So last week, I explained a little bit about what makes up “Marketing at Microsoft”; the different kinds of marketing that we do. The functions I describe make up a lot of the marketing roles at Microsoft but I wanted to give you some more detail on the “other” roles, which I think of as the specialized functions of marketing at Microsoft. Specifically, I'm talking about Brand Management, Pricing and Licensing, Public Relations/Analyst Relations, Advertising Management, Packaging, Market Research and Event Management.
So this is another tricky title, because many companies out there, specifically consumer packaged goods companies, use the terms branding or brand management in a totally different way. What those companies describe is a functional similar to what we call product management here. Their brand managers own product strategy and marketing for a brand of goods or a family of brands. Here at Microsoft, when we talk about Brand Management, we are talking about the folks that manage our brand identity. This could mean a product brand like XBox, or Microsoft's corporate brand and all brands in between. So branding in this context involves not only the look and feel of our brands (like logos) but also the meaning of the brand in the marketplace.
Pricing and Licensing
This one is pretty straight-forward, I think. People with responsibility for pricing and licensing strategy at Microsoft analyze and assess implications of licensing and pricing decisions relative to the competitive market environment. Often, responsibility for pricing strategy will fall on the Product Management, although we do have a centralized organization that focuses specifically on licensing.
Public Relations/Analyst Relations
This is one of my favorite areas. We have a centralized PR organization within our Central Marketing Group and we also have people responsible for PR (at a product level) sitting within our business groups. People responsible for PR at Microsoft deliver PR and AR strategies in reactive and proactive situations. They develop relationships with external contacts including the editorial community and key analyst to identify opportunities for coverage and respond to inquiries. They write content for press releases and work with outside PR partners. They engage with internal stakeholders within product organizations to deliver PR frameworks and solutions as part of an overall marketing strategy.
Microsoft works closely with advertising agencies to create and roll out advertising via a number of different media. People at Microsoft focused on advertising develop the advertising strategy for products and brands and also manage the relationships with external advertising agencies. The types of backgrounds that we tend to look for in this area are similar to Account Manager/Director in an agency environment. So we are looking for people who know how to engage with the customer (here the customer would be the product group or brand) and work with the creative folks to to get the strategy implemented (these would be our agency partners).
Packaging responsibility most often sits with the product management team (as a portion of their product strategy), although we do have a centralized organization that works directly with the internal client (product groups) and outside vendors to create and implement packaging strategies.
I explained a little about what we look for in Market Research talent last week (click here). Since market research is part of our Central Marketing Group, this group also engages with internal clients (could be product groups, Corporate Advertising, Brand, etc.) to analyze research needs, create research strategy, work with outside vendors to conduct primary research, analyze data and present at all levels of management. Within this organization, Market Research Managers specialize by subject matter (customer research, PR research, etc.).
Event Management is also contained within our Central Marketing Group. Event management at Microsoft is focused on creating great events, trade shows and presentations. People in this area have creative skills related to a number of different media from creating presentations to photography. Events Management also project manages whole events or Microsoft's participation in events and trade shows, working with vendor partners to provide logistical support and onsite management. Microsoft employees in events management may also provide support to executive speakers and business stakeholders.
I hope this provides a little insight into additional marketing roles here at Microsoft. Remember, someone in a marketing role here could have elements of many different types of marketing in their positions...which provides for a lot of variety every day. If you have questions regarding specific marketing roles at Microsoft, I'd be happy to provide additional details!