Marketing is an important activity to any business that markets products or services. The owner-manager of a small firm must recognize that, no matter how useful he feels his product or service is, he has absolutely no business without customers.
Marketing is not just selling goods or services to customers. Selling itself is only a single link in a long chain of marketing activities.
Among such activities may be included the development of the product or service, pricing, distribution of the product, that is to say, making the product or service available, advertising, personal selling, promoting and developing and directing the sales and /or service people.
Marketing has been defined in many ways. Kotler has provided a review of a number of definitions. The American Marketing Association defines it as:
“the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user”
This definition is open to criticism on the basis that it makes marketing sound rather like a distribution activity only. It fails to large extent in placing marketing in a perspectivethat affords one to perceive its role in determining what goods are to be produced. It also fails to indicate what specific business activities constitute marketing
Another description of marketing runs thus:
“Marketing is getting the right goods and services to the right people at the right place at the right time at the right price with the right communication and promotion”.
Here we are given an idea of the specific activities that marketers carry out. However, the definition is poor in scope in the sense that it fails to define marketing activity broadly enough because we know that other things beside goods and services can be marketed.
Also, the meaning conveyed by the definition seems to project marketing as a business firm process rather than social process.
It may be firm’s policy never to compete on price. Many management consultants adopt this policy because not price but past reputation or the quality of service given or promised that is of far greater consideration to clients.
Let us take a look at another thought-provoking definition of marketing (by Paul Mazur):
“Marketing is the creation and delivery of a standard of living:
We are tempted to prefer this latter definition because, unlike the previous ones, it takes a macro or social view of marketing. It, however, suffers yet a major drawback because it does not reveal the fundamental and universal nature of marketing.
In the light of short-comings of various definitions, Philip Kotler has proposed a definition that seems basically all embracing.
“Marketing is human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange process”.
The macro and universal nature of the above definition is founded on its emphasis on need and want satisfaction through human activity.
If we accept the assumption that a human need is a state of felt deprivation in a person such human needs must be many and complex. They include basic physiological needs for food, clothing, warmth, and safety; social needs for belongingness, influence, and affection; and individual needs for knowledge and self-expression.
When goods are scare, markets have little difficulty in selling their limited supplies. This condition prompts what can be termed “the sales approach” to marketing. This approach operates on the philosophy that the responsibility of marketing personnel is to sell what is produced. The key people in this approach are the production people on one hand and sales people on the other. Beer and rice producers are in this situation now. This is the sellers’ market. When the sellers’ market no longer exists, the buyers’ market takes over.
Non business organization
In this definition, we can see that human activity which is extremely complex is directed to producing products or services that can be viewed as being capable of satisfying needs or wants.
The fact that people have needs and wants, and that there are products or services available is inadequate. There must be an exchange process. This definition entrenches the exchange process as the act of obtaining a desired object from someone by offering something in return.
When goods are scare, markets have little difficulty in selling their limited supplies. This condition prompts what can be termed “the sales approach” to marketing.
This approach operates on the philosophy that the responsibility of marketing personnel is to sell what is produced. The key people in this approach are the production people on one hand and sales people on the other.
Beer and rice producers are in this situation now. This is the sellers’ market. When the sellers’ market no longer exists, the buyers’ market takes over.
Products become available and the problem is no longer that of production or sales. The problem shifts to marketing. New approaches become necessary and marketing people look at the products from the point of view of consumers. This process brings in its trail the development of the marketing concepts as an explicit management philosophy in the delivery of goods and services.
The marketing concept as a philosophy adopts the view that the primary purpose of any organization is to serve consumers at a profit. Nonbusiness organizations may not seek profits but they have goals by which they measure their success just as other organizations use profits to measure their own success.
Peterson also points out that although nonbusiness organizations may not seek profits they must however reach a balance where their costs are not excessive in relation to their inflows of funds. Hence the term “acceptable ratio of costs to revenue” should be substituted for the term “profit”.
The central theme, however, remains the same. The focus is unmistakably upon satisfaction of the consumer, rather than the satisfaction of the organization or any department of it.
In order to achieve the overall goal of satisfying the customers, it is necessary to involve everybody in the entire organization. This is the main different between the sales approach and the marketing approach.
Organization that employ the marketing concept attempt to determine the needs of consumers they plan to sell to. Some organizations use marketing research to achieve this; others use judgment, intuition, and marketing theory to give themselves a sense of direction.
After the needs have been established, products or services are designed to fulfill the needs of the target consumers. Marketers then proceed to formulate the various marketing strategies such as pricing, advertising and distribution patterns intended to appeal to the target consumers.
In order to achieve the overall goal of satisfying the customers, it is necessary to involve everybody in the entire organization. This is the main different between the sales approach and the marketing approach. (see figure.)
The marketing concept, therefore, involves all employees of the organization in marketing. Of particular significance is the unreserved involvement, acceptance and support of the philosophy by the organization’s top management.
Without the top level support, lower level personnel are unlikely to embrace the concept let alone making it work.
An important consequence of the use of the marketing concept is coordination in organizational efforts. Where it is operational, every employee is working towards a common goal. This is in contrast to a situation where individuals and departments each have their individual goals which are likely to produce hostilities, friction, and generally ineffective organizational performance. The marketing concept, then, provides a means of co-ordinating the efforts of everyone in the organization.
The marketing concept as a philosophy adopts the view that the primary purpose of any organization is to serve consumers at a profit. Non business organizations may not seek profits but they have goals by which they measure their success just as other organizations use profits to measure their own success.
We next ask ourselves how the organization set about achieving its market-oriented strategies. This is when marketing functions otherwise called the marketing mix come in. these include the activities.
- The product which has to be right in terms of meeting consumer requirements in every aspect as much as is commercially possible;
- The price which must be accepted by consumers as being a fair representative of value for the product they purchase;
- Promotion which includes all elements connected with planned marketing communications, advertising and the management of personal selling; and
- Distribution which includes all strategies, channel systems and selection, retailing and wholesale intermediaries where necessary and the management of physical distribution.
Policies for marketing in any organization are inextricably tied to decisions on the above elements in the marketing mix. Thus a firm may decide as a matter of policy to stay up-market or broaden its product offering.
It may also be a firm’s policy never to compete on price. Many management consultants adopt this policy because not price but past reputation or the quality of service given or promised that is of far greater consideration to clients.