We all see around us various goods and services marketed, take a pause from your busy life and look around; you will see hoardings, advertisements on stores and everywhere. Marketers market 10 main types of entities: goods, services, events, experiences, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas.
Let’s take a quick look at these categories:
Goods are tangible items and constitute the bulk of most countries’ production and marketing efforts. Each year, U.S. companies market billions of fresh, canned, bagged, and frozen food products and millions of cars, refrigerators, televisions, machines, and other mainstays of a modern economy.
These are intangible items consisting of acts or deeds directed toward people or their possession. As economies advance, a growing proportion of their activities focuses on the production of services. The U.S. economy today produces a 70–30 services-to-goods mix. Services include the work of airlines, hotels, car rental firms, barbers and beauticians, maintenance and repair people, and accountants, bankers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, software programmers, and management consultants. Many market offerings mix goods and services, such as a fast-food meal.
Marketers promote time-based events, such as major trade shows, artistic performances, and company anniversaries. Global sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup are promoted aggressively to both companies and fans.
By orchestrating several services and goods, a firm can create, stage, and market experiences. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom allows customers to visit a fairy kingdom, a pirate ship, or a haunted house. There is also a market for customized experiences, such as a week at a baseball camp with retired baseball greats, a four-day rock and roll fantasy camp, or a climb up Mount Everest.
Artists, musicians, CEOs, physicians, high-profile lawyers and financiers, and other professionals all get help from celebrity marketers.10 Some people have done a masterful job of marketing themselves—David Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, and the Rolling Stones. Management consultant Tom Peters, a master at self-branding, has advised each person to become a “brand.”
Cities, states, regions, and whole nations compete to attract tourists, residents, factories, and company headquarters.11 Place marketers include economic development specialists, real estate agents, commercial banks, local business associations, and advertising and public relations agencies. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority succeeded with its provocative ad campaign, “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” portraying Las Vegas as “an adult playground.” In the recession of 2008, however, convention attendance declined. Concerned about its potentially out-of-step racy reputation, the Authority took out a full-page BusinessWeek ad to defend its ability to host serious business meetings. Unfortunately, the 2009 summer box office blockbuster The Hangover, set in a debauched Las Vegas, likely did not help the city position itself as a choice business and tourist destination.
These are intangible rights of ownership to either real property (real estate) or financial property (stocks and bonds). They are bought and sold, and these exchanges require marketing. Real estate agents work for property owners or sellers, or they buy and sell residential or commercial real estate. Investment companies and banks market securities to both institutional and individual investors.
Organizations work to build a strong, favorable, and unique image in the minds of their target publics. In the United Kingdom, Tesco’s “Every Little Helps” marketing program reflects the food marketer’s attention to detail in everything it does, within the store and in the community and environment. The campaign has vaulted Tesco to the top of the UK supermarket chain industry. Universities, museums, performing arts organizations, corporations, and nonprofits all use marketing to boost their public images and compete for audiences and funds.
The production, packaging, and distribution of information are major industries. Information is essentially what books, schools, and universities produce, market, and distribute at a price to parents, students, and communities. The former CEO of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Tom McCausland, says, “[our product] is not necessarily an X-ray or an MRI, but information. Our business is really health care information technology, and our end product is really an electronic patient record: information on lab tests, pathology, and drugs as well as voice dictation.”
Ideas include platform or issues aimed at promoting a benefit for a customer. Every market offering includes a basic idea. Charles Revson of Revlon once observed: “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope.” Products and services are platforms for delivering some idea or benefit. Social marketers are busy promoting such ideas as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”