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Creative thinkers with good planning and organisational skills run marketing departments of organisations. They are responsible for managing the branding of the company and for developing strategies that will put their companies on the corporate map.
These multi-skilled individuals are marketing managers.
Maria Kok is a marketing manager at Primedia Outdoor. She recently joined the company from Ster-Kinekor Distribution, where she was also marketing manager.
"I have always had an interest in public relations, so marketing was a natural progression for me," says 29-year-old Kok.
After matriculating from Sea Point High School, Kok enrolled at South Peninsula College, which is now known as False Bay College. There she studied towards a public relations diploma.
After working at various organisations, from a casting agency to production com-pany, Kok joined Ster-Kinekor Distribution as a marketing assistant.
Shortly after starting her new job, she registered at the University of South Africa for a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), specialising in marketing. She is currently doing her second year.
As marketing manager, Kok is responsible for all marketing and media-related activities for Primedia Outdoor. She develops and protects the organisation's brand identity, as well as implementing and driving marketing strategies for the company.
Marketing managers are responsible for the promotion activities of their companies, and for conceptualising, executing and implementing marketing strategies.
They decide on the most effective way to promote their product, service or message to as many people as possible.
This involves planning a range of marketing strategies such as media and Internet advertising, direct mail shots and events.
A marketing manager's tasks include researching and analysing market trends; identifying target markets and deciding how best to reach those markets; planning campaigns and managing budgets and also making sure that those campaigns run to deadline and on budget.
Those who want to be effective as marketing managers must be open to and ready for constant change because they will not be working on the same project for a long period.
"If you like routine, this job is not for you," says Kok.
Kok says aspiring marketing managers must be able to take the impossible and make it possible and be willing to learn continually. They must be innovative and possess good writing and communication skills.
Even if an individual is not a born leader, he will need to learn how to lead because a marketing manager needs to have the ability to inspire his staff members and those responsible for the selling of the product.
Marketing is not just about selling, but about understanding the market - the people the product is sold to.
In order to sell a product, marketing managers must have in-depth knowledge of their products.
Most importantly, marketing managers must believe in the product they are selling or they will not be able to sell it to anybody else.