Marketing is more important and specialise than you thought to be

It is not arguable that marketing is one of the most important element and perhaps vital to the success of an organisation. However, why is it that still marketing has not been taken seriously as a form of expertise as well as its practitoners being highly regarded in organisations?

A lot of people has talk about marketing as being too general. "You do not have to need special skills or expertise to do well in a marketing related job". This is in contrast with other professional area such as Accounting, Architecture, Medical etc, where you need a high level of skills/expertise in order to attain a career or excel in this professional lines. Also, we see that many of the CEOs, high level executives are not from a marketing background. On educational term, we can find in job ads that organisations that are looking for high level executive professionals require mostly an MBA and not a marketing degree. Another interesting point is that in Australia (I am not sure about other countries), marketing graduates or professionals are considered second tier for immigration purposes as compared to medical, engineers, accountants and so forth. If marketing is so important, why is it that on so many points we see; marketers are not considered the elite of this pack of top professionals??? Isn's it true that the most important thing for organisations is sales; profits, brand? Of course, I am not saying that other areas such as finance, human resource is not important. However, the main driving force of sales, profits is still the marketing activities. Even non-profit organisations would need marketing; without marketing where would there be their sponsors and doners??

Why does all these reasons exist? The answer is that first, marketing itself has not been around for a long time. Not much research has been done on the marketing area. The only worthy and empirical research done has been on consumers. This area of researh has been labelled as marketing science (Marketing Science Centre is one such institute that does these sorts of research). However, these is still not much information and research of marketing in the Business to Business area. This leads to the second point where marketing has not been accountable and quantifiable. We all know that marketing leads to more sales and brand equity. However, how do we justify and measure that? This has been one of the biggest problem with marketing. It has been difficult to measure the return of investments (ROI) from marketing activities. This is why accountants, engineers and so forth are considered more of a professional than marketers because their work is both quantifiable and also there is a clear process of this input leads to this outcomes. Okay, now you can argue that what it takes to be a professional and regarded more importantly is about accountability and quantifiable factors. Why is MBA regarded so important then if it is not really quantifiable in its management teaching? This will lead to our third reason. MBA courses has been focus around global and management issues. This has led to MBA graduates posessing the ability to think strategically, systematically and more important and wider issues. They understand that for an organisation to do well, it is important to identify both internal and external issues and various environments and forces. (They normally have a wider and bigger thinking). This is the reason although why marketing is important; it and its followers are not taken seriously. Marketing has been focusing too much on these 4Ps (Price, Promotion, Place, Product) issues where marketers have been thinking small and not on a wider issue. This has been made worse where alot of early marketing and other marketing academics are focusing on individual psychological factors such as congnitive, beliefs, attitudes etc. We as marketers is not about selling to an individual, it is about selling to a bunch of people. Not everyone is the same, so what is the real point about understanding a person's traits? Marketers are not part time psychologist here. Of course, these understanding of an individual is important for personal selling and knowing how this group of individual think and react is as well. However, personal selling is only a small part and no point knowing how they think and react as we know now that there is not much loyalty among consumers as well as knowing that what they think (belief) is different to what they do (attitude). Luckily, there is a saviour of marketing where the 4Ps has been extended to the 7Ps and most importantly, the emergence of marketing science.

How are we going to make marketing more credible and be taken more seriously? Well, first we need more research and empirical generalisations to it on both consumers and business level (Marketing Oracle is one such foundation for these kind of knowledge). Marketing needs to be more accountable and quantifiable. Now, that we have the internet, online marketing can be both measurable and accountable. However, with traditional marketing, more expertise and resources need to be put in for organisations to measure this important factors. Thirdly, marketing teaching needs to be expanded out from the traditional psychological type to the modern marketing science way. Also marketing teaching needs to merge with other more imporant areas such as management, accounting as well as global issues. Most of the real market forces that shape consumer and business behaviour are that of global issues and trends. External environments affects how marketing is done and not how marketing can change these behaviours. Although there is exception with new innovations and so forth. However, even new innovations comes from understanding the global trends and thus idenfifying these opportunities.

Finally, a lot of marketing literature talks about marketing as identifying customer wants and needs and then matching their products and services to meet them. This is too defensive. I think the term marketing should be more offensive where marketing is about getting more sales & bringing about more profitability for the organisation. If marketing can revolve both of these defensive and offensive elements, perhaps in no time we would see marketers being taken more seriously. "Marketing is both art and science" Combining both of these will make marketing and the marketers more important and be taken more serious.
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