By Dr Eugene Brink
Marketing is a popular buzzword, but often also a controversial one.
Like most other fields, marketing is also subject to big upheavals thanks to the fast-changing nature of technology. And success in marketing needs fast innovation to keep up with consumers’ preferences. As the famous writer Milan Kundera once said: “”Businesses have only two functions: marketing and innovation.”
“Marketing is a process through which consumers are taught why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors, and it is a form of persuasive communication,” says Laura Lake, contributor to The Balance Careers. “It is made up of every process to move a product or service from your business to the consumer. This includes the creation of the product or service concept, the identification of who will probably buy it, promoting it and moving it through the appropriate selling channels.”
It’s a conversation
According to Michael Brenner, a marketing expert and speaker, marketing has a marketing problem. This is generally seen as an interchangeable concept for sales and publicity. ”For those who think that marketing is the same as advertising, nothing can be further from the truth. Publicity can definitely form a small part of a marketing strategy, but that is only a small piece of the puzzle. It is even possible to have a marketing strategy that does not use advertisements at all.”
The Austrian management consultant Peter Drucker said that the purpose of marketing was to know and understand the client so well that the product or service sold itself. That is why Brenner believes that marketing is a conversation. “”Great conversations lead to needs being understood. Great insights then lead to unbelievable products delivered by captivating client experiences. This is marketing.”
Tradional and online
Brenner believes that marketing tools can more or less be divided in two groups, namely traditional (i.e. offline) and online. Offline tools include “traditional” publicity in the printed media, radio and television. It also includes attending conferences and shows as well as verbal (i.e. retold) marketing.
Online marketing for instance includes the use of social media, search-engine optimisation and marketing, websites and email marketing. According to Brenner most organisations use a mixture of both types of marketing tools, but that the scale is starting to tip towards online marketing because of the increasing use of social media and electronic devices.
According to Jenaré Hardcastle, head of online communication at the digital agency Web Shack in Sandton, 54% of the South African population are online and 55% of South Africans with online buying power do online purchases. This is not even close to developed countries, but the tendency is unmistakeable.
Mandie Papendorf is a marketing officer with the civil-rights organisation AfriForum and she says her main purpose is to make sure that all requests received from various departments convey AfriForum’s vision and mission and that it follows the corporate identity. “”Requests can be anything from e-cards to videos and stalls. We are also responsible for the marketing of AfriForum as a whole and how the public see us on social media.”
Critical skills therefore include knowledge of social media, websites, brands and efficient sensitisation techniques. It is also necessary to perform different tasks simultaneously and to make sure we keep abreast of the latest events and technology.
She works with a wide range of channels that she markets ─ social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, web pages (such as petitions and blogs), traditional media (such as printed media, newspapers and billboards), attending feasts and events, as well as media conferences and video recordings.
What does she enjoy most about her work and what is challenging? ”That every day is different and that I can work with different people. The biggest challenge is to meet everybody’s target dates, and also to say no to people.”
Jenaré Hardcastle, 29 Mei 2019, “South African marketing in 2019: 5 things you need to know”, https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/423/191117.html.
Laura Lake, 7 Oktober 2019, “Defining marketing”, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-is-marketing-2296057.
Michael Brenner, 4 April 2019, “What is marketing?”, https://marketinginsidergroup.com/strategy/what-is-marketing/.