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Cross-Functional Contact
One of the first mistakes an organization might make is to allow the various functional areas to become proprietary.
Whenever a marketing department considers itself most important to the success of the organization and self-sufficient without need for accounting, manufacturing, or human resources, it ceases to be a reliable marketing group.
True marketers know that they cannot be any better than their weakest link. Lack of understanding and trust between marketing and manufacturing, for instance, could mean that a product sold by marketing is not delivered when promised or with the right features.
Marketers should consider their peers in engineering, who might not be able to produce an ambitious product requested by marketing at the cost desired.
Likewise, human resources might not be able to locate the individual "with ten years of experience in package goods marketing" requested by the marketing manager.
The point is that marketing is far more likely to be successful if its staff relate intelligently and honestly with members of the other functional areas.
In some organizations, the walls of parochialism have been standing so long that tearing them down is almost impossible. Nevertheless, creating inter-departmental connections is critical.
In the field of marketing, the term integrated marketing has been coined, suggesting that individuals working in traditional marketing departments are no longer specialists, but must become knowledgeable about all the elements of the business that currently or potentially have an impact on the success of marketing.
At the corporate level, all managers should share a corporate vision, and there should be an organizational structure that makes it possible for departments or divisions to share information and participate in joint planning.
This approach represents the direction in which many companies are moving, including US giants like Kraft and Disney.
To be truly integrated, though, every decision at each level of the business should support decisions made at all the other levels.
To illustrate, let it be said that the corporate goal is to maximize profit. A marketing plan objective to increase sales by marketing new products matches the goal.
Community Contact
Most marketers are curious; they enjoy observing and noting what's happening in their community.
Although the word "community" usually denotes a city, town, or neighborhood, the word is used here in a much broader sense. "Community" refers to the environment in which the marketer operates.
For Esther and Jim Williams, who operate an A&W drive-in in Mattoon, Illinois in the US, community is quite small. For Verizon Communication, community encompasses practically the entire world, extending even to outer space.
Regardless of the scope of the marketer's community, maintaining contact with it is essential.
Contact could mean reading the local newspaper and listening to the local gossip. Or it could mean subscribing to information releases of several marketing research firms that monitor world events 24 hours a day, every day.
Either might do the job, although the differences in financial costs would be great. Esther and Jim would find this discussion interesting, but not very useful.
Ultimately, to be considered a responsible citizen in the environments in which a company operates, marketers have the ongoing task of engaging in only pro-societal activities and conducting business in an ethical manner.
There are many marketing companies that donate millions of dollars or land to communities, clean lakes and rivers, revamp deteriorating neighborhoods, give free products to the needy, manage recycling activities, and so forth.
There is no doubt that the need for marketing to continue such activities will increase.