The memory of first Bangladesh Marketing Day 2018 celebration from last year is still fresh. It was a great experience watching Bangladeshi marketing veterans, and aspiring and young marketers coming together to mark and celebrate the day. Specially the youth reminded of my young self when I was aspiring to be a marketer.
Whenever any youth would come up to me and ask how to be a successful marketer, my best advice is “Stay curious, stay alert” as there is no one-way formula in Marketing for success. The world of marketing has always been changing. The speed of change is now more dynamic than ever due to the technological disruptions. Even in this era of digital transformation, what youth marketers are doing wrong is that they are not getting the basics right. Before going for the big leaps, a marketer should get the basics right.
As a brand and marketing enthusiastic, one must understand your brand thoroughly and your customers. While understanding the brand is structured, understanding your customers is subjective. You cannot always take the right decision and living in fear of making mistakes will only hamper your career progression, your brand, and overall growth of your organization. Instead of avoiding mistakes, try to minimize the chances of making mistakes by taking informed decisions backed by market experience and data.
I believe today’s marketer are lucky to have all the tools and techniques to easily acquire data, but at the same time in a tight spot to decide on which data to bank on and design their campaign around, because in most of the cases marketers are overwhelmed by big volume of data. And thus comes the role of judgement call. It is rather easy to say, but to take a call based on your judgement alone. To sort the data out and get your decisions right, know your customers closely and for that you have to go to the market where your customers are and interact directly.
Market experience is a must for any marketing practitioners. It does not matter how good your idea, creative or communication is, it will fail if you fail to understand the pulse of the consumers. Go to the market and try to understand first-hand how customers interact with your brand and the retailers or service person, what their concerns are, what really excites them about your product or service and what more they are looking for (or why they are buying your competition’s products or services).
“Keep your friends close but enemies closer” is a prime motto for the marketers too. Always know about your competition, your point of parity (POP) & point of difference (POD), and how they are addressing their customer. Try to and learn from your competitions current activities and predict your competitions next move. Your competitions success can be a case study for you and their failure can be a good lesson, either ways you are getting benefitted. Know that one single dissatisfied customer of your competition is your potential customer, and vice versa. Your conscious approach will help you and your brand to remain ahead in the run for consumer’s top of mind awareness and market share.
There is a saying, “Feedback is the champion’s breakfast.” Listen closely to all the stakeholders (customers, consumers, sales person, retailers and others) and get their feedback. These feedbacks will guide you in every step of you journey in the short term; and in the long term will help you refine your judgement and have a rational and broader outlook.
Take back that experience, cross match it against your available data and then go for making your mark with your brand. Never take your customers for granted. Not only the market scenario is changing rapidly, the consumer taste and habit is also changing with time. The customer who used to have home cooked meal, now might like to dine out, or even convert to balanced diet rather than fast food. The customer who used to spend heavily on entertainment, might switch to experience. So as a marketer it is you job to be as updated as possible about your consumer group so that you and your product or service can adjust accordingly with consumer dynamics change.
As a marketer, you have to have “Entrepreneurial Mindset – Think like an entrepreneur, but act like a marketer”. In general terms, you have to play the role of a Intrapreneur where you know ins and outs of your product and what you have to do, who your customers are; you address their need gap and you maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the customers. You have to know it all and do your part, and do it well to be successful.
Today’s brands are tech-savvy and digital, but what about the brands of tomorrow? The outer layer will change, but the basics will remain the same. Do you know what is the most basic about marketing? It is human centric approach. Whatever you want to do in marketing, think of it from a humanistic perspective. Incorporate human values (compassion, love, care, responsiveness, empathy, responsibility, humor, sincerity in your product development, team management, campaign development, communication strategy and after sales service, you will you approach will be much appreciated by your customers and your campaign will be successful and your brand will stand out.
As I said before, there is no shortcut for success in marketing, and moreover there is no alternative to hard work. You learn something new every day or new ways to do the old stuff to keep yourself updated. If you work hard, keep on learning and keep your focus on the basics today, tomorrow you will be successful as a professional and also as a Marketer.
Ashraf Bin Taj
President, Marketing Society of Bangladesh (MSB)
Managing Director, International Distribution Company Bangladesh (Pvt) Limited
This article was published in the publication of Bangladesh Marketing Day 2019.