Introduction to Product and Brand Management

Siri, Alexa, and personal digital assistants. Augmented and virtual reality. Artificial intelligence, social influencers, and social media. Amazon, Google, and YouTube. These technological advancements have all changed the way we live, work, and interact with others.

Figure 1.1: Digital disruption is the name of the game.

Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.

Digital disruption is the name of the game. Netflix made Blockbuster irrelevant. Smartphones made the Sony Walkman, Garmin GPS devices, Blackberrys, desktop computers, digital cameras, flashlights, and even laptops irrelevant to an extent. Amazon is killing retailers and malls. Digital evolution is quick and deadly.

So how do you ensure you are the predator and not the prey? You let marketing lead the way.

No offense to other business disciplines, but without marketing, there is no business. Without marketing, salespeople have nothing to sell; accountants have no money to count; economists have nothing to analyze but gloom and doom.

Figure 1.2: Consumers are more connected than ever before.

iStock.com/Ellagrin.

Today’s consumer is more connected than ever. Consumers have access to more information, content, purchasing options, and brands than ever before, thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and platforms. There are no borders. You can buy products directly from China as easily as from a retailer down the street. It’s marketing’s job to ensure that consumers have a seamless experience with brands, products, and services at all touchpoints—digital, analog, and personal—across the globe.

Effective marketing campaigns are the handiwork of skilled and trained marketing professionals. It is an extremely fulfilling career being the architect of brand strategy. When you build a plan that engages the customer, showcases products and services in meaningful ways, and communicates how different, better, and special your products or services are compared to the competition, it feels incredible. You can see the direct results of your efforts to delight customers and drive purchases.

The strategies and skills used to develop these marketing plans—created in just the right way and executed at the correct times—are learned. In this book, I am going to teach you how to do it!

Created for Marketing Students by a Marketing Professional

This book gives you the tools and knowledge to effectively brand, build, and execute marketing plans for businesses, products, and services—a process commonly referred to as brand management. The skills and strategies you will learn are applicable across the spectrum of companies—from large consumer product brands to small mom-and-pops; from insurance agents to dentists; from outdoor product designers to home designers; from web-based businesses to candy shops.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Professor Eric D. Schulz. I moved to academia after spending 30 years leading marketing efforts for some of the world’s best marketing companies. I have been fortunate to work for Procter & Gamble, The Walt Disney Company, and The Coca-Cola Company. These titans have all stood the test of time in proving how to effectively build a strategic plan for effectively marketing their brands to consumers.

Through this pool of experience, I have brought together the best practices and strategies proven to generate customer interest and sales. The objective of this book is simple: to provide you with the tools and expertise to effectively brand your products and services and understand the time-tested principles that drive sales.

Marketing Tactics Change—Marketing Strategies Do Not

The tactics used to execute marketing plans constantly evolve. Emerging opportunities with digital marketing, artificial intelligence, social media, social influencers, and mobile marketing are new tools that are continually evolving in their use and effectiveness. The strategies that lead to successful marketing plans have remained consistent over time. This class will teach you the fundamental branding strategies that have been proven effective at marketing products and services.

Figure 1.3: Marketing tactics vs. strategies.

Futurists say that 60% of the jobs that will be available 10 years from now haven’t been invented yet. With that in mind, it becomes all the more important for marketers to steep themselves in the knowledge of effective fundamental strategies. The evolution of business and technology and the unseen and unknown opportunities that lie ahead will undoubtedly affect how we market our products and services in the future. An essential skill for marketers is learning, unlearning, and relearning new ways of applying strategies as the digital express picks up even more steam.

What Marketers Do

Marketers perform four essential tasks for their business:

  1. They create a strategic, actionable plan to guide their products’ and services’ branding, marketing, and communications.

  2. They identify the essence of their brand story. Great marketers are great storytellers, and they know how to tell stories with passion.

  3. They develop and foster interaction with their customers wherever they may be.

  4. They use creative ideas to build marketing plans to grow long-term profits.