Unilever is a multinational corporation which operates globally in more than a hundred countries. With popular brands such as Lux, Walls, Lipton, Sunsilk operating under it, Unilever hires around 180,000 employees. The post of a Channel Marketing Manager was vacant at the Unilever of Illinois, United States. This manager is expected to take care of diverse tasks, mostly based on the International Trade Relations. Trade relations are crucial for Unilever as it is a global corporation and cordial rapport between all countries is the foundation for a healthy management and success.
The Channel Marketing Manager is also responsible coordination among and for part of the activities taking place in the Sales, Marketing and New Product Development departments. Like all other managers, he/she will also be held responsible for recognizing available opportunities that will enhance the growth process of Unilever; proper plans needs to be devised and also implemented. Along with that, the Channel Marketing and ITR budget preparation is also a crucial task. The process on internal hiring will be used for this post – the method of promoting employees from within is going to be used. Applicants will fill out forms available online or in the HR department and will be short listed on the basis of their educational background and their past record at Unilever. After that, a narrowed down list of applicants will be interviewed and then finally selected on the unbiased basis of their current manager’s feedback and opinions.
Introduction to the Company
With its history dating back to almost three centuries, Unilever is one of the oldest multinational corporations operating today. Unilever is a public organization with around a180,000 employees all around the globe and has a great share in the market of the world’s consumer products such as food, cleaning agents, beverages and even personal care products. Unilever is so widespread that it operates in almost every continent, including countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Netherlands, China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Ghana, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, France, Denmark, Finland and countless more. Some of Unilever brands are Walls, Lipton, Ben and Jerry’s, Pepsodent, Sunsilk, Brooke Bond, Suave, Lux, Surf, Vaseline etc.
The position vacant at Unilever Illinois, United States is for the ‘Channel Marketing Manager’ which is, indeed, a very challenging job. A channel marketing manager has several responsibilities that no other personnel are accountable for; the channel manager alone has to deal with various matters. The Channel Marketing Manager is chiefly responsible for International Trade Relations (ITR) in various fields. The person selected for this post is expected to offer support to the International Trade Relations channels that include Distributor Corporation Strategic Partners and Re-Distributors, Unilever’s Cash & Carry facility, Club stores, global Group Partners and even military restraints.
The Channel Marketing Manager is also responsible for planning and directing the development and progress of ITR Channel Strategies based in North America. This managers work might be done solely, but he/she most definitely support other departments and work for them. The departments that the channel marketing manager interacts directly with are the brand/category teams and sales management. However, there is a clear boundary line drawn between what a sales manager is supposed to do and what a channel marketing manager is required to do. This manager is anticipated to become the expert or the best person available in the ITR field within the whole of the Unilever network.
From a more detailed perspective, the channel marketing manager is required to recognize innovative lucrative growth forums within the ITR channels. Not only does he need to spot such opportunities, he also needs to devise proper plans and furthermore develop and administer the plans by making sure effective and efficient implementation is taking place. His work expands to the provision of marketing support and even synchronization along with headquarters cross-functional help. In order to perform his tasks proficiently, a manager needs to be aware of all the latest market trends and progressions, thus, he is required to keep a track of channel drift and also develop some on his own.
Channel management is a very crucial part of the organization; development of a proper channel portfolio and assessment of growth and profit chances for certain fields is required. Feedback is very vital for every developing organization – changes need to be brought about depending upon the customer requirements. The market consumption trend needs to be analysed by the channel marketing manager with the help of the Insight Manager in order to rectify errors and come up with novel and improved selling applications. Although, the sales department is a separate story, the channel marketing manager is one who needs to assess bits of every department that links up to International Trade Relations. Therefore, a channel marketing manager is required to take part in core sales presentations.
Also, he is supposed to identify the competitive edge of Unilever over other organizations and counter the competitively advantageous strategies of Unilever’s competitors. Another department that the manager needs to help out is the Product Marketing Team – a need to coordinate the major customer happenings, facilitate with long term strategic goal setting by the channel marketing manager to the team.
The Channel marketing manager also needs to work in coordination with the New Product Development project leaders, with whom he is likely to discuss the prospects of the success or failure of the new product. Lastly, but most importantly, he needs to prepare a Channel Marketing and ITR Marketing budget – this will help Unilever in assessing their costs, checking whether actual cost is close to the budgeted ones and to come up with cost efficiency policies.
The criterion has been narrowed down to personnel with a four year degree in Business or related field. If the person is an MBA graduate, he has an edge over the other applicants. The applicant needs to be highly skilled in marketing and business administration. He should have a good knowledge of the latest market trends and should know how to steer the company towards success based on those trends. A strong background in people management and refined interpersonal skills are required so that coordination with other department personnel is not a tough job (Billsberry, 2007). Unilever expects all its employees to have analytical intellect, professionalism, creativity, commitment, collaborative spirit and a healthy structured work ethic.
The human resource of an organization defines the success of the organization, as the force running the operations and activities is the human labour force (Denton, 1992). If a wrong decision is made by a certain personnel, the entire organization has to bear the loss it brings out. Thus, the most critical decision for the organization to ensure profitability and triumph is recruitment. Companies formulate proper recruitment plans to make sure that the person they hire is the best available (Maxwell, 2005).
There are various recruitment strategies such as internal hiring, using corporate culture as a hiring technique, online/newspaper advertisement and application filling out process, hiring professional recruiters (Evers, Anderson, Voskuijl; 2005). However, the most suitable strategy for Unilever is ‘Internal Hiring’. This is the process of not recruiting new employees from outside the organization and concentrating on promoting employees within the organization.
The vacant post is not advertised through media; that is, traditional recruitment methods are not used. Instead of going through extensive external recruitment procedures, the human resource manager just needs to look around within the organization and will realize that the person they are looking for is right in front of them. Internal hiring is a process which is extremely practical, rational and most importantly, proven.
The methodology is quite similar to that of external recruitment, except with the advantage of avoidance of the hassle of going through hundreds of resumes and applications. They can target their candidate pool directly but putting up advertisements of the post on either the company’s intranet or bulletin boards; or simply, the word of mouth. Interested applicants either collect the form from the HR department, or simply inform their current managers or heads who pass on the word to the HR manager. There are no restrictions apart from the educational background required, therefore, providing everybody with an equal chance to try their luck – a time period of one week is allowed for applying to this post.
Internal hiring comes with some awesome advantages both for the company and its employees. The very basic attitude that it brings about with in the employees is motivation. When employees are proven that their hard work is not only being observed, but is also going to be rewarded, they become stimulated and inspired to their job. In fact, not just do their job, but perform it with utmost efficiency (Wood, Payne; 1998). This is because in the fast paced world of today where performing the tasks assigned is not important, instead performing it with innovation and effectiveness is what that counts, competition is extremely high and if a person slacks off, he can lose his job.
Unilever is a learning organization – a place where mistakes are not penalized and ways of learning new skills and refining the old ones are promoted. Employees will, therefore, not hesitate in taking initiatives and experimenting new methods to check for affectivity. Likewise, they take up new posts which are more challenging for them than the previous one to experiment with their potential. This also improves long term employee retention – people tend to work for the organizations for a longer time in hopes for more opportunities being opened for them (Fisher, Dunn; 2005).
Hiring people from within will increase the commitment and passion people have towards to organization to increase. Employees feel a deep sense of loyalty and their morale gets a boost, which enhances their productivity and performance. Internal hiring is also the best available option for the Channel Marketing Manager because this job involves a lot of knowledge of other departments such as sales, marketing, new product development. A person already working for Unilever will have not only adjusted to their structures, rules, policies, people, corporate culture and priorities beforehand, but will also take a much shorter time in adjusting to the new post as he will not take as long as a totally new recruit in finding out about other departments. Therefore, a need for an orientation and the time and money resources spent on that will be saved by the organization and substantial work can be started immediately.
The recruitment process ends where the applicants submit their applications either online or on paper to the HR department. This is where normally the recruiter’s job is the most critical – analysing each and every application form to short list the best available (Hyett, Palma; 1993).
However, in case of Unilever’s internal recruitment, this is not required. Official recruiters shall not be hired for this purpose because the best judge is the HR manager who has been working in the firm since some time; because, he knows each and every applicant personally and can judge who will be the most suitable for the post of the Channel Marketing Manager. A Pre-screening procedure takes place in which the applicants who’s backgrounds, experiences and current post is the most suitable for the channel marketing manager’s post will be interviewed by the selection committee.
The interview will involve questions such as why they enjoy working at Unilever, what they have learned about Unilever and general work ethics while working at the current post, what improvements can they bring up based on the problems they have observed, what their knowledge of being a Channel Marketing Manager and some other basic questions like why they want to apply for the Channel Marketing Manager post. After the interview takes place, a further short list will be formed.
The manager under whom the applicant was working will be called in for a meeting to take feedback on the applicant. This is the end of the process and a final decision based on the merit basis is then made. Unilever is above all discrimination and biases – not only will the selection process be free of racial, sex, ethnic prejudice but also free of all previous personal biases and grudges.
Unilever’s mission is to add Vitality to Life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
Unilever is among the Top 70 of the Fortune Global 500 Companies. We are also one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods in foods, household and personal care products. Our purpose is to meet the everyday needs of people everywhere – to anticipate the aspirations of our consumers and customers and to respond creatively and competitively with branded products and services, which raise the quality of life.
Summary of Responsibilities:
- The Channel Marketing manager will provide support to the ITR Channels including: Club Stores, Cash & Carry, Distributor Corp. Strategic Partners & Re-Distributors, Buy Group Partners, Military.
- Lead the development of a ITR Channel Strategies in North America
- Interfaces directly with brand/category teams as well as sales management
- Evolve to the ITR Channel “expert” within UFSNA
- Identify new profitable growth platforms within ITR Channels
- Develop and manage implementation plans
- Provide marketing support, coordination, and HQ cross-functional support
- Develop and track channel trends and insights
- Assess growth and profit opportunity for select categories (channel portfolio development)
- Assess latest customer/consumer purchasing trend information with Insight Manager and identify new selling applications
- Participate in key sales presentations
- Identify and counter competitive strategies
- Develop and coordinate key customer activity and partnership opportunities with Product Marketing Team
- Provide ongoing, strategic point of view with category teams
- Manage and coordinate new product development opportunities with NPD project leaders in Category Marketing
- Manage Channel Marketing ITR Marketing Budget.