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Brand Managers and Marketing Associates Tips

Freelance Marketing Careers

Most people in marketing start out as designers, copywriters, or account executives, learning the business and gaining experience through their work for clients. As a freelance marketer, your first product is yourself. Make sure your clothes, your grooming, your business cards, your website and your e-mails all reflect a high level of professionalism and project the image you want to convey.

Next you’ll want to identify your target market. Minimally, this should consist of “companies with a budget for marketing.” You’ll want to narrow that down to take advantage of your past expertise and career goals. Finally, you should already have a good network before you go freelance as a marketer. Use every opportunity to build this further, both to your own advantage and to aid your clients.

SWOTs and PESTs

Two common types of marketing analysis are referred to by their acronyms, SWOT and PEST.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This report depicts the position of a brand or organization at a single moment in time, then looks forward to possible future events. Strengths are the elements of your product and market position that put you ahead of the competition. Weaknesses are, obviously, the factors that put you behind. Opportunities are trends and events that open new possibilities for your product or brand, while Threats are anticipated events (such as competi- tor upgrades or corporate cash-flow problems) that could get in the way of taking advantage of those opportunities.

PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technical. This report looks at the wider world and how it is affecting your product or brand. Are people turning away from products like yours? How is the economy affecting consumers’ buying decisions?

Both of these reports are often best done by freelance marketing professionals, as they can bring an outside perspective to help corporate executives look beyond their own organizations.

The Cluttered Marketplace

In today’s developed world, there are far more products than any individual consumer could need or want. Which brand of dog food is best for little Pugsley? Is that “healthy” pasta any better for you than the store brand? Are paper towels any better if they have pictures of vegetables on them?

We ask these questions because marketers and brand managers have taught us to do so. If there were only one brand of dog food, pasta, or paper towels available, we would buy that brand and probably be content with our purchase. Because there are many brands striving for a place in our shopping carts, we are confronted with a dizzying array of packages, colors, coupons, and wrappers that scream “New!” or “Improved!”

Your job as a freelance marketing pro is to make your product stand out from its competitors. Look for ways they are alike, and seek to be different. If all the other products in your category use bright colors on their boxes, try packaging yours in white. If the grocery store isn’t the best place for your healthy product, try promoting it in drugstores or health-food stores. By understanding how your consumers make their buying decisions, you can use your creativity to get their attention.

The Perfect Brand Name

One of the more creative and challenging decisions a brand manager
can be asked to undertake is the naming of a new product. While some companies pay many thousands of dollars to consultants who specialize in naming, others may bring in a freelance marketing professional to assist with the naming process. Criteria for a good product name include:

• Ability to legally protect the name, including registering it as an Internet domain

• Reflects benefits of the product to the consumer

• Makes a positive first impression in keeping with the marketing strategy for the brand

• Is easy to pronounce

• Has no obscene or uncomfortable meanings in English or in other languages that are spoken by target customers

• Helps distinguish the product from its competitors

What Do Freelance Marketing Associates Do?

Freelance marketing associates’ duties can vary widely depending on their experience and their clients’ needs. Here are some typical projects:

• Analyzing data on existing customers

• Reporting on competitive markets

• Working with executives to develop strategic marketing goals

• Conducting focus groups, surveys, and interviews to learn more about consumers’ needs and reactions

• Managing promotional events

• Developing corporate identity literature, including websites

• Developing new products

• Identifying new markets for products

Where Does The Term Brand Managers Come From?

The field of brand management was invented at Procter & Gamble in the 1930s. A young man named Neil McElroy had been placed in charge of marketing Camay soap, which competed not only with other soap makers but with P&G’s own Ivory brand.

McElroy wrote a now-famous memo arguing that each brand should have a marketing team devoted to it, each targeting different markets and working to differentiate their product.

Today’s brand managers may be full-time or freelance, and may be targeting consumers on the Internet as well as through traditional media. Yet the mission -- to take responsibility for the marketing of one specific product — remains the same.

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