A day in the life of an ABM

So this next post is written by Anupriya Singhal, who is currently the Regional Brand Manager for Lux South Asia with Unilever. She has worked with L'Oreal in the past (which is where I met her) and Heinz and GCPL across sales and marketing and has been kind enough to write on the blog - so do read! Its a brief introduction to marketing, what the function entails etc.

She's written about what FMCG marketing is - do note that in a different market (Luxe etc), your job will be entirely different - would be more about aesthetics and the "glamour" so to speak. Comments and queries welcome, she follows the blog :)
Marketing has to be the most "Glamourised" job in a B-School. Continue to read this if you thought atleast 3 things about marketing from the list below:
1. Marketing is all about making ads

2. You launch a product every now and then

3. You meet the big stars and it is a very glamorous place to be in

4. Kotler has taught us everything about marketing

5. Marketing starts and ends with 4 Ps

6. Marketing is about applying brains and thinking out of the box

7. Creativity is the key to being a successful marketeer

8. Its about making pretty presentations

9. Numbers are a sales thing - and marketing is more surrreal than that

10. Marketing is a superior function and the focal point of an organisation

So it is now a true "reality bites" moment - marketing is not more than 10% about all of the above. 90% of your time, energy and efforts will not go into any of the listed things. So now let me list what you will actually do as a marketeer - and not just when you start but for a really really long time:

1. You are a co-ordinator more than anything else - your day starts and ends with follow ups - with the agency, with the supply chain, with the vendors, with the ASMs, with the regulatory, with the research team and the list is longer than what this blog can take.

2. You are everyones favourite scape goat in the system - jo theek nahi hua woh marketing ki galti hai -all timelines are your to own and no one else's

3. Numbers have to become your first and only love as a marketeer. A good marketeer would need to do an impossible task of synthesising all information into hard numbers and bring innumerable data sources together. And it is not a one off thing - 50% of your working time goes into this

4. You are a report generation factory. Every month starts with a primary report, then secondary report, then share update, then household panel update, then stock update etc. - before you realise it,its 30th and you are dreading the 1st to start the cycle all over again

5. Most marketeers havent experienced making a TVC more than once in 2 years and a new launch once or twice in their lives - so the entire 4 Ps concept goes out of the window because more often than not you cannot influence most part of it

6. Marketing is more about roling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty than even sales. Every morning you end up doing things like - which depot has stock and which does not, have the posters reached the depots, checking packaging artworks where every comma, every spelling mistake is your fatal mistake, getting estimates raised, getting advances realeased, getting cheques cleared et al

7. You dont learn anything about marketing in a B-school. You only learn a disposition towards the function and your own attitude being a fit with it or not. Otherwise marketing is an absolutely learnt art. It is 99% learnt on the job and it has an almost standardised learning curve. If you are brilliant then you will cover the learnin curve in 3 months lesser time and if not - you will learn it in 4 months more. However if you dont have the attitude fit with the function then you may never learn it at all. But the truth is everyone starts with a ground 0 on this - a gold medalist or the last one in the class!

But having said all of this, it is an exhilarating job!


  1. It's been an year,since I am learning marketing. And I never saw such a frank and upright blog. Atleast i am more clear of what lies ahead as a marketer or an ASM. Thanx a tonne!!

  2. So True. Fantastic explanation. If you could also put an article on "A day in the life of an FMCG ASM"

  3. Frank and Honest. Hats off to the writer for bringing up the true picture. Could you provide something similar for an ASM as well?

  4. Kotler correctly defines marketing as 'creation, communication & delivery of value' and all of the functions discussed by the author fit perfectly in this definition. Anyone who teaches marketing to be advertising or anything else is stupid.

  5. Such an appropriate and one honest submission. Every word written is true..


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