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Marketing in the 21st Century

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This free course, Marketing in the 21st century, offers a managerial perspective on how to deliver more effective marketing in an organisation, regardless of whether it is based in the private, public or non-profit sector. This is achieved through a variety of learning techniques, including case studies, videos, activities and group discussions. Supporting this learning, students are encouraged to become critical thinkers about both how they undertake their own decisions, as well as how marketing influences our society.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • articulate whether marketing is a process or philosophy
  • think analytically, creatively and in an integrated manner about marketing ethics
  • define what a brand is and value of brands to organisations and consumers
  • understand how marketing practice is changing now and will change more in the future.

By: The Open University

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Marketing in the 21st century


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Welcome to Marketing in the 21st century. This course briefly introduces you to the concept of marketing, how to assess if your organisation is marketing orientated and the role of ethics in marketing. You will then be introduced to the principles of branding before considering internal marketing in turbulent times. First let’s start by considering a quote from British entrepreneur Emma Harrison published in the British newspaper the Daily Mail (2004):

There are three things that you should spend your time doing: marketing, marketing, marketing. If you are not prepared to do that, then everything else is irrelevant.

As we shall see throughout this course, marketing encompasses a wide range of interrelated activities and at its heart, drives the organisation forward.

As a manager you will have had, to varying extents, some experience of marketing. This could be an involvement in making strategic decisions which have marketing implications. On the other hand, as a consumer you will have been exposed to marketing from an early age, possibly making you sceptical about what it can offer.

Marketing is concerned with satisfying customer needs but is it a positive activity for our societies?

Marketing encompasses a number of activities that are partially created by the organisation but also largely influenced by factors in the external environment such as competitors’ activities and legislation. As a management activity, marketing is constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of the market. For many this constant change makes it an exciting profession, as summarised here by Ian Hunter, Head of Marketing at Fujitsu Services.

What excites me most about marketing?

Working in marketing means that you are in a privileged position, working across all parts of a business at all levels, for the good of the whole company. The excitement comes from many areas:

  • working/influencing (challenging) executives on strategic direction
  • implementing change – identifying new strategies and working with the company to implement the thinking
  • intellectual challenge – thinking through complex organisational problems and developing strategies to support these
  • working with smart people – because while the work is important to the company, you get to work with the smartest people (internally and externally)
  • creativity – you are continually having to come up with new and innovative ways of doing things. Working in an innovative environment is fun and exciting.

What are the biggest challenges for marketing?

For the IT sector, it is how we respond to/make money from Cloud.

For marketing it is:

  1. being able to demonstrate the value marketing delivers
  2. exploiting/using social media to its full potential (to develop relationships).

What does marketing contribute?

Marketing is a process that everyone in the company is involved with (satisfying customer needs, at a profit). So everyone is in marketing!!

The marketing function must be configured to use appropriate skills and techniques to support this ambition and be able to demonstrate value. In a B2B environment this includes:

  • increasing the customer’s predisposition to purchase – brand awareness, relationship events, thought leadership
  • lead generation – thought leadership, direct marketing, etc.
  • relationship creation – forums, social media, events
  • evidence – case studies and references
  • sales force training and development
  • account development – account-based marketing
  • market and customer insight.
(Source: Dibb et al., 2012, p. 632)

This free course is an adapted extract from an Open University course BB844 Marketing in the 21st century [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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