A Holistic Look at Marketing

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A Holistic Look at Marketing with Kelebogile Mashigo.

In our career conversations today, we talk all things marketing. Businesses recognise the role that marketing plays in achieving the desired results and the importance of integrating marketing into their wider strategic mix. Whether you are interested in looking at new markets, bringing a new product to the market, you need to understand what competitors are doing, you are looking to rebrand a business, you want to know what channels to use, we talk about in our blog today. As usual, I’m not one to shortchange us, I always seek help from experts so that we all get value out of each topic. I had an informative discussion with Kelebogile Mashigo, a Marketing Strategist and Entrepreneur. Kelebogile is passionate about brands and how they engage in a meaningful way with consumers, thus  positioning the brand in a manner that makes sense to the life of the consumer.

What is marketing defined as?

Kelebogile defined marketing in two parts. Firstly, in the context of a Marketing Strategy, – this is the part of putting together a plan whose objective is promoting and selling a particular brand or product.  In the plan, you outline various aspects that talk to the brand image and positioning; what is this brand and how do you communicate to your target market? Where do people buy it or access your brand? Is it a service, is it a physical product? Is it available in a physical store or online? These are all the elements that make up the description of what marketing is in the context of strategy. Then there is the part to execute the elements in the first description. Marketing execution is executing on the ground. What does the product look like on the shelf? What is the price point?  Who is it talking to,  your target market, who are they? How do you behave, for example, how do you engage with your audience? Do you do promos that are in the form of price discount in the store, or do you do mall activations where you engage one-on-one with your target market?

Why marketing is important for businesses.

In essence, businesses use marketing techniques to identify opportunities for growth and connect effectively with both existing and new target markets. Businesses coordinate marketing efforts across platforms to promote a brand’s image and capture as many potential customers as possible. Effective marketing drives business success by finding the best ways to reach out to customers and grow sales.

Strong marketing strategies help businesses to stay competitive within their industry, find new customers and retain their current clients. Marketing also helps new businesses find a niche or expand into multiple segments. Advertising and customer engagement with their audiences help establish relationships and enforce trust in the brand. As you continuously engage with  your clients,  you can analyse and learn more about their interactions and buying patterns which eventually informs you of your ideal customer and how you can then tailor your products or services according to their interest.

Streams of expertise

For someone who is interested in the marketing field and they would like to understand the different streams within the marketing management field, here are some of the specialisations.

  1. Public Relations – which falls under communications. The two fundamental principles of PR are Content Marketing where the PR Officer establishes and nurtures the business’s relationships with different stakeholders, and Brand Awareness, where the business distributes information to create brand awareness and gain exposure.
  2. Advertising – This is the part of the marketing mix where a business promotes a product or service to reach people most likely to be willing to pay for the products or services.
  3. Trade Marketing  – This is where you do implementation of your product in a retail environment- that is creating access for consumers to buy your product.
  4. Sales – This is a massive stream that is part of the marketing strategy. Sales involves working directly with prospective clients to reinforce the value of the product or service,  convert them to customers and ultimately generate revenue.
  5. Customer Relationship Management – Speaks to the strategic efforts a business employs to streamline processes, build customer relationships and increase sales just to mention a few.
  6. Digital Strategy and Execution – As part of marketing, it helps a business achieve specific goals through carefully selected online marketing channels.

Minimum transferable skills required.

If you are currently looking to change your career into the marketing field, or are seriously considering it, you need to identify the transferable skills you already have to help you get a good job in the new industry you are looking to migrate to. Kelebogile gave us a few examples of transferable skills one needs within the marketing field in order to get started below.

  1. Analytical thinking – being able to extract usable data for insights and convert it into information, for example, sales data, which puts you in a better position since marketing is about decoding various data sets in order to be able to draft proper strategies.
  2. Commercial Acumen – whatever activities you do, you must be able to bring a return on investment, in whatever form, it can be monetary or brand loyalty etc.
  3. Strategic Thinking – this is the core of marketing. You need to have the capability to think ahead, and think beyond tomorrow.
  4. Ability to Plan and Execute – This is key as all the marketing activities you do depend on one’s ability to meticulously plan and execute. You have to have that ability to put the required resources together and execute with excellency.

What are the typical skills needed in the marketing industry?

Looking for a job can be quite an exercise whereby one must match the requirements that the employer is normally looking for. It’s important to know what you can do for the business and what key skills and attributes you can bring that will be of interest to an employer. Employers look for certain qualities that will give them an indication of your potential and help them decide if you are worth considering for the job or not.

  1. You need to have passion for brands and an interest in people. People are the source of all that you do. In order for you to come up with effective strategies, engagements, promotions, and communications, learn how to do research and craft messages, you require people.
  2. An extroverted personality will help a lot as you interact a lot with different stakeholders. Being an extrovert makes it easier for you to communicate with audiences, speak to consumers, know what’s trending in order to effectively communicate what your brand stands for and your objectives.
  3. Study marketing in order to understand the principles of marketing, the purpose of what you are doing and the intention behind what you are doing.

In conclusion, marketing is important in any business to educate current and potential customers about your business and how it serves a need they have. You need to communicate the brand, who is this brand targeted to? Once you have defined that, it needs to speak to the physical appearance, customer experience, how to engage your clients as well as what your value proposition is? Finally, you need to do a marketing course if you want to start a business of your own and you have never studied marketing before. It is key that you get the basic principles of marketing and apply in your business.

For more insights on the topic you can also visit our YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKEiLDY4zrA where we had an thorough discussion with Kelebogile.