.

Nagle, T.T. and Müller, G., 2017. The strategy and tactics of pricing: A guide to growing more profitably. Routledge. United Kingdom.

Nichols, A.L., 2016. What do people desire in their leaders? The effect of leadership experience on desired leadership traits. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37(5), pp.658-671.

Oh, C., Cho, Y. and Kim, W., 2015. The effect of a firm’s strategic innovation decisions on its market performance. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 27(1), pp.39-53.

Proctor, T., 2014. Strategic marketing: an introduction. Routledge. United Kingdom.

Stead, M. and Hastings, G., 2018. Advertising in the social marketing mix: getting the balance right. In Social Marketing(pp. 29-43). Psychology Press.