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Marketing success is all about ‘arrival’

There’s a great quote about marketing from management guru and author, Peter Drucker:

“Marketing is not a function, it is the whole business seen from the customer’s point of view.”

Peter Drucker was one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice, including the decisive importance of marketing.

But then, there are lots of quotes about marketing, because its influence and impact are part of everyone’s lives.

Liverpool marketeer Paul Whitehead has a quote from a former boss. He worked for giant American footwear manufacturer New Balance. His boss used to fly over regularly to check on UK business and would always ask the marketing team: “How’s it going?” And Paul would answer: “We’re getting there”, to which he replied: “Well, when are you going to arrive?” It’s something Paul has never forgotten: “Marketing and its planning is all about the journey with ‘stops’ that need to be visited along the way.”

But what is marketing?

Do a web search and you will find multiple answers, but all variations of the same: “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” or more simply: “Marketing is the process of getting potential clients or customers interested in your products and services.”

The key word is ‘process’ because marketing involves researching, promoting, selling, and distributing products or services and is centred on knowing your markets or customers. You need to satisfy their needs in order to attract and retain their loyalty. The best are good at it; why else do we regularly buy that particular washing powder, trust that hotel chain or wear that brand of trainers?

The role

Marketeers are found in every sector and industry, from micro business to corporate behemoths, from charities to not-for-profit organisations and it’s evolved into a specialism that has spawned thousands of marketing agencies.

A Marketing Assistant will contribute to the implementation of the marketing strategy and plans. They will be responsible for delivering day-to-day marketing activities across various platforms and channels that are essential to the Marketing function and activities of the organisation.

It’s typically the entry route for many marketing professionals who progress their career into more senior positions. Daily this employee interacts with a wide range of internal colleagues and external marketing suppliers.

Depending on the size and structure of the organisation, this could include collaboration with colleagues from sales, operations, PR, IT and the customer insight team as well as interaction externally with clients/customers and suppliers such as printers, digital agencies, PR and media agencies, event display companies, market research agencies and media sales professionals.

It’s not just office based either. Time may be spent attending events, exhibitions and trade shows, meeting clients and suppliers. Paul Whitehead’s task was to help the soccer novices at New Balance break into the UK football boot market.

He said: “Among the brand ambassadors we enlisted was former Manchester United and England captain Brian Robson, who had the first million pound boot contract. I found myself on a flight from Manchester with ‘Captain Marvel’ and a pilot in a tiny two-seater plane to a sponsorship event in Dublin, sharing coffee and biscuits as the pilot negotiated bad weather and icing up wings.

“I always felt that this was what marketing would be like and why I wanted a job. It isn’t always of course, but I’ve had many moments down the years.”

Paul went on to work for Liverpool City Council, followed by Head of Marketing for Liverpool Vision – selling the city to the world – and was involved in multiple events and promotions, including overseas. These days he is group marketing manager for a big paint company, headquartered on The Wirral.

Having worked across different sectors Paul knows what it takes to be successful: “It’s a popular profession,” he said, “So having the right qualifications is very helpful which could be a degree or an apprenticeship. A particular interest in specialising can help too, like social media or advertising and sponsorship and work experience while you are training can definitely boost your chances.

“Marketing is something people think anyone can do, but there are so many skills and attributes needed. It’s disciplined and creative. You need to be well organised, a good communicator and negotiator, to be able to present to clients and colleagues, to be able to sell, as well as yourself. It’s a great job with decent career progression if you focus – particularly on delivery.”

Entry requirements

For this apprenticeship you will need at least Level 2 English and Maths. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and Maths minimum requirement is Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. Professional recognition is achievable too with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Ultimately as Seth Godin, CEO of Do You Zoom, said: “The secret of marketing success is not secret at all: word of mouth is all that matters.” So sign and take that journey to success.

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