Marketing Interview Questions
Q: Describe yourself.
Describe yourself, your views and other interesting facts, but do not go on praising yourself. “I am workaholic, dedicated and must take break often to rejuvenate myself. Well, this is what my friends would say. Nevertheless, I am calm and don’t mind accepting responsibilities.”
Q: Tell me about your educational background?
Start sharing information about your qualifications from the last degree attained. Also include any major achievements during the academic years. “I have done my post graduation in MBA and had been selected from my institute to represent the state at national level business meet…”
Q: What do you know about the organization?
Prepare yourself well ahead of the interview. Learn about the products and other aspects of the organization. Do your study in line with your profession/job applying. “The company deals in FMCG. It has also launched two new products in the last quarter. Further, what I have found is that the company is planning for expansion in the area of insurance.”
Q: How do you justify the job?
Share your expectations from the job. Mention the things you will be able to execute in respect to your experience and also the things you would be learning. “The job requires for individuals experienced in Search Engine Marketing and Online Promotions. As I have been working in the field of digital marketing for the last two years, my experience would help to meet the requirements of the work and also add value to the output.”
Q: Why do you want this job?
The answer would be similar like that of the previous one. Mention facts on how it will help you in developing your career. Provide you with the opportunity to implement your knowledge and skills. “The profile is right for me as I have experience in brand management. I would be able to use my knowledge and learn a lot from the company as it has a diverse portfolio.”
Q: Why do you want to work with this organization?
You may use the earlier answer for replying to this question. If the company is likely to expand its operations in the coming years or is undergoing such activities then highlight how it would affect your career. Mention the positives of this expansion in developing your career.
Q: Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Do not try to sound like an opportunist. You may say, “I would expect myself to be an important part in the marketing section of the organization. A research in this dynamic domain of marketing is something that I would also be aiming. The research would be towards developing a sustainable model for the organization and also for the industry at the macro level to boost up the marketing mechanism.”
Q: What are your strengths?
Share the strengths that have helped you in developing as marketing professional. “I have experience in SAP. It has given a new perspective to my career. Apart from the technical knowledge I have good negotiating skills. I gained the skill after working as a sales person in an insurance company.”
Q: What are your weaknesses?
Do not say that “I do not have any weaknesses”, as it may indicate that you are hiding facts. It is better to say things in a positive or humorous way. “I was initially not a multi-tasking person. But in the recent years I have developed myself and now I can handle around four projects simultaneously.”
Q: What is marketing?
Marketing is a medium through which the producers anticipates the demand of the consumers and sell the required product or service to satisfy their want. It is a broader platform where activities like brand management, brand promotion, and sales are all clubbed towards reaching the ultimate object of creating and retaining a market.
Q: What is marketing according to you?
Marketing is the exchange of product or service between the producer and consumer. It is anticipating the consumer requirements and identifying the potential market to exchange a product or service against a pre-determined value. Marketing involves a number of strategies and market players. The process is not only vital in creating a market but also in retaining the market.
Q: Why marketing?
Share reasons why you joined this domain of marketing. Talk about the experiences you have in marketing and other necessary information. “This is what I can do. All I did after joining the baseball team was that I sold more tickets than anyone else. It was then I realized that there are other avenues to score a home run. Later, when it came to garage sales I played the role of consultant.”
Q: Sell the product ________ to me.
The interviewer(s) would give you a product to sell or may ask you to choose your own product. Think out of the box and try to sell that product with a bit of humor.
Say the product is pencil- “No ink required, the writing can be erased anytime, low cost and easily affordable. Its pencil you would like to buy some.”
Q: Describe niche market.
Niche Market is a specific part of the market that a seller is focusing. This market is normal overlooked or ignored by the larger section of the producers. The small sellers may try to tap the potential of this niche market but normally fail due to cost factor. Niche market is concerned about customizing the service or product to meet the specific need of the consumer. As such the cost factor may at times go up.
Q: How would you brand yourself?
You may give brief idea about your work experience in marketing domain or in any specific area that you have worked on like advertisement or sales. “An expert salesman who has sold insurance and also bicycles.”
In case, you are a fresher you may highlight the achievements in your academic years. “In the college fair I was given the job of hall security but ended up planning the marketing strategy for selling the souvenirs of the show.”
Q: What are the different stages of a product lifecycle? Give examples of 3 products at different stages. What is will be their next stage?The stages are:
Q: What competitive skills do you have?
Mention your work experience and also highlight the academic achievements. “I have worked in digital marketing for 4 years and have two years sales experience in hydraulic brakes. I also have required experience in SAP.”
Q: How will you sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo?
This is one of the common questions in a marketing interview. The interviewer(s) is likely to evaluate your presence of mind and also how good salesperson you are. You may go for the following lines to sale the product:“The only temperature you can regulate to keep things fresh is that of the refrigerator.”
“The only thing that saves beers from freezing and meat from tuning into ice is refrigerator. Manages temperature and almost everything.”
Q: What is the difference between marketing and sales?
“Marketing is the promotion of the products and services in the defined market to a set of target audience. Marketing plans the approach and the strategy required to be implemented. It uses both the traditional and modern promotional vehicles. Marketing includes activities like brand promotion, brand awareness and sales.”
“Sales are a part of the marketing activities. It is the process through which a product is sold to the defined target audience. Sales are the final stage in the marketing process. A product or service may be sold to the end user or in case of a B2B model it may be sold to another business.”
Q: What is online marketing?
Online marketing is a new platform for producers and service providers to sell or market their products and services through the virtual medium of internet. It is also called internet marketing, web marketing and website marketing. This virtual platform enables the seller to directly or indirectly interact with end users. Some of the strategies used are SEO, Email marketing and also online promotions.
Q: How would you rate yourself as a salesperson on a scale from 1 to 10?
“I would rate myself 7 in the scale. I have been working in sales for 4 years. During the initial years, I started as trainee and from there I have moved on to become the Manager. With this career transition, I have developed an understanding about the job. I am able to grasp the pulse of the consumer. All this has helped me in drafting several sales strategies in line with the overall marketing objective.”
If you are a fresher then highlight your academic background and other experiences like summer training to project yourself as a potential salesperson.
Q: Develop a marketing plan?Let us say a product ‘X’ is being produced. It is in the line of FMGC. The planning will be done on the following parameters:
Purpose of manufacturing the product
Pricing of the product
Evaluation of the feedback
Q: Which of our products/services most appeals to you and why?
This is one of the crucial things to do before you appear for the interview. The question is common in the marketing interview. You should visit the profile of the company and collect the necessary information about the products and services. Give a crisp answer highlighting the existing policies of marketing for the particular product you would like to talk about. It would also be ideal to share your inputs on how the marketing mechanism may be strengthened. “The product ‘X’, I believe, has one of the most interesting marketing strategies. The product is being nicely promoted by the use of traditional and digital media. This has also increased the penetration rate of the product…”
Q: Describe a marketing plan you developed. What was the result of implementing that plan?
Share information on how you had developed the plan but do not mention the name of the product/service or other confidential details. You may say, “One of the products in our company was entering into the maturity stage from the growth stage of the product life cycle. As such it was necessary to plan out another marketing strategy that would be effective at this level. The stress was given to factors like market retention and expansion while drafting the plan. The plan was effective in strengthening the position of the product in this concerned market.”
The element of confidentiality is important throughout the answer. In case you are asked about the name of the company then be polite and say that certain restriction are not permitting you to disclose the name of the product. The interviewer(s) would understand the gravity of the situation.
Q: Explain in brief the situations when you would be usingIntegrative growth strategy
Diversification growth strategy
Integrative growth strategy
When internal expansion is not sufficient in increasing the market share of the organization or optimizing the production then integrative growth strategy is applied. Acquisition of other business units is carried out under this strategy. The organization plays the role of the supplier and/or the distributor to streamline the process. It also reduces the turnaround time of procurement of the materials and delivery of the finished goods to customer. There are three types of integrative growth strategy, namely backward vertical integration, forward vertical integration and horizontal Integration.
It is used for the expansion within the organization structure by expanding the operations. The three strategies applied to achieve the expansion and optimize the production scales are market development, market penetration and product development.
Diversification growth strategy
A product launched by an organization goes through different stages of product lifecycle. The cycle starts from growth stage then enters into maturity and finally reaches decline stage. At this stage the sale of the product reaches a saturation level or sometimes decline. In order to diversify the risk of reducing profit or saturation, a business enters into a new market in support of a new product. This is called diversification growth strategy. There are three types of diversifications that may be used, namely horizontal diversification; concentric diversification; and conglomerate diversification.
Q: Which environmental variables impact a marketing plan?
The environmental variables that impact a marketing plan are governmental, economical, technological, legal, cultural, ecological and stakeholders.
Q: Which was the most difficult sale you made?
Have proper reasons on why you address the sale assignment to be difficult. In case you overstate the difficulty level, then it would be counted as a negative point against your experience. “During one of my sales project we had to place a new product in the existing saturated market. The difficulty was not that the market was saturated but what posed threat to the marketing policy was the fact that the rival could lower the prices of their product. As such it would become a threat for the placement of our product, as the distributors would become reluctant in the distribution activities. The fear turned into reality and we were in trouble of establishing our brand. After many negotiation sessions with distributors and retailers, we were able to place our product in the market.”
You may take a different approach by saying, “My difficult sales job was my first sales assignment and after that I have realized every sale is different in its own way. Thus, it will be wrong in comparing the level of difficulty.”
Q: Which was the largest sale that you have lost?
Do not share facts about the loss you had in a particular sales job, which you faced in your previous/current organization. Be diplomatic in answering the questions. “Loss in business is not uncommon. You cannot avoid it, especially in sales. When I joined this career, I had faced some major losses. Somewhere they helped in thinking analytically. I have improved myself and with the positive attitude of turning every loss into profit.”
Q: Do you want to ask anything from us?
The interviewer(s) expects some type of questions from the interviewee. If you are asked such question then take the opportunity to discuss the things that may have been left out. This is the right time to negotiate about the salary, if it has not been discussed. Or you may also discuss things related to the marketing policy of the company that you may like to understand. This may go down well with the interviewer(s). But do not ask for any confidential information that may create a level of discomfort for both the parties. “I was going through the company profile and have seen many great online promotion strategies. Would you mind if I may ask how issues related to online promotion of the product that was launched two quarters back?”
Q: What are your hobbies?
Share your hobbies and do not lie. The interviewer(s) may ask questions related to your hobbies. “I love to sleep and while awake I do not mind playing a few rounds of poker in the weekends.”
Q: How do you pursue your hobbies?
The interviewer(s) would like to see how you spend your personal life, things that you do for fun and recreation. “My hobbies can only be practice in the weekends. Weekends Poker Game with friends is my favorite hobby apart from watching some really good movies.”
Q: What has been your greatest achievement?
While answering the question makes sure you highlight the reason for calling it the greatest achievement. It is advisable to keep the greatest achievement from your professional world rather than personal life. “The greatest achievement was when I sold my first product. It boosted my self-confidence and helped me taking more challenges. That achievement has been the base of my other success in the last 4 years.”
Q: What has been your greatest failure?
Do not say that you have not meet with any failure. Share the failure in a positive way. Mention things that you have learnt. “My failure was underestimating the value of proper negotiating in my first client dealing. I lost the project. It was then I started improving my negotiation skill. In the later days this helped me in achieving many targets.”
Q: How do you take challenges?
Give example while replying to this question. It would be an easier approach. “I take challenges in a positive way. During one of the sales meeting in my previous organization, the target was doubled irrespective of the fact that the market was not ready to invest. I took up the challenge and created a new customer base. Though I fell short of the target but my action was positively acknowledged. Later, that particular customer base helped the organization in increasing the sales in the following quarters.”
Q: How would you tackle a customer complaining about a product you sold?
“The approach should be quick in dealing with such situation. The customer should be given priority and all the issues should be professionally handled. In case, a replacement of product is required then the necessary arrangements should be made in least possible time frame. Once the problem is solved the situation should be discussed with team members and superiors. This would help in analyzing the approach and also making the required changes in order to avoid such problem in future.”
Q: What do you like most about sales?
The interviewer(s) would like to evaluate your sales capability through this question. Try to follow up the reply with examples. “It is not an easy task to sell but once you can persuade a customer to buy something it is a nice feeling. You are not only selling a product or service but also providing a value for money to a customer. Further, you are playing a crucial role in the marketing strategies of the product.”
Q: What are your salary expectations for this job?
The question should be replied with valid justifications. Often the organizations provide a salary range in the job advertisement. It is advisable to quote a sum in that range. In case you are planning to increase the amount give a range that is close to the upper limit of the existing one. Providing a range will not be ideal when you have been asked about your expectation. The interviewer(s) would always be settling for the lower range. You may say, “Given my experience and the standard industry compensation for this level of job, I would expect a salary of…”
Q: What are the projects you have ever undertaken?
Mention the projects that you have undertaken in your previous or current organization. Talk about the projects that are in line with the job you are applying. The pertinent information would not only make your reply short but also meaningful. “I have worked on projects that required planning of online promotional strategies. With experience in SEO and other online promotion tools, I worked towards developing strategies that integrated the online and offline media vehicle. This ensured maximum penetration rate for the product.”
Q: What do you do in leisure time?
Talk about your hobbies and interest that you practice when you are free. “I love to go for angling during weekends but a game of baseball is something that may stop me from angling.”
Q: Are you willing to work in shifts?
The interviewer(s) would be looking for a proper answer rather than a vague reply. Do not say, “I haven’t given it much thought, but feel…” Say something that would help the interviewer(s) evaluate your application. You may say, “I do not have any issues working in shifts. I have had such experience in my earlier jobs and was comfortable with it.”
In case you have any preference, then it is ideal to share the same. Also mention the difficulties that you may have in taking the shift that you are not comfortable with. “I would be comfortable in day or evening shifts. Graveyard shift is not possible due some personal issue like...”
Q: What is the thing you like the most in the world? Why?Talk about things that make you feel comfortable, happy or motivating. It may be not be necessarily from the professional life.
“I like the clear blue water of the sea. It helps me to unwind in the weekends when I hit for the beaches.”
“I love foreign movies. It helps me to understand the human nature and complexities. I believe that this understanding is essentials for job like marketing.”
Q: What is the thing you dislike the most in the world? Why?The reply would be in the same line like that of the previous question. But do not go on criticizing the thing. Also try to highlight the way it may be changed.
“My biggest dislike is when I cannot enjoy the things I like.”
“The cold attitude of any individual is something I dislike but I believe that this can be changed with time.”
Q: What does success mean to you?
Talk about how you perceive success rather than sharing any famous quote. “I was successful when I sold product for the first time. I was also successful when I got a compliment from a customer for good service. To me success is the accomplishment of things you thrive to achieve.”
Q: How do you define failure?You may share your views and also give examples to highlight your reply. “Failure is a process of not doing anything.”
“I believe failure happens when you realize the approach is wrong without identifying the alternative.”
Q: How do you define arrogance? Are you arrogant?
“Arrogance is not accepting that the limitations that one may have in respect of a particular thing.”
Follow up the answer with example to show that you are not arrogant. “I believe that I have positive attitude and not arrogance. In one of the project I was not aware of a particular process, so I let my co-worker handle it. I assisted him and learnt the process to ensure that I can handle it next time.’
Q: What role are you ready to take in a group?
If the role you are applying for is of a Team leader then do not say, “I am happy to let others take responsibility.” This would indicate that you lack leadership capabilities. You may say that, “I am ready to lead a team and also comfortable in being monitored by someone more experience than me. In case anyone from my team comes up with a productive solution, I am also willing to accommodate those ideas. I do not have any reservation that would hamper the flow of the project.” This type of reply would suggest that you have no issues taking opinions and suggestions from your superior or co-workers.
If the role is that of a team member, then share facts like you would be developing yourself for higher responsibilities. “I am comfortable working under an experienced team leader. I believe this would help me in developing my skills to take higher responsibilities.”
Q: Who has been an inspiration for you?
It is advisable to talk about people like your previous employer or your professor who helped in shaping your career. “My previous employer helped in learning some important things about the sales profession. He helped me to understand the intricacies that were valuable for career progression.”
Q: What is more important to you money or success?
Everyone has some preference and it may always be shared. But do have justification for such preference. Do not say anything that may sound contradictory, like “I feel success is more important than money”. The interviewer(s) may then ask things like “that means you are willing to work on a low salary” or “thanks, I guess we won’t have much trouble in discussing the salary part.”
You may say, “I believe that success is as important as money. Without success money will be hard to come. There is a charm is being successful in your work that may not be valued against monetary compensations.”
Q: What kind of person are you?
Talk about the things that best describe you. Mention things that will help you to highlight your personal liking along with professional experience. “I am good in multi-tasking and as such I find it easy to juggle between my personal and professional commitments.”
Q: Rate yourself on a scale of 10.
Take into consideration your experience and academic knowledge in rating yourself. “I would say that my rating is 7 in the scale. My five years of experience in Digital Media and Brand Management have given me the skill to take on higher roles in the dynamic market scenarios.”
If you are a fresher then evaluate yourself on basis of your academic knowledge and any industrial experience that you may have. “Being new to the industry I think that my rating is around 4. I have an in-depth knowledge about the industry through my MBA program and also the industrial training which I had participate. Further, my training took place in Europe and it has provided with a fair understanding of the European market mechanism.”
Q: Why did you choose _________ as your major/subjects?
The interviewer(s) would like to see your interest in this field. The reply would also suggest how effective you are in planning your career. You may say, “I was more interested in marketing during my college days. This made be take MBA with specialization in Marketing. The course helped me in developing critical thinking and analytical approach to marketing issues. Also the subject on marketing strategy and research helped me in drafting strategic marketing plans.”
Q: Are you willing to travel?
In case you have any reservation then you may share it. Get a proper understanding of things like travel duration, frequency of travel and also cost support. “I have no reservations in respect to traveling but would like to know the frequency and duration of travel.”
“I have knowledge that the job requires traveling but would like to know the frequency as I have some reservation.” Talk about your issues and always have a positive approach in finding the best possible solution.
Q: Why are you leaving the organization you work for?
Do not say negative things about your current organization. Also make sure that you do not keep on praising it. Try to strike a balance in your reply. “I am looking for career growth. With the new business line of your company, I feel it would help in fulfilling my growth objective.”
Q: How much time do you need to join the organization?
Consider all the commitments that are required to be fulfilled before you join the organization. Notice period is an important factor is deciding the time frame. Share the issues with the interviewer(s). In case the organization has mentioned any time frame for joining then also take it into consideration while replying. If the time frame needs to be extended then discuss the thing with the interviewer(s). “As I have to submit a notice of one month it would be difficult for me to join within 15 days. I would request for some relaxation in this regards.”Q: Are you aggressive?
Answer the question in parts. First describe of what aggressiveness means in professional environment and then how you fit the definition. “Aggressiveness is about achieving the best result using the optimum level of resources of the organization without jeopardizing the reputation of the firm. I am aggressive in my approach and do make it a point to achieve the pre-determined targets. I also do maintain positive level of aggression without disturbing the work environment.”
Q: What makes you a good manager?
Share your experience in this regard. The reply should be factual and short. “I have worked as manager for 4 years and have handled many important projects. I also underwent a diploma in Business Communication to help me in developing my negotiation and interpersonal skills.”
Q: What motivates you the most?
The reply should be short and crisp. Share things in your professional life that motivates you rather than personal things. You may also talk about things that have relevance both in personal and professional life. “Honesty and proper communication motivates me. These two helps in smooth functioning of things in different sphere of life. When an individual is honest and ready to communicate in a proper way allowing people to share their views and opinions the action process becomes easy.”
Q: What skills and abilities do you have?
Mention your professional abilities and the technical knowledge that you have. “I have done MBA with specialization in Marketing. To improve my communication skills I also did a Diploma in Communication. My work experience as sales person has also helped me to understand the intricacies of the profession.”
Q: We are looking for a truly inspiring Marketing and PR Executive, someone who can create a culture of open communication, trust and respect. What strategies would you implement to achieve this?
“To create an environment of trust and respect it is essential to define the roles of the employees and also address any major overlapping of responsibility. Delegation of work according to the capability would further ensure a favorable work environment. This would streamline the operational activities and reduce the chance of issues among the human resource. The employees’ grievance is another area that should be looked into. The disputes should be settled in minimum possible time to reduce the ideal time and aggravation of any time. Also have a proper feedback channel. Training session may also be effective in addressing the problems related to communication.”
Q: Tell us about your experience with focus groups.
Mention the experience and try to have a positive tone while sharing the negative things, if any. “Focus Groups have been instrumental in helping to understand various aspects related to a new or existing product. The response is critical in formulating policies or re-structuring them to maximize the sales operation. For new product it is equally important as an organization could fathom the public reaction when the product hits the market.”
Q: What steps would you take to nurture commercial awareness and sales focus in this customer service team?
Share the things that you had implemented in your previous job. You may say, “In my previous job, I had meetings and briefing sessions were the marketing issues related to a product or service was shared. The team was given inputs on their roles and pre-defined targets were allotted. It was also ensured that there is a proper coordination among the customer service team and other related departments.”
Q: What criteria are you using to evaluate the organizations for which you hope to work?
Be short and crisp while answering this question. Your interest in your career and willingness to acquire knowledge about the potential organizations will be analyzed. The interviewer(s) would see how you evaluate an organization in respect to your objectives and goals. But make sure you do not take the name of any organizations or event the organization you are applying. “I evaluate the product portfolio, the expansion plans, the market share, growth projection and the financial stability. All these give a good idea to understand whether the organization would be a potential place to work. It also gives an idea on how valuable and crucial player one could be in that organization. ”
Q: What two or three things are important to you in your job?
You may add things that you believe would help in effective execution of a job. “Identifying the requirement of the job; proper action plan and streamlined communication process are some of the essential that would help in optimizing the marketing operation of the organization.”
Q: Why should I hire you?
Mention how you could be an important part of the operations. Share your experiences and knowledge. You may always a touch of humor in your reply. “I am experienced candidate and feel that I have given some great answers to the questions.”
Q: What makes you better than the other people I'm seeing today?
The answer may be same like the previous one. You may highlight your experience and share the ways through which you could help in strengthening the marketing strategies of the organization.
Q: Have you applied to any other areas apart from marketing?
In case you have applied, then mention the reason behind it. “I have also applied to corporate communication. At present scenario, corporate communication is essential to disseminate the information in a proper way to all the relevant channels. Marketing will only be successful if the policies are drafted keeping in mind the intricacies of communication. This would generate proper feedback and would minimize any distortions like filtration and selective listening. Further, I have also done diploma in corporate communication and have two years of working experience in this domain.”
Q: Give me an example of how you convinced someone to do something that they were not too keen on doing.
“I was keen on implementing business simulation programs to train mid-level employees/managers and reducing the case study approach followed during the training. I believed that this would make the session more interesting and provide a real life scenario. As the simulation training is expensive than the latter, the supervisor was not keen in implementing such process. I had to highlight the productivity of the process with the help of the Human Resource Manger and mention its long term benefits.”
Q: What do you realistically believe to be your earning potential?
Highlight your skills and knowledge that you see as your strengths. Explain how these strengthens help you in executing your job. “I believe my negotiation skills are my forte. As sales require a lot of persuasion, this skill helps me in persuading a potential client into becoming a customer/consumer.”
Q: Tell me about how you persuade people to accept your point-of-view.
You may share any example from your work experience or simply highlight the steps you would take in this situation. “First it is essential to understand the requirements of the person, and then highlight the things that would be acceptable to the person. Address the issues the person may have and also share the benefits that he or she may get.”
Q: Are you familiar with our target market?
This questions is asked in order to check the preparation done by you. Research the company,its competitors,its sub domains and businesses along with markets thoroughly.
Q: Describe a marketing strategy that failed
The interviewer wants to know the depth of knowledge and experience you have along with practical knowledge you have. This in turn will show how you have applied the knowledge in getting out of that failed strategy.
Q: What steps you will take for marketing products for social cause or an NGO?
The interviewer wants to know how sensitive are you towards the social issues and how do you handle the same quickly.
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