Marketers are involved with nearly all aspects of business activity, beginning with defining the firm's mission, through assessing consumer wants and needs, developing strategy based on assessment, designing products and services that meet those wants and needs, implementing the promotion, pricing, and distribution that support sales, to monitoring consumer satisfaction.
Characteristics Marketing majors need to develop:
Flexibility - marketers are dealing with the firm's environment, competitors, suppliers, technology, economic/regulatory forces, and consumers that are constantly changing.
Understanding of people - marketing is based on the fundamental premise that firms succeed by understanding and responding to consumer wants and needs.
Problem analysis and solution ability - because marketers rarely face routine situations, they recognize problems, even anticipate them, and create new ways to deal with them as they go.
Creativity and tolerance for ambiguity - often marketers must solve problems that have no objectively best answer, under conditions of incomplete or imprecise information.
Quantitative skill - marketers must be able to apply sophisticated statistical, mathematical, and analytical tools in order to make the best possible use of available information.
Skills that the Marketing major develops:
Communication - clear and effective written and oral communication skills are an absolute requirement.
Persuasion - marketers learn to make the best possible case for their positions, both when dealing with consumers and with other people in the firm.
Opportunity spotting - marketers try to anticipate the market, to be there before the competitors, even before the consumers.
Analysis of markets - marketers determine the relative profitability of various market alternatives through various sales and cost estimation techniques.
Creativity - successful marketers increase their native creativity by learning to become effective problem-solvers and thinking in new ways.
Research - marketers learn to apply scientific method in defining problems and acquiring information to address them.
Quantitative analysis - marketers learn first which numbers are important, then how to include them into decision making.
Professor of Marketing Carl Obermiller says his students study problems ascribed to marketing and their social implication.
“As internet technology and our use of it changes, we find new opportunities and challenges for marketing. Two of the more intriguing issues we address are, first, the balance between using consumer information to develop more valuable relationships with consumers—relationships that consumers want, at the risk of violating consumer privacy. A second is dealing with consumer resistance to advertising. Technology and social uses of it make it much more difficult to reach consumers with advertising. Many devices make it easy for consumers to avoid ads and many sources of content are available without ads. One option for marketers is to use tactics that simulate or stimulate word of mouth marketing—consumers telling other consumers the marketing message. Having a satisfied customer rave about your product is wonderful promotion; it’s both effective and inexpensive. But, pretending to be an ordinary consumer is deceptive. As consumers increasingly rely on on-line reviews and blogs, the temptation for marketers to try to control those information sources is problematic. We discuss the implications of unethical marketing for consumers, society, and the long term health of the firm. An important part of that discussion is identifying acceptable alternatives for the firm.”
Obermiller adds, "Once students graduate, they take the ideas and techniques they've learned here at Albers School and later come back and tell us it is working in their workplace. That's when we know we've done our job."