A friend of mine with an impressive technical background, but no business experience, recently landed an interview for a marketing position. He asked for some help getting up to speed on marketing. Although the focus would be on his mathematical skills, he felt knowing a bit more about the business context would help.
With that in mind, I pulled together a few of the most important concepts. I thought there might be other people out there who had the same questions, so I’ve posted my write up below.
Professional marketers have a different concept of what “marketing” means than people outside of business. “Marketing” is a more-specific function than just hucking new gadgets. At a high level, marketers work to change a few specific variables in order to sell more of a product, profitably. So:
What is marketing?
More than just advertising, professional marketers think of marketing as the Four Ps:
- Product (what are its features and benefits?)
- Price (especially relative to competitors, is price point higher or lower?)
- Place (where is the product available for sale?)
- Promotion (advertising, coupons, PR, etc)
These are the variables within a corporation that the marketing department typically controls. But marketers and the role are only two parts of the equation. How do customers react to changes to the Four Ps?
There are many models, but a popular framework for discussing customers and how they interact with a product is the Conversion Funnel. In this model, buyers move down the funnel below, with some number leaving at each stage.
AWARENESS – The customer must know that the product exists, right?
CONSIDERATION – The customer has a need/want and actively considers whether the product (or its competitors) will be a good solution.
PURCHASE – The customer makes a decision and buys the product. Yes! Sweet revenue!
AFFINITY – The customer uses the product and likes it. She likes it so much, she recommends it to friends and colleagues.
Four Ps + Conversions Funnels
The goals of marketing, by adjusting the Four Ps, are to:
a. “Widen the funnel”, get as many potential buyers in the funnel as possible; and,
b. “Keep people in the funnel”, minimize losses between each stage.
Big marketing departments have entire units dedicated to each P. Even smaller companies have staff that specialize to a degree. You probably won’t be working with the entire spectrum of marketing. Regardless of the specific function, knowing the big picture will be helpful.
As you get ready for your interview, consider how your skills will help widen funnel and keep people in the funnel longer. Make the case that you can do that and you’ll be on the right track. Good luck!