How A Marketing Manager Deals With Today's Challenges
When you look at areas in the business world that have changed, it is marketing that stands out as an area that is has seen more than its fair share of disruption. As the world consumers live in changes, the way businesses connect with those consumers has to change too.
Helen Maloney, Marketing Manager of AllThingsWeb, has been right at the coal face when it comes to these transformations over the last few years: we talked about Marketing Management in April 2013.
Brighton School of Business and Management: How did you get into marketing?
Helen Moloney: I first started getting involved in marketing activity when I worked at the Italian insurer Generali. I was part of the product development team (mostly on the system side) but also project managed a number of product launches for them. I then moved to GE as a product manager which involved the development and marketing of PEPs and ISAs and later with the Bank in the development of a new lending business.
BSBM: What was your first marketing management role?
HM: My first marketing management role was with Bank of Ireland in September 2007. I had been running a lending business for the Bank for several years and was asked to take over the management of the marketing function for Business & Corporate Banking for Britain, initially for a 9 month period and then permanently.
BSBM: Can you explain the difference between marketing and marketing management, as you see it?
HM: Essentially marketing management involves more high level, strategic responsibility than the day-to-day activity you would generally associate with marketing.
Marketeers quite often have particular areas of expertise – whether that’s PR, Communications, Events or Sponsorship – whereas someone responsible for the Management of Marketing activity for an organization is very much focused on areas such as: overall strategy and planning, resource allocation, budget management, stakeholder liaison, and Governance.
It is this general overview of the entire marketing mix that sets Marketing Management apart from just Marketing.
BSBM: What would you recommend someone starting out in the industry does to get on?
HM: I would suggest they try and get as broader range of experience as possible and keep up-to-date with developments in the industry – particularly when it comes to digital marketing. There are lots of great resources online to help, as well as dedicated elearning packages. With an area that evolves as fast as digital, you have to keep a constant eye out for new developments!
BSBM: What media did you use when you started working in marketing management?
HM: Back then, there was definitely less focus on digital than there is now and social media was very much in its infancy – the media we used were mostly printed materials, ‘traditional’ advertising, PR activity, sponsorship, corporate hospitality and, of course, the company website. The digital side was not used as proactively as it is nowadays – though it was there.
BSBM: How have your challenges changed?
HM: Now I’m working with AllThingsWeb, keeping up to date with new technology is vital.
This is particularly true when it comes to getting to grips with social media, as it gives the general public the opportunity to answer back. I also find myself having to teach smaller businesses to understand the difference between sales and marketing and how the latter needs to have a rounded strategy if it is to be successful.
BSBM: Do you think it’s easy to get the marketing mix right?
HM: It can be very different for each organization and now, more than ever, marketing strategy certainly needs careful thought and planning.
What works for one company may not be appropriate or as effective for another – it is very much about understanding your target market, testing the effectiveness of your marketing activity, measuring the results and fine-tuning your strategy. Once you find something that works, you need to make sure it is managed correctly so that it is as effective as it can possibly be.
BSBM: Would you recommend online courses in marketing management to someone who wanted to move into that sphere?
HM: Yes, absolutely. Online marketing management training would fit in particularly well if you were looking to take on more of a marketing role in your current business, as you would be able to see how the whole marketing mix fits in with an environment you are already familiar with. You could use the business you know as a case study in any marketing assignments, showing your commitment before you have even completed the course.
Being able to study while working means that you see the applications of your marketing course on the real world, rather than just from inside a classroom. So it would definitely make you more employable!
BSBM: How does your marketing management role in a bank compare with your current role at AllThingsWeb?
HM: Although the scale and budgets in my current business are certainly different, essentially what we do for our clients is very similar. We help them to develop and implement an effective online marketing strategy for their business. The focus is certainly on the digital side but we always make sure that they understand it is important not to forget offline marketing activity.
BSBM: What mistakes do you think people tend to make when managing marketing these days?
HM: I find that a perpetual issue is that people keep on forgetting about their target audience. You need to understand where they go when looking for products and services, the kinds of media they use, how they like to engage with businesses and tailor your marketing strategy to accommodate them.
BSBM: So what do you think the next big changes will be in marketing, online or otherwise?
HM: I think you will see more of a focus on channel-based marketing – where businesses focus their marketing spend on preferred channel of their audience whether TV, online, offline, mobile etc rather than at the moment where everyone seems to be fixated on search. The biggest potential growth area though surely has to be mobile marketing.
BSBM: And how do you think your job will change in the next five years?
HM: We will be managing integrated marketing strategies for clients covering multiple channels and both offline as well as online rather than isolated areas such as SEO, PPC or Social Media.
BSBM: Do you have opinions about devices / social media / apps replacing websites – or might there be a backlash, so junk mail through the door starts working again as it becomes a novelty?
HM: Mobile devices will certainly continue to become more important and businesses will have to dedicate as much time and investment on a mobile strategy as they currently do with their website. I personally think there will be a return to more traditional offline marketing as well particularly for smaller, local businesses as organic search becomes more and more prohibitive in terms of time and cost.
BSBM: What about the importance of Local marketing?
HM: Local is certainly key for many businesses but to date has never really had the same focus. Though as more and more information about our lives is captured online through social media channels, and search results become more personalised, I think local will have an even greater role to play.
BSBM: Thank you for your time and insights into this increasingly complex area. Your insights have been extremely valuable!