Marketing defined is as the method by which companies generate value for consumers and build on that value by building strong relationships with the customers. Marketing involves more than just selling and advertising, but it also entails understanding consumer needs and developing products and services to satisfy those needs while earning the trust of the consumer with honestly reporting the quality of a product. It consists of those efforts which effect transfers in the ownership of goods and care for their physical distribution. Marketing grew out of the division of labor manifested through large scale production and the localization of industry. The marketing process involves the following steps: understanding consumers; creating customer values; building strong consumer relationships; creating marketing strategy; and capturing the value from consumers (White, 2012). Through this paper the process of marketing will be broken down and delved into.
The first step in the marketing process understands the market place and consumer needs (White, 2012). During this step the marketer needs to understand the consumers’ needs, wants, and demands and then offer products, services, and experiences to satisfy those needs, wants and demands (White, 2012). A customers wants are shaped by intellectual and individual personality. When supported by buying, wants become demands. To fulfill customers’ wants and needs, marketers offer a grouping of products, information, services, or experiences (White, 2012). A market is shaped at each point where a specific article of trade is determined and occurs each time people make a decision to satisfy needs and wants through trade. Once a marketer gets a grip on customers’ needs and wants they must design a marketing strategy.
This is done by deciding on target markets and building gainful relationships with consumers (White, 2012).To devise a winning tactic, managers have to know what consumers they will serve and how they can best serve them. To decide what consumers to target, marketers divide consumers into sections and select which ones they will go after (White, 2012). After deciding which sections they will go after marketers must establish a set of benefits or values it promises to deliver to consumers to satisfy their needs. To carry out their marketing strategy companies develop marketing concepts (Center For Business Administration, 2007). Marketing Concepts are philosophies that firms use to analyze the needs of their customers and then make decisions to satisfy those needs (Center For Business Administration, 2007) Production – This concept which flourished during the 1920s states that consumer will favor products that are available and highly affordable. The focus of management should be on improving production and distribution efficiency (White, 2012).
The key questions a firm would ask before making a product were: can we produce it? Can we produce enough of it (Center For Business Administration, 2007)? Product – This concept holds that consumers will favor products that offer the most in quality, performance and innovative features. The marketing strategy focuses on making continuous product improvements (Blackwell, 2009). Selling – This concept flourished during the 1930s. Consumers do not purchase enough of a firm’s products unless it undertakes a large scale selling and promotions effort under this concept. . The key questions ask by sales professionals were; can we sell the product? Can sell enough of the product? Marketing – This concept states achieving organizational goals depends on knowing the need and wants of target markets and delivering the desired satisfactions better than competitors do (Blackwell, 2009).
Customer focus and value are the paths to sales and profits under this concept (White, 2012). Societal Marketing Concept – This concept questions whether the pure marketing concept overlooks possible conflicts between consumer short-run wants and consumer long-run welfare (White, 2012). Once a strategy has been decided upon, the marketing department must organize an integrated marketing plan and program deliver the intended value to customers. To do this a set of marketing tools must be devised to execute the strategy. These tools are divided into a group called the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion (White, 2012). Once the first three steps in the marketing process have been put into action, customer relationships begin to develop. This process is by far one of the most important steps in the marketing process. This concept involves organizing detailed information about individual consumers and carefully managing this information in order to maximize customer loyalty (White, 2012).
The final step in the marketing process entails capturing value from consumers. To do this marketers look en route for current and future sales, market shares, and profits (White, 2012). When a company generates greater customer value it creates highly satisfied customers who stay loyal and return to your business. One good example is Wal-Mart which stands by its motto of Low prices always. By standing by this philosophy they have been able to continually make annual profits. Once these steps are taken, a company must plan their business portfolio. The business portfolio is simply the collection of products and businesses that make up the company (White, 2012). After setting up their portfolio companies must then examine them by evaluating the products and businesses, then the products and businesses a company should place strong resources into their more profitable businesses and phase down or drop the weaker ones (White, 2012). After analyzing and implementing the business portfolio companies must then develop strategies for growth and downsizing (White, 2012). The primary responsibility of marketing is achieving profitable growth for a company.
To do this marketing departments must identify, evaluate, and select market opportunities and lay down strategies for capturing them (White, 2012). The product/market expansion grid is a good tool to use in identifying growth opportunities (White, 2012). The success of marketing primarily relies on their relationship with other departments in the company, suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers, competitors, and various publics. These relationships combine to make up a company’s value delivery network (White, 2012). Earlier I discussed the boom in internet marketing. This boom has created a new set of social and ethical issues. Because there has been an explosion personal digital data available issues such as online privacy has caused great concern (White, 2012). In a market environment a business may be expected to act in way that it perceives to be its own best interest (Encyclopedia Of Business And Finance, 2009).
As the economic system becomes more successful at providing wants and needs there will be a greater emphasis on companies adhering to ethical values rather than just simply providing products (Encyclopedia Of Business And Finance, 2009). Ethics are a collection of principles of right conduct that shape the decisions people or organizations make (Encyclopedia Of Business And Finance, 2009). Good ethical practices in marketing simply means deliberately applying standards of fairness, or moral rights and wrongs to marketing decision making, behavior, and practice in an organization (Encyclopedia Of Business And Finance, 2009). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government agencies are charged with enforcing the laws and creating policies to limit unfair marketing practices (Encyclopedia Of Business And Finance, 2009). To exercise their social responsibility and build positive images many companies are linking themselves to worthwhile causes (White, 2012).
Many companies offer discounts if you purchase their products identified to help a worthy cause (White, 2012). For example If you order the City Harvest menu at Le Bernardin in New York City, they will donate $5 to City Harvest, which feeds the hungry (White, 2012). Cause related marketing has become a primary function of corporate giving ((White, 2012). The effect marketing has had on the cultural environment has been great. This environment is made up of institutions and other forces that a affect a society’s basic values, perceptions, preferences and behaviors (White, 2012). For marketers to be successful they must cultural habits affect the market they are targeting. They want to predict cultural shifts in order to spot new opportunities or threats (White, 2012). In order to product superior customer value and satisfaction companies must have information at almost every turn (White, 2012). They do this by developing a marketing information system which consists of people, equipment, and procedure to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers (White, 2012).
The information system serves the company’s marketing and other managers primarily (White, 2012). A good marketing information system balances the information users would like to have against what they really need and what is feasible (White, 2012). The role of marketers has always been to interact frequently with the public. During this interaction marketers create a relationship with the public in which marketers are responsible for bringing in revenue to organization in the communities they service (Know This Marketing, 2009). Put in broader terms marketing offers many benefits to society. The benefits include developing products that satisfy need to include enhancing the quality of life of society; creating a competitive environment that helps in lower the price of goods; developing product distribution systems that offer access to products to a large number of customers and geographic regions; building a demand for items which require organizations to expand their labor force; and offering techniques that have the ability to convey messages that can change societal behavior in a positive. One such message is anti-smoking advertising (Know This Marketing, 2009).
In summary marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create, and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer (Know This Marketing, 2009). The marketing process is broken down into five concepts; understanding the marketplace, designing customer driven strategy, constructing and integrated marketing program, building profitable customer relationship, and capturing customer value. Marketing has evolved throughout the years from old style marketing t digital age marketing that includes the phenomena known as the internet (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008). In order to be successful companies must enlist the practices described in the marketing process and maintain strong ethical, social, and cultural practices (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008).
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