At the highest level, Brand Managers supervise the marketing function for a specific brand of a consumer product. Brand managers are often compared to small business owners because they assume responsibility for a brand or a brand family. They always focus on the big picture. It is a job of a Brand Manager to distill the brand’s essence, map out competitors in their brand category, identify marketing opportunities, and be able to effectively communicate the unique benefits of that product or service.
There are several entry positions within Brand Management:
|Brand Manager||3-5 years, fully responsible for a brand’s business results, majority of time spent on planning, coaching, subordinates, and managing larger projects. Relies on assistants and associates for analysis.|
|Associate Brand Manager||2-3 years, more emphasis on managing projects and generating results. Reports to a brand manager.
|Assistant Brand Manager/Marketing Assistant||1-2 years, emphasis on analyzing, reporting, executing plans, and learning the business. Reports to a brand manager.
Personality Traits of a Brand Manager: highly motivated, able to handle broad responsibilities easily and with little supervision, thrives on constant change, and has good communication and persuasion skills.
Business Development professionals are usually responsible for proactively coordinating and implementing business development plans for an organization or a particular division within that organization. More specifically they determine business objectives and identify appropriate business opportunities for a company or a certain division based on market analysis and research recommendations; they execute approved business plans and lead implementation at all phases. Usually Business Development professionals have an objective of increasing size of the company’s market share, and with these goals they develop and execute comprehensive marketing and business plans to support new platforms and products, and also continuously look for new business opportunities.
Personality Traits of a Business Development Professional: strong leadership and teamwork skills, ability to perform work with little or no supervision, strong decision-making and critical thinking skills, knowledge of company’s industry, proven negotiation skills, and strong capability to handle multiple tasks and priorities.
Marketing Research Managers are responsible for the marketing intelligence function of an organization. To support major marketing decisions, they coordinate activities such as collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data on marketplace trends and consumer preferences; they direct activities concerned with development of new concepts and ideas for organization’s products, services, or ideologies. Marketing Research Managers plan and formulate aspects of research and development proposals, such as the objective of the projects, applications that can be utilized from findings, project costs, and equipment and human resource requirements. It is their responsibility to analyze proposals and determine if possible applications and benefits derived justify expenditures.
Personality Traits of a Market Research Manager: being detail oriented, creative, flexible, personable/ collaborative, but at times able to work independently, and have solid analytical skills and the ability to lead and direct others.
Careers in Marketing require quite a wide array of qualitative skills as well quantitative abilities. Ideal candidates for a marketing position would be initiative and enthusiastic in both generating new ideas and acting upon implementation, would be strong leaders and able to effectively work with little or no supervision, and have well-developed communication and teamwork skills. In addition, it is very important for marketers to have solid project management skills that are critical for handling complex multitasking and to be creative and tenacious in overcoming obstacles.
Being detail-oriented and a strong analytical and critical thinker is a must especially for people pursuing career in marketing research. As marketers often need to convince others in the viability of their ideas, they need to develop negotiation and persuasion skills. All employers seek people knowledgeable in the industry and the company, and prefer candidates with highly developed decision-making skills. Currently, one of the most desirable combinations is that of marketing and finance, therefore, knowledge of the“finance world” and quantitative skills such as the ability to evaluate financial statements and to identify problematic points, and the understanding of how to interpret forecasts are very important.
Job Postings: examples
These postings below were taken from actual job posting with various companies, but they serve only as a sample.
Assistant Brand Manager, Full-Time
- Individual responsibilities will include developing and executing activities in consumer marketing, forecasting/ planning, in-store, national promotions, product and packaging development input, communications development, budgeting and business management for certain product lines.
- This position will involve a combination of support for the Senior Brand Manager on some initiatives and taking complete ownership over other initiatives.
- The ideal candidate will possess specific experience related to marketing (preferably with consumer goods) and demonstrate a strong interest in a career in consumer packaged goods marketing. Previous experience in marketing and consumer product management desirable, though not a requirement. A willingness to travel is essential.
- An MBA background is desirable, Bachelor’s Degree required. Necessary skills include: strong project management, organizational skills, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, an ability to analyze complex data, excellent interpersonal skills, ability to interact at all levels of management, collaborative, team orientation, strong written and oral communication skills (including presentation experience), proficiency in basic computer software (Excel, Power Point, Word) and ability to learn additional systems quickly.
Note: from careerbuilder.com
Reynolds & Reynolds
MBA Marketing/Business Development Intern
Reynolds and Reynolds is the leading provider of integrated solutions that help automotive retailers manage change and improve their profitability. Serving the automotive retailing industry since 1927, Reynolds enables OEMs and retailers to work together to build the lifetime value of their customers. The company’s award-winning product, service and training solutions include a full range of retail and enterprise management systems, Web and Customer Relationship Management solutions, learning and consulting services, documents, data management and integration, networking and support and leasing services.
Intern will be responsible for creating and executing marketing/business development strategies, including developing marketing plan, coordinating with sales plans, competitive assessment and product/market requirements. Summer project will revolve around channel management, business development and/or product development.
- MBA concentration in Marketing, Strategy, or Finance
- Candidate should have 2-5 years experience in business development or marketing
- Technology (software and services) business operations experience and/or automotive manufacturing or aftermarket product experience are a plus.
- Strong project management skills and attention to detail
- Strong written and verbal skills
- Strong interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills
- Results-driven, flexible and high-energy
Note: from e-Recruiting (http://msumba.erecruiting.com)
Market Research Analyst, Full-Time
Support decision making by working with executive management and internal teams (product development, sales, marketing etc.) to identify need and scope for primary and secondary market research, as well as providing analysis and synthesis on a wide variety of market analysis and planning projects.
- Function as an analyst to teams to identify need and scope of secondary market research that will lead to superior decision making on business issues;
- Provide analysis or information based on secondary research or other available data (i.e. internal reporting) from varied topics to support special project or planning activities;
- Assist Manager with primary research activities;
- Determine appropriate research design/methodology with clearly defined “measures of success”;
- Identify, negotiate and manage with outside vendors to conduct research as needed and ensure quality/cost/timing targets are met;
- Work with team to analyze and synthesize the results and then link to business decisions and issues; and
- Understand and keep up-to-date on marketing research techniques, technology and current methodologies.
- 2+ years experience in sales/marketing analysis;
- Education: BA in business, MBA preferred;
- College background marketing, market research, or in behavioral sciences;
- Flexible, willing and able to work in dynamic team environment;
- Experience in a consumer research supplier, durable goods firm, or similar consumer oriented marketing group a plus;
Brand Portfolio Group – Internship Opportunities
- Challenging Internship assignments in key Brand Portfolio functions: Brand Management, Merchandising, and Customer Care
- Training on Whirlpool’s core competencies (e.g., innovation, operational excellence, customer excellence)
- Immersion into Whirlpool’s culture
- Develop and demonstrate leadership capability in managing high caliber projects
Interns who join Whirlpool will have the opportunity to work with business leaders in the quest to turn our product positioning into solid business decisions that re-enforce Whirlpool’s global vision of “Every Home, Everywhere…with Pride, Passion and Performance.”
In the past, interns have had the opportunity to:
- Conduct competitive analysis
- Develop an understanding of key consumer drivers, through consumer research activities, and help translate the findings into strategic plans that fulfill the brand promise
- Assist in crafting the brand message and positioning support for execution in advertising, POS, catalogs, brochures and the Internet
- Learn and utilize innovation tools in the development of innovation projects, whether product or service oriented
- Working to complete MBA with an outstanding record of academic and professional achievement
- Solid understanding of marketing methods and processes
- Exceptional communication and strong interpersonal skills
- Impeccable presentation skills
- Ability to manage multiple projects
Whirlpool leader attributes and qualifications:
Whirlpool prides itself on hiring top-notch leaders with the necessary attributes and qualifications to achieve greatness. In this position, we are looking for a leader that possesses strong character and integrity, as well as confidence in their actions and decisions that will ultimately drive vital business decisions. The leader must have the ability to communicate strategies and solutions to colleagues and customers to achieve financial goals. With these attributes and practices, we believe that the leader will successfully provide extraordinary results and consistently drive change that will be key factors in Whirlpool’s future successes.
Note: from e-Recruiting (http://msumba.erecruiting.com)
Resume Key Words: examples
Account Development: Spearheaded account development programs throughout emerging markets worldwide.
Account Management: Profitably directed account management programs for key customers nationwide including Pepsi, Rolex, and Time Warner.
Account Retention: Created innovative account retention programs to protect key customers against competition.
Brand Management: Instituted a formal brand management process to accelerate revenue growth within the company’s core product line.
Business Development: Launched new business development initiatives throughout emerging Latin American markets.
Campaign Management: Directed copywriting, graphics, and multimedia production personnel to create an integrated campaign management strategy.
Competitive Analysis: Managed 6-person cross-functional marketing team responsible for competitive analysis and trend modeling within the mature hardlines market.
Competitive Contract Award: Favorably positioned negotiations to win competitive contract award against three major automotive manufacturers.
Competitive Market Intelligence: Compiled historical data, forecasts, and projections for a comprehensive competitive market intelligence study.
Competitive Product Positioning: Realigned sales and distribution channels to enhance competitive product positioning and accelerate revenue performance.
Consultative Sales: Deployed IBM’s first-ever consultative sales and account management programs focusing on customer needs assessment, technology delivery, and long-term customer training/support.
Customer Loyalty: Initiated pioneering programs in customer loyalty to halt competition.
Customer Needs Assessment: Led organization-wide analyses to develop a comprehensive customer needs assessment and retention program.
Customer Retention: Improved customer retention ratings by 26% through the introduction of sales incentives, premiums, and targeted promotions.
Customer Satisfaction: Increased customer satisfaction ratings with the implementation of account management and retention strategies.
Customer Service: Managed a fully integrated customer service function comprised of personnel from Sales, Marketing, Order Fulfillment, Distribution, and Customer Training/Support.
Direct Mail Marketing: Orchestrated copywriting, design, and print production of a 20,000-piece direct mail marketing campaign to support new product launch.
Direct Response Marketing: Deployed multimedia advertising and promotions to create a high-impact direct response campaign with better than 72% customer response.
Direct Sales: Managed a 65-person direct sales organization throughout North America.
Distributor Management: Recruited, trained, and directed worldwide distributor management programs to augment direct sales team.
E-Business: Pioneered Lionel’s entry into e-business, e-commerce, and e-trade, and delivered first year sales of more than $2.5 million.
Emerging Markets: Researched global sales trends and identified the top performing emerging markets worldwide as the first step in new product placement and positioning.
Field Sales Management: Promoted to field sales management position responsible for 22 direct sales associates and a 65-person North American distribution network.
Fulfillment: Reengineered core business processes to enhance the order fulfillment and distribution process.
Global Markets: Introduced new product technology to launch Zenith into key global markets.
Global Sales: Built and managed American Airlines’s most profitable global sales organization.
Headquarters Account Management: Assigned full P&L responsibility for headquarters account management of the Marriott business relationship.
High-Impact Presentations: Created multimedia, high-impact presentations to win a $5 million, 5-year customer contract.
Incentive Planning: Devised unique incentive planning program that drove individual sales performance by better than 10% in 1996.
Indirect Sales: Created indirect sales channels throughout the Mid-Atlantic, integrating the talents and resources of VARs, resellers, and other third-party distributors.
International Sales: Exploded international sales revenues with launch throughout Eastern Europe.
International Trade: Led AMAX’s international trade, barter, and import/export programs.
Key Account Management: Innovated a unique key account management program targeted to the company’s 10 largest multinational clients within North America.
Line Extension: Facilitated core product line extension in response to changing consumer market demands.
Margin Improvement: Streamlined field sales programs and consolidated functions, resulting in a 16% margin improvement on all major product lines.
Market Launch: Directed market launch of six new products in 1996, delivering total revenues of more than $2.8 million (125% of quota).
Market Positioning: Evaluated competitive activity and defined new corporate strategy for market positioning and revenue growth.
Market Research: Formalized Hill Brothers’ market research function with the introduction of real-time data access to competitive trends, products, technologies, and markets.
Market Share Ratings: Created a unique customer premium program and improved market share ratings by 16% in FY96.
Market Surveys: Developed a portfolio of market surveys, customer questionnaires, and consumer buying observational tools to define long-term product positioning.
Marketing Strategy: Conceived the marketing strategy that drove Procter & Gamble to its most profitable year within the consumer goods and HBA industries.
Mass Merchants: Challenged to identify and capitalize upon sales opportunities within emerging mass merchants market.
Multi-Channel Distribution: Expanded sales penetration through development of multi-channel distribution programs in Latin America, South Africa, and the Pacific Rim.
Multi-Channel Sales: Led a multi-channel sales organization integrating direct, distributor, and VAR sales teams.
Multimedia Advertising: Launched Discovery’s multimedia advertising program (e.g., print, broadcast, cable, Internet) in cooperation with one of New York’s most prestigious advertising agencies.
Multimedia Marketing Communications: Integrated print, broadcast, cable, and Internet technologies to create high-impact, high-yield, multi-media marketing communications targeted to customers nationwide.
National Account Management: Integrated the resources, products, and technologies of all of Microsoft’s customer sales divisions to create a fully integrated national account management organization.
Negotiations: Led high-powered negotiations for the successful award of a $6.2 million federal contract.
New Market Development: Hand-selected by CEO to spearhead Marriott’s new market development program as the first step in a 10-year global expansion plan.
New Product Introduction: Led the development and market launch of all new product introduction programs for Mazda, exceeding revenue goals by 22% and strengthening the company’s long-term market position.
Product Development: Spearheaded new product development programs, from concept through design, prototyping, and testing, to final market launch.
Product Launch: Led six new product launch campaigns within the emerging Eastern European markets, with one product generating $2.6 million in first year revenues (167% of quota).
Product Lifecycle Management: Directed “cradle-to-grave“ product lifecycle management programs in cooperation with Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Distribution.
Product Line Rationalization: Revitalized Sperry‘s product line rationalization program, divested two non-performing lines, and redeployed assets to focus on long-term growth markets.
Product Positioning: Evaluated competitive market trends and implemented product positioning strategies to ensure long-term and sustainable growth.
Profit & Loss (P&L) Management: Held full P&L management responsibility for the company’s core product line and all line extensions.
Profit Growth: Reengineered field sales and distribution organizations despite corporate downsizing and delivered a 16% gain in profit growth (versus 5% industry-wide loss).
Promotions: Conceived, developed, and launched multimedia promotions that dominated the regional market.
Public Relations: Created Martin Marietta’s corporate public relations function and produced an average of 10 press releases per month for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Public Speaking: Traveled worldwide to lead public speaking engagements on behalf of the corporation during its transition from private to public ownership.
Revenue Growth: Exploded market penetration and drove a 46% gain in revenue growth within first six months.
Revenue Stream: Created new revenue stream with the introduction of products throughout the Far Eastern market.
Sales Closing: Dominated sales negotiations and favorably positioned sales dosing against competition.
Sales Cycle Management: Spearheaded the entire sales cycle management process, from initial client consultation and needs assessment through product demonstration, price and service negotiations, and final sales closings.
Sales Forecasting: Introduced real-time data exchange between global sales offices to expedite annual sales forecasting functions.
Sales Presentations: Devised winning sales presentations utilizing multimedia demonstration techniques to consistently outperform competition.
Sales Training: Created a 6-month intensive sales training program in basic selling skills, competitive negotiations, and customer development/retention.
Solutions Selling: Delivered solutions selling strategies to enhance revenue performance of field sales organization.
Strategic Market Planning: Facilitated annual strategic market planning sessions in cooperation with top-level executives, sales and marketing managers, product line managers, manufacturing director, and other key management staff.
Tactical Market Plans: Translated marketing strategy into tactical market plans to accelerate growth throughout North America.
Team Building/Leadership,: Spearheaded first-ever team building/leadership programs as the platform for merging the competencies of several distinct product lines and business units.
Trend Analysis: Devised innovative research and statistical methods to strengthen trend analysis, market analysis, and competitive analysis competencies.
? Contact alumni. Working with alumni is the key for MBAs trying to get in a company. Alumni can provide advice, help you learn more about the career path, and perhaps provide contacts for you. Alumni can also give you in-depth insight into the types of projects performed in the company during internships or when you start full-time, so you can make your cover letter, pitch, and other interview answers more relevant. You can use Alumni Connection resources through MBA CSC.
? Always apply Online to any company where you want to work. At the very least when they meet you in some other venue (career fair, campus presentation, referral from an alumnus) they will be able to find you in their system and begin to process you as an applicant. At times, however, being registered online may spark an interview, especially if MSU is one of their target schools or they recruit mainly through their website.
? Check eRecruiting for notes on specific employers. There you may find insights we have collected from past candidates. If companies have a limited window to apply, that may be noted as well.
? Be VERY passionate about MARKETING! Know why you want to work in marketing and what you want to do.
? Research, Research, Research! Research industry in which you are interested, company where you would like to work, and position to which you are applying. Many candidates have lost out because they didn’t understand how the company and company’s marketing was structured.
Technical Interview Questions for Marketing
Technical interviews test your knowledge of marketing. Below is a list of questions MSU MBA candidates have been asked in recent years. Some of these questions are about your professional experience in marketing. Others are more like miniature situations or cases that happen in the marketing world.
New product launch
- The head of Marketing at XYZ company stops by your office on Monday and says that his kids were really excited about the beets at a weekend picnic. He wants to know if XYZ company should enter the beets market. How would you approach answering this question?
- R&D comes up with a new formula to revitalize your product. What questions would you ask to evaluate this improvement?
- What are the pros and cons of licensing another brand’s trademark vs. launching a new product independently?
- If it’s your first day on the job, and you have a list of new product launches, what questions would you ask?
- You are the brand manager for a product whose sales have been flat for the last five years. However, the brand’s market share has been growing by 5% every year for the last five years. What is happening to the brand? What would you do about this trend?
- You are currently the brand manager on A.1. Steak Sauce and a competitor recently added a taste superiority claim on their label. What do you do in response?
- How do you determine how many gas stations there are in the USA? (this type of question is very similar to questions asked by the consulting firms).
- You are charged with marketing a cookie in the USA that has been very successful in the United Kingdom. What things should you consider in brining the product to the market in the US?
- You are assigned to a brand that declined by 50 percent last year. Your manager gives you two weeks to analyze the problem. What type of information would you collect?
- If you were brand manager on PING-PONG balls and the US government suddenly banned the game of PING-PONG, what five alternative uses for PING-PONG balls could you come up with?
- Tell me one of your greatest ideas for a new product and why I should fund it.
- How would you lure a customer away from a brand they are totally committed to?
- Give me an example of an advertisement you thought was really effective and why?
- Tell me a brand that you think needs to be repositioned and why?
- If you were a brand, what brand would you be?
- If you were to design a print ad, what would it look like?
- What are the two most creative ideas that you have generated in the last two years?
General marketing questions
- Tell me about a brand that you think is an example of good marketing.
- Others do not always react positively to our efforts. Describe a situation in which you spend a lot of time developing something to meet a customer’s needs, and your efforts received an unfavorable response. What did you do with the feedback? What would you have done differently?
- What if you had an opportunity to run the concession stands at the next Super Bowl. What would you do (without any limits) to maximize your sales/profits?
- A brand is very powerful in a specific product category of the supermarket. How do you determine whether to leverage the brand in another category? (for example, Should Snackwell’s enter the pudding market?)
- If you are the #2 brand of dog food, and the #1 brand increases prices 8% what would you do?
- What is your favorite CPG company/brand? Tell me why? What would you do to double its sales?
- Tell me about a time you had to be particularly persuasive in presenting an idea and used your skill to influence others to accept it.
- What are some of the best ideas you have presented, and were accepted by your team or manager? What was your approach?
- What steps do you take in preparing for a meeting where you are attempting to persuade someone on a specific course of action?