Marketing decision makers are responsible for the design and execution of marketing programs for products or brands. They operate under different names, such as product manager, brand manager, marketing manager, marketing director, or commercial director. They choose the target markets and segments for their products and services and develop and implement marketing mixes. Because of the proliferation of products and brands, the fragmentation of markets in an ever growing number of different segments, the fierceness of competition, and the overall acceleration of change, marketing decisions are becoming increasingly complex.
The cognitive model of a marketing manager using the optimizing mode is that of a scientist or engineer who has a clear understanding of how marketing processes work. This is represented by a mathematical model, which describes the relationships between the relevant variables in a quantitative way. The decision maker searches for those values of the decision variables that maximize the goal variable(s) for the particular problem. These optimal values for the decision variables are determined in the “model world.” Next, they are translated into the “real world.” In other words, a marketing management problem is converted into a “marketing programming problem” (Wittink, 2008, 85).
Different marketing managers may have different mental models with respect to the same phenomenon. For example, in the case of advertising, different marketing managers may use different models to explain why a particular advertising campaign was successful. A marketer's mental model of a specific phenomenon is shaped by experience in practice, sometimes after a theoretical education. In the optimizing mode, marketers also have a mental model of the situation. Compared to this model, the mental model in the reasoning mode is more qualitative, subjective, and incomplete.
marketing problems that aim at finding optimal values for marketing instruments. The ...