It doesn’t matter what profession or industry you belong to—at the end of the day, your success depends on the customer. That’s why it’s essential to understand why people make the decisions they do and how you can use this knowledge to your company’s advantage. “Marketing is important because it’s how a business communicates the value of its products or services to potential customers,” explains Mark White, the Director of the McIntire Business Institute as well as a professor at the school.

For example, say you’re a salesperson. Having a bit of marketing knowledge will help you figure out which types of customers will be most interested in your product. Even better, you can develop a different strategy for each type, tailoring your message and price to their individual needs.

Even if your role isn’t so closely tied to marketing, it’s important to know how the process works. “Keeping your job requires you execute your specific assignment well, of course,” says MBI professor Jeremy Marcel, “but advancement and promotion usually requires a deeper appreciation of why we’ve organized work the way we have, and how we can improve the organization to help it compete more effectively in the future.”