Marketing Management encompasses wide varieties of functions and activities; such as Marketing Research and analysis, Marketing Strategies and Action Plan, Marketing Project Management, Process and Vendor Management, Organizational Management, Reporting, Measurement, Feedback and Control Systems etc.


Management Guru Peter Drucker wrote Marketing is the distinguishing unique function of the business. In 1991, Marketing expert Regis Mckenna expressed a viewpoint in Harvard Business Review Article as Marketing is everything because the marketing encompasses all factors, that influence a companys ability to deliver value to customers, it must be all pervasive part of everyones job description, from the receptionist to the Board Of Directors.


The nature, characteristics of Indian Business are changing drastically due to globalization and high degree of competitiveness. As Marketing is the live wire of any business organization, Marketing Managers / Personnel are under tremendous pressure as they are highly accountable for growth of top and bottom line (and consequences) of the business.


Marketing was born as a means of carrying out a specialized function, determining two management activities - determining market objectives and checking sales.


According to limited vision, marketing has a static competence, as a tool of gathering, providing and updating data. According to the wider vision, marketing has also a scope of assessing products, analyzing the competition, examining the adopted distribution, channel efficiency and studying the promotional advertising initiatives that support the sales. Therefore to be highly successful today, a company must become highly computer-oriented i.e. system and data based. The marketing managers must look for weak points in the positions of its competitors and then launch aggressive marketing attacks /suitable marketing strategy against those weak points - these are very crucial and calculative functions which consist of so many activities and as a result the marketing managers are under high job stress.


Marketing managers develop the organizations detailed marketing strategies with the help of other departmental managers and subordinates; they determine the demands for products and services offered by the organization and its competitor-organizations and identify potential consumers e.g. industrial consumers, business firms, wholesalers, retailers, Government, the general public etc. They develop the pricing strategy with an eye towards the competitors pricing policies versus the products performance while putting best efforts to maximize the firms market share, profits and ensuring the organizations customers/ consumers (are satisfied) satisfaction. The marketing managers continuously analyze the advertisement and other relevant promotional policies to promote the products and services, far better ways than its competitors. This process yields high job pressure and hence, tension or mental stresses on the marketing managers, as the competitions have increased to great extents.


In the highly competitive era in the field of marketing, the rat race for being the first mover has reached its peak. This has created stress on marketing work force and due to the stress; the desire to be innovative than be repetitive has increased in marketing management.


Before Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization era, competitions in marketing and other business activities were less than post L.P.G. era. These are explained below.


Pre-LPG Era


It is LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization) era in India. It started in early 1980's with pro-business measures like removing restrictions on capacity expansion, price controls and reducing corporate taxes. Second phase of liberalization started in early 1990's which ended many public monopolies and allowed foreign direct investment in many sectors.


After independence from British colonial rule in 1947, India opted a socialist economy with government control over private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. This economic policy aimed to substitute products which India imports with locally produced substitutes, industrialization, state intervention in labour and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation and centralized planning. It expected the creation and growth of capital and technology intensive heavy industries as well as subsidizing manual, low skill collage industries simultaneously.



 

Jawaharlal Nehru, who formulated and oversaw this economic policy expected a favourable outcome from this strategy because it features both capitalist market economy and socialist command economy. But the outcome was unfavourable to the country and leads to liberalization and privatization in India.

Government made large investments in heavy industries and expects these industries will produce enough capital for investment in other sectors of the economy. But it didn't happen. In the other hand, government has to invest more money for the survival of these companies because of poor management and low productivity. For example, the public sector steel company losses were more than its initial investment while the private sector steel company was making profit.


India's average annual growth rate from 1950-1980 was 3.5%. At the same time other Asian countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan recorded an annual growth rate of 8%. Now 'Hindu rate of growth' is an expression to refer low annual growth rate.


The failure of pro-socialist economic policy to produce an annual growth rate comparable to its neighbours leads to the economic reforms going on now.


Globalization


Globalization is a process of integration and interaction among the people, governments and business entities of different nations. Many see globalization as an economic phenomenon. The process is driven by international trade, investment and capital flows. But it has effects on the environment, culture, political systems, economic development and prosperity, and physical well-being of the societies around the world.

Societies across the globe have established progressively closer contacts over many centuries. Earliest forms of globalization existed during Mongol Empire which is an interconnected trade routes(Silk Road) extends over 5000 miles on land and sea and connects China, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, India and Rome. Global integration continued through expansion of European trade in 16th and 17th centuries when Portuguese and Spanish empires reached to all corners of the world. Globalization becomes a business phenomenon when first multinational company, Dutch East India Company, founded in 17th century in Netherlands. It was the first company in the world to issue shares, an important driver of globalization. 19th century saw rapid growth in international trade and investment between European imperial powers and their colonies. After World War II, regional and multinational trade agreements like GATT, WTO, and NAFTA were signed to reduce tariffs and barriers to trade.


Advances in communication and transportation technology combined with free market ideology have given goods, services and capital unprecedented mobility. Developed countries want to open world market to their goods and take advantage of cheap labor in poor countries. They use international financial institutions and regional trade agreements to force poor countries to integrate to the world economy by reducing tariffs, privatizing state enterprises and relaxing environmental and labor standards.


The world is increasingly confronted with problems like cross-boundary water pollution, degradation of natural environment, regulation of outer-space, global warming, international terrorist network, and global trade. These problems can not be solved by individual nation states acting alone. This necessitates cooperation between nations and creation of global institutions.


The world is more interdependent than ever. Along with products and finances, ideas and cultures circulates more freely. Worldwide drive towards globalize economic system dominated by multinational corporate trade and banking institutions that are not accountable to democratic process or national government. This has benefited multinational corporations in the western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures and common people. For billions of the world's people, business driven globalization means uprooting old ways of life and threatening livelihoods and cultures. It should be resisted or regulated in order to promote more democratic process and sustainable development.


 

State of Indian Economy


Indian economy is growing fast in last few years. Growth of 9.0% in 2005-2006 and 9.2% in 2006-2007 in GDP. The share of agriculture in GDP is continuously declining and is 18.5% now. The share of industry (26.4%) and services (55.1%) are increasing.

Services contributes 68.6% of overall growth in GDP in last five years. Contribution of industry is less than half of the contribution from services. But industrial sector growth is 10% in 2006-2007. At the same time service sector grows 11.2% and agriculture sector growth is only 2.7%.


From the above statistics it is clear that, after Liberalization, Globalization and Privatization, industrial growth has been increasing along with the increase in competitions and the major drive comes from the marketing field, governed by successful marketing managers. Todays business world and the marketing managers life style pattern make him/her vulnerable to stress. Continuous struggle of marketing managers to cope up with the competitors and generating innovative ideas to go ahead to earn profit and for long lasting of the organizations, results in very high degree of stress and pressure on them.


In Business Line (Business Daily from the Hindu Group of Publications) of 10th April, 2007, Chennai based Author; R. Devarajan stated that The kernel of marketing management is its kaleidoscopic character. Companies capable of achieving a complete and comprehensive change alone will make the grade and arrive, considering the dog-eat-dog competition in the contemporary market economy.


Nowadays, the marketing function is a much bigger landscape in management. It is no longer just a department that puts the icing on the cake; it is the cake itself. The advent of the small screen with its tendentious outreach together with the unprecedented explosion in the consumer goods sector, backed by obnoxious advertising and publicity have contributed to this passion for possession a kind of paranoia and phobia. Of course, all these are an adjunct to the aggressive marketing maneuvers that is commonplace in the millennium.


It is a paradox of political economy that capitalism has triumphed because Communism has failed. The fact that capitalism has managed to outlive the State-controlled economy has given the market economy the label and insignia of success.


The non-competitive state economy is fast fading into the background. The competitive market economy is all set to win the war, at least for the present.


To put a clear picture of aggressive competitions in marketing, the cases regarding the marketing strategies of three multinational companies are sighted below.


1)       Samsung's Marketing Strategy in India:-


The case examines the marketing strategy of Samsung in India. It provides a detailed account of Samsungs marketing strategies to garner more market share. It examines Samsungs approach to product, pricing, distribution and promotion. It also provides insights into the future prospects of the company in light of the increasing competition and the slowdown in the consumer electronics market.


In 2003, February, Vice Chairman and C.E.O. of Samsung Electronics Jong Yong Yun stated "We are investing aggressively in marketing to transform our company to be truly market driven and to establish our Samsung brand as the most trusted and preferred brand in the market.


In August 2002, India's leading consumer electronics player, Samsung India Electronics Ltd. (Samsung) announced the signing on of seven celebrity cricketers - 'Team Samsung', as its brand ambassadors. In doing this, it aimed to cash in on the popularity of cricket in India. However, the company's hopes of celebrity endorsement received a setback due to anti-ambush marketing clauses, arising from ICC's agreement with some other companies. In place of the ads featuring the cricketers, Samsung launched its - 'Team Samsung. India First' campaign all over the country in December 2002. Said Arun Mahajan of Mudra, Samsung's ad agency, "The focus has been to evolve concepts to do with the players, to promote the cause of cricket and patriotism.'' The copy of the print ad read, 'With Team Samsung, It's India First.''


 

In December 2002, Samsung reported a sales turnover of Rs 30 billion with a growth rate of 20% (Refer Table I). Aggressive marketing had clearly contributed to Samsung's success. Said Rajeev Karwal, chairman and managing director, Electrolux Kelvinator Ltd, "Samsung's success is the result of a variety of factors such as competitive pricing, aggressive advertising and a tightly-run administration."


According to Samsung's former vice-president marketing, S.S. Lee: "The Team Samsung theme will be leveraged right through the year, with a concentrated burst in the first quarter to coincide with their place of the ads featuring the cricketers, Samsung launched its - 'Team Samsung. India First' campaign all over the country in December 2002. Said Arun Mahajan of Mudra, Samsung's ad agency, "The focus has been to evolve concepts to do with the players, to promote the cause of cr
icket and patriotism.'' The copy of the print ad read, 'With Team Samsung, It's India First.''


According to Samsung's former vice-president marketing, S.S. Lee: "The Team Samsung theme will be leveraged right through the year, with a concentrated burst in the first quarter to coincide with the World Cup. Analysts felt that the ad campaign would enable Samsung to effectively leverage the cricket craze in the country, and increase awareness of its brand. In December 2002, Samsung reported a sales turnover of Rs. 30 billion with a growth rate of 20%. Aggressive marketing had clearly contributed to Samsung's success. Rajeev Karwal, chairman and managing director, Electrolux Kelvinator Ltd, said "Samsung's success is the result of a variety of factors such as competitive pricing, aggressive advertising and a tightly-run administration."


1)       LGs Marketing Strategies in India:-


The case examines the marketing strategy of LG Electronics in the Indian market. It provides a detailed account of LGs strategies for gaining market share by examining its approach to product, pricing, distribution and promotion. The case also provides insights into the future prospects of the company in light of the increase in competition and the slowdown in the consumer electronics market.


In December 2002, the Managing Director of Francis Kanoi Marketing Services, Francis Xavier stated "LG's success is more related to marketing than technological superiority."


In November 2002, LG Electronics India (LG), one of the leading consumer durables companies in India, launched advertising campaigns featuring cricketers. LG announced that it would release 22 ad films featuring world-class cricketers to strengthen its association with cricket (Refer Exhibit I). The campaign, 'Cricket First,' which featured captains of the 14 teams participating in World Cup 2003, highlighted the spirit of cricket with a tagline, 'Captains of Cricket World, for the Captain of Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances.' The company announced that it would spend around Rs. 400-500 million on advertising during the World Cup. Analysts felt that LG might reap rich benefits by associating itself with cricket in a cricket crazy country like India. Analysts felt that LG was able to achieve a leadership position in all these segments because of its aggressive marketing strategy in India.. Since 1997, when LG entered India, it has emphasized on marketing. Analysts felt that LG was trying to sell a brand of consumer durables using an FMCG marketing model, and was trying to create a mass market for a brand, which had a premium image. Like the marketing of FMCG products, marketing was heavily dependent on advertising. Its advertisement spends to sales ratio at 5-6% of sales was very close to that of FMCG giant HLL. LG's use of the FMCG model was not limited marketing alone. Even at the retail and trade level, LG followed the strategies of FMCG companies.


By 2002, LG was the market leader in Colour Televisions (CTVs), air conditioners, microwave ovens, semi automatic washing machines and frost-free refrigerators


2)       Nokia's marketing strategy: A need for change


NO DOUBT THAT the products from the Finnish company, Nokia, are some of the very best in the world, but the company still hasnt found a profitable way to market its goods. The very reason that other mobile phone companies are fast eating up Nokias market share is their superior (yet simple) marketing practices.


Motorola and Samsung must now be in the FUW (frequently used words) list in Nokias board meetings. These companies have made Nokia pay dearly for its rudimentary approach in marketing its phones. The aggressive marketing practices followed by Motorola have hit Nokia very hard and it is losing very crucial global market share every month to its American competitor.


 

Nokia, quite alarmed by the dropping sales of its phones, is now putting all its weight behind the N-Series range. The N-Series is packed with multimedia features and Nokia believes that these phones might woo the costumers back to the big daddy of the mobile phone world. (Nokia is headquartered at Espoo, Finland).


While Motorola (quite intelligently) gives a dashy-flashy name to every phone it brings into the market, Nokia tends to do the exact opposite. Nokia from the very start has relied on numbers rather than names. This strategy worked very well in the past, but only because there wasnt much competition back then. But times have changed. Every month the market sees at least a dozen new handsets from an equal number of manufacturers. Consumers now have more than they can choose.


Consumers are more attracted by names because they can thus easily relate to the features of the phone. This is evident from the success of the MotoRazr, MotoSlvr, MotoRizr and MotoKrzr. These phones are not packed with heavy multimedia features like the N-Series; still they are selling like hot cakes. Just by reading the name of the handset, one gets a broad idea what the phone looks like or what its features are.


Nokia advertises more than Motorola. Still its market share is dropping. Motorola does not need to spend much money for the promotion of its products and it doesnt have to worry about the marketing of these phones; it just simplifies its job by naming its products right. Take the example of Apple. It did not have to do much to promote its Phone.


At this phase, Nokia must start applying some common sense to its marketing strategies. It doesnt have to do anything great, other than just naming its phones. A few months ago, a highly placed Nokia official told Reuters that his company would soon go the Motorola way and start using names for its new phones. It is in Nokias best interest that it takes to this path as early as possible, otherwise the once market leader might see its market share plummeting to even lower depths.


From the above mentioned discussions, it is very clear that, to cope up with the present marketing scenario, the marketing managers obviously have to take too much mental stress to achieve their targets or fulfill their objectives, if they fail to do their jobs, the organizations will face the adverse consequences and they (the marketing managers) would not be spared. This mental tension is always in their conscious and unconscious mind; it results in mental stress which can be defined as a reaction to continued excessive responsibility or pressure when one feels inadequate or unable to cope, this stressed condition is experienced by marketing managers when they perceive that they are unable to meet the demands placed on them, as a result, there are always hidden fear of losing the job due to unsuccess. Besides this, there is continuous struggle to prove their worth.



The Human Performance and Stress curve by Yerkes-Dodson is shown below

Human Performance vs. Performance Curve


It is clear from the curve that, if there is no stress or very less stress, the employees are not willful to perform well, it is called CALM condition, the performance level is low at this level of stress, at EUSTRESS level of stress, employees are motivated, energized, willful, more focused and the performance level is maximum. When the stress level increases more, the performance decreases, this phase is termed as DISTRESS.


 

Too much stress on the marketing managers causes Loss of confidence, depression, anger, frustration, anxiety and panic attacks etc. very frequently they become addicted to alcohol, drugs, in many cases they become victims of fatigue related diseases, high blood pressure, heart ailment etc; in worst cases, heart attacks etc. are the results of increasing mental stress, due to increase in competition on marketing managers.


The stressors in work place of marketing managers are as threats on jobs, continuous development of new marketing skills, too much travelling, staying away from family due to excessive touring, adaptation to new marketing tools and technology.


Managing time on the job, conflicting demands , Role conflict, sometimes lack of motivators for performance, organizational politics, in some cases responsibilities without adequate power to fulfill them, achieving the desired targets before deadline and along with these the high degree of increasing competitors and aggressive marketing strategies to win over them, has become very crucial to manage.

From the Performance-Stress curve it is clear that, if the stress level of marketing managers are at EUSTRESS level, then optimum output can be expected from them, but if it increases to the DISTRESS level it is harmful for the managers and also for the organizations; at the same time, due to increase in competition, increase in stress is inevitable, so, these are the responsibilities of both the marketing managers and the organizations to go for Stress Management approaches for reducing stress and keep it within the EUSTRESS level.


Some Remedial Measures:-


The marketing managers must put optimum effort to adopt the stress reducing techniques on their own accord, to be healthy and successful. The organizations also should take care of the mental stress of marketing managers and conduct the compulsory seminars, classes, counseling regarding stress management and stress reducing techniques.


Some of these are as follows.


  • Regular exercise is a powerful anti-stress activity. It is regarded as one of the safest and a cheap way to reduce stress. Aerobics, stretching or massaging reduce stress as they release endorphins.
  • Proper yoga techniques.
  • Meditation.
  • Zen Meditation can be used as an anti-stress technique as it leads to relaxation of mind and body. Researchers have shown that Zen meditation is able to produce alpha waves which are associated with a feeling of tranquility and lack of tension. Zen meditation involves concentrating on a bindu point on a picture.
  • Music can also go a long way in reducing stress. Listening to soothing music can help one in coping with stress.
  • Developing a hobby can be of great help to people under stress. Hobbies like gardening, photography or philately can give a sense of satisfaction and provide relaxation to mind.


If the stress level is very high and difficult to manage, specialist doctors should be consulted and proper treatment is advisable.


Stress management techniques are basically about evolving a coping mechanism. The coping mechanism should give emphasis on relaxation, leisure and tranquility.


Conclusion


A conclusion can be drawn from the above discussion that, in present era, mental stress of marketing managers have increased to a very high extent, there is no doubt about it, but it can be changed to a healthy level of stress and the competitions can be made more challenging by scientific and systematic marketing strategies, on going market study & research, continuous adaptation to the changing market trends, proper use of right marketing workforce, managing time and of course stress reducing techniques by the marketing managers themselves and the organizations.


 

References:-


  1. Stephen P. Robbins- Organizational Behaviour, Pearson Education Inc. 2001.
  2. Nag.- The 100 minutes Marketing Managers, Macmillan India Publication, 2001.
  3. Obholzer, Anton and Robert Vega Zagier-The Unconscious at work: Individual and Organizational stress in the Human Service, Routledge Publication,1994.
  4. Uma Ghulati-Management of Stress, New Century publication, 2005.
  5. 'Science in Marketing'  By John Willey, NY1965.
  6. 'Designing and Managing H.R. Systems'  By Udai Pareek & T.V. Rao, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, 2003.
  7. N.I.P.M Journals February & June 2007.
  8. 'Manual of the Occupational Stress Index'  By A.K.Srivastava & A.P.Sing, B.H.U.1981.
  9. Indian Management, vol.-43, March 2005, vol.-35, Jan 2007. 'Occupational sources Managerial & White Collar of Stress'  By  C.L.Cooper & J.Marshall, NY1976.
  10. www.stress.org
  11. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing-mix
  12. www.biztree.com



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