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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why(and how) MBA students should learn marketing

The first year at IIM-A is nearing an end and while the flashback was on, some points about marketing occurred to me. For those focusing on non marketing/consulting areas(finance, operations), Marketing sounds common-sense and 'globe'(in our parlance it means bluffing oriented subject). While this perception is routed in truth, I think MBA students should note some things

  1. Don't go only by books/teachers:- Some books/teachers(luckily not here!) are too theoretical/bookish to impart any practical sense of the field. Seek details from interns, people who have worked there etc. 
  2.  It is all simple stuff don't complicate:- Try boiling down the concepts to every day terms. For example, when the street seller quotes every person a different price by sizing them up, he's merely following the most efficient form of price discrimination!. No need to complicate things using jargon. 
  3. Marketing is needed because people have a choice. It is that simple. If you are a pure monopoly or close to that, you need smart pricing but not marketing. But if people can have other options, you need to differentiate yourself and for that you need marketing
  4. Be different from the road side person:- A layperson will just admire an ad but you should think about the reason behind it & the potential market impact.
  5. It is much more rewarding in this digital age:- Where telecom based marketing gives you accurate demographics, time/location based marketing etc, it opens up a whole host of opportunities
  6. It does need good numeracy:-A glib talker can become a great salesman. But a brand manager(the pinnacle of marketing) needs to manage the brand operations/sales/distribution/spending etc. The field has become much more quantitative now. So even for a numbers person, this field has some good opportunities. 
To conclude, job hunting needs personal marketing. So knowing the basics of marketing well, does not harm. And any advanced level application could only help the organization. 

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