What is Marketing?

What is marketing?

What does a bridge over a sea do? It links one side to the other side. Similarly, marketing is a bridge which links the consumer side to the producer/supplier side.

Marketing can be defined as a process of determining the needs and wants of consumers and being able to deliver the products that satisfy those needs and wants.

According to Peter Drucker:

The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy.

According to American Marketing Association

Marketing management is a process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organization goals.

Which definition is right? In short they all are. As they all have the essence of marketing:

-      Meeting the needs and wants

-      Understanding customers

I have stuck to below definition of marketing

Marketing is a management process of identifying customers, their needs and wants and finding means to satisfy them profitability

Let us break this definition to understand it in a much better way

Management Process – as we have seen earlier management is a continuous activity, it is usually planned by the managers at different levels

Identifying customers – one has to apply various research methodology techniques to identify the potential customers for their products and services

Needs and wants – in case a new organization it has to research to understand the needs and wants of the people to develop a product to satisfy it

Finding means to satisfy needs and wants – once the needs and wants of the potential customers is identified, these need to be fulfilled by the goods and services that are better than the competitors and do not affect your bottom line

Profitability – the above point says it all

A main objective of marketing is to create customer value.

  • Marketing usually involves an exchange between buyers and sellers or between other parties.
  • Marketing has an impact on the firm, its suppliers, its customers, and others affected by the firm’s choices.
  • Marketing frequently involves enduring relationships between buyers, sellers, and other parties.
  • Processes involved include “creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings.”

According to Philip Kotler:

Marketing’s key processes are:

  1. Opportunity identification,
  2. New product development,
  3. Customer attraction,
  4. Customer retention and loyalty building, and
  5. Order fulfillment.

A company that handles all of these processes well will normally enjoy success.  But when a company fails at any one of these processes, it will not survive.

To help put things into context, you may find it helpful to often refer to the following diagram which summarizes the key elements of marketing and their relationships:

Marketing is dealing with customers, creating customer value and satisfaction. Sound marketing is key to success for companies. In today’s competitive markets both the profitable large scale organizations like McDonalds, Pepsi, Sony or nonprofit organizations like hospitals, universities are involve in marketing. Marketing is an important function of any business.

Marketing is all around us. We get familiar with large number of products through advertisement by passing through malls, watching television, reading magazines and most importantly checking your mail. Everywhere you are at school, working in your office, attending a seminar or in a stadium for football and cricket match your brain will be full of information regarding difference products or services.

Definition of Managerial Marketing

From managerial stand point i.e. marketing is defined to be, “the art of selling”.  However, Peter Drucker said that Marketing is not only selling but is art of knowing that:

  • Which is the target market?
  • Who are the potential buyers?
  • What do they want?
  • How to make them aware that what you sell fits their demands?

So he says that marketing is a process which must result in readily willing buyers of the product for which marketing is done.  Besides, the product should also be according to their wants. To boil down, marketing is the process of creation and exchange of value.

Creation of Value

Marketers use numerous tools to create value and desired results from their target market these tools constitute marketing.

Marketing Mix

Marketing mix is the set of marketing tools that firms use to pursue their marketing objectives in the target market (the objective being the creation of value for exchange).

These tools are classified into four broad groups called the four 4 Ps

  1. Product

These are product variety, quality Design features, Brand, names, packaging etc.

  1. Price

List prices, discounts, allowances, credit term, payment, periods etc are included.

  1. Placement

These include channels, coverage, assortments, locations, inventory, transport etc.

  1. Promotions

Sales promotions, advertising, sales force, public relations, direct marketing etc. are included.

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  5. Thank you for going back to basics, in order to go forward with clear vision.
    I would underscore the ‘customer retention’ item listed above. Our marketing programs should include our universe of Prospects, the Current Customers (both the Decision Makers, and the End Users) of the product/service.

    While the original decision to buy from our companies may have made by a given Decision Maker (or committee), future purchases, and/or renewals and expansion of business will depend heavily on feedback from the actual End Users to the original DM (who may not be a user.)

    Especially with the advent of social media, the the Empowered End User has a greatly expanded sphere of influence effecting our companies’ reputations, both inside, and outside of their company.

    We need to plan, apply, measure and refine marketing programs to listen to, and engage with – our existing customers. We need to act on the intelligence we collect to respond to those customers, to make key improvements in our product features, processes and convenience.
    To be sure, we need to provide excellent customer service and support, to continually communicate about new features and best practices. And, we need to provide the content (and use our social media tools to promote it) that will help our end users succeed in their endeavors that involve use of our products or services. This will build loyalty that will result in retention, in promoting reputation, and potentially increase our net achieved revenue due to reduced need for price negotiation because our brand will rise to the top.

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