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I love Sales and Marketing because people will always need and want to “buy” stuff. The pay isn’t the greatest initially and the 4 P’s of Marketing are definitely in flux but each one has their own unique opportunities:
Product- New products are evolving fast than ever before- Think iPhone and Samsung or other Cell phone Manufacturers- Innovate or die. Motorola, Blackberry Nokoia etc. This phenomenon is cutting across all industries. At Toyota Material Handling the competitive forklifts are getting cheaper and have more quality than ever before. We have to adapt for the customers to keep their business
Place (or Distribution)- Wow massive changes and opportunity. Brick and mortar vs On-line. Category killers like Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble when I was in college changed the retail landscape. Now it’s all on-line. Amazon has changed everything forever. Same with the Industrial side. Our dealers who represent Toyota have to evolve and be a customer one stop shop thru traditional avenues as well as online. Huge challenge and opportunity we are working thru.
Promotion- Advertising is what most people think of when they think Marketing. Every great Ad you see on TV (and the bad ones) really resonate. But Promotion has a lot of opportunities beyond Advertising. If you are socially motivated Public Relations is an avenue, but very competitive as it’s gets a lot of interest from college Marketing grads. On the industrial side we are constantly looking for innovative ways to promote our product to a targeted non-main stream audience….People or businesses that need to move material at the safest lowest cost that allows them to make the most money.
Price- I have worked for two number 1 brands in my career. Caterpillar and Toyota and it is challenging to be the price leader and grow Market share. Price is completely reliant on the other 3 P’s. Struggle in one and it has a 2x multiplier on the difficulty of pushing Price. Pricing is my least favorite of all four but just is as important as the rest. Doesn’t matter if you have the best product or service if it isn’t price right people won’t buy it. Conversely if you don’t make any money you won’t survive.
There is a 5th P that isn’t as prevalent in academia that I like. People. You can’t do anything without good People!
In terms of makng yourself more marketable I am a huge fan of Co-op or internships. If you can't get that opportunity approach local businesses in the summer and offer your services and problem solving skills