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Tips for preparing Marketing as an MBA specialization

In this article we shall appreciate various tips to prepare marketing as a function of management for an MBA entrance interview. Go through the following five points to prepare for marketing-related questions:
Understand the challenge
Marketing is the most widely quoted area of specialization in an MBA interview. It is extremely popular amongst the MBA aspirants, hence the need to create a differentiator is very strong. The general myth about Marketing being synonymous with Selling needs to be dispelled.Apparently it offers the path of least resistance when it comes to defending functional preferences; but one needs to understand the covert challenge.
Marketing Definition
Marketing is the process of understanding the needs of target customers and delivering the desired satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competitors.The key words in this definition are :
  • Needs : The marketer needs to listen to the needs of the customer to be able to offer them a satisfying and delighting value proposition. The closer is the marketing offer to the customer needs, the stronger is the value proposed to the customers.
  • Target Customers : It is not possible for the marketer to cater to the needs of all existing segments in the markets; hence the need to identify the target segment(s) and channelize the marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Satisfactions : This refers to the ability of the product /service to satisfy the need of the target customer. In the current marketing scenario, the challenge has elevated to not just satisfying the target customer, but delighting and pampering him.
  • Competitors : These are other marketers who are vying for a share of the customer’s mind and wallet. The marketer needs to create a strong competitive advantage in order to counter competition.
Marketing Mix
The marketing mix refers to decisions related to product, price, promotion and place. It has been defined as the "set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target".
  • Product : the goods and services in combination that the company offers to the target market
  • Price : the amount of money customers have to pay to obtain the product.
  • Promotion : the company activities that make the product available to target customers.
  • Place : the activities that communicate the merits of the product and persuade target customers to buy it.
The STP Syndrome in Marketing
STP in the context of marketing management refers to segmentation, targeting and positioning respectively. Understanding the STP dimensions enables an organization to focus on specific segments in the market and create a unique image in the minds of target customers. These are defined as under:-
  • S – Segmentation : The process of slicinga heterogeneous marketinto homogeneous sub units.
  • T- Targeting : The process of focussing marketing efforts on a particular segment.
  • P- Positioning : The process of placing your product in the minds of target customers through a unique customer value proposition.
Key Marketing Areas
Marketing Management offers a vast range of career paths to management professionals. Some of the most widely pursued options are as under:-
  • Brand Management :The analysis and planning on how a brand is perceived in the market. It includes managing the tangible and intangible characteristics of brand and deals with challenges like branding strategies, brand identity, brand image, brand personality etc.
  • Services Marketing : The marketing of intangible products, referred to as services. It deals with the entire set of challenges related to creating value in the marketing of services. The challenges are even more as compared to goods, because of the nature of services – intangible, inseparable, heterogeneous and perishable.
  • Market Research : Consists of systematically gathering data about customers or companies and then analyzing it to better understand what that group of customers needs. Data analysis involves the use of statistical tools.
  • Consumer Behaviour : The study of how individual customers, groups or organizations select, buy, use, and dispose ideas, goods, and services to satisfy their needs and wants.
  • International Marketing: Deals with issues and challenges in the marketing of goods and services in international markets, like difference in culture, business environment etc.
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