Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Tell if a Company is Marketing-Driven

I recently advised an MBA student who wanted to work in marketing that she should seek out marketing-driven companies for her first job out of business school, especially if she wanted to learn more marketing skills on the job. Obviously, P&G, Unilever, L’Oreal, Colgate-Palmolive and other large consumer packaged goods companies fit into this category, but what would indicate that other companies are marketing-driven or not?
  • Have you seen national advertising for the brand? Or, if it is a B2B brand, if you have worked in that industry before, have you seen B2B advertising for that brand?
  • Have you heard of their brand(s)?
  • Does the company’s CEO have a marketing background?
  • If it is a B2B company, does it spend at least 4 or 5 percent of its revenues on marketing? If it is a B2C company, does it spend at least 8 to 10 percent of its revenues on marketing?
  • Does the head of marketing in the organization report to the CEO or someone else?
  • Is the organization’s head marketing person a C-level executive?
  • How much does the organization spend on marketing research each year?
  • How many focus groups does the organization conduct each year?
  • Is someone in the organization responsible for brand management?
  • Do they measure the equity of their brand each year? Is this through simple third-party brand tracking or a more comprehensive brand equity measurement system?
  • Are brand metrics a part of their balanced scorecard?
  • Ask to see copies of their marketing and brand plans.
  • Do they have an agency of record or at least agency partners? That is, can they name at least one marketing agency with whom they are currently working?
  • Do your interviewers know the difference between sales and marketing?
  • Do they describe brands as something different from either logos/brand identity or marketing communications?
  • If they refer to marketing as “sales support” be very concerned.
  • Are they looking specifically for MBAs with marketing concentrations?
  • Has someone from that company spoken to your school’s marketing club/association?
  • Do they recruit from top marketing MBA programs, such as Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Harvard, Stanford or The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania?

As a young professional in marketing, you will learn the most from companies that are marketing-driven. Taking your first job out of business school at one of those companies will put your career on solid footing and provide you with solid skills that you will be able to use throughout your career.

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