Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. It is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers. Because marketing is used to attract customers, it is one of the primary components of business management and commerce. Marketers can direct product to other businesses (B2B marketing) or directly to consumers (B2C marketing).
Regardless of who is being marketed to, several factors, including the perspective the marketers will use. These market orientations determine how marketers will approach the planning stage of marketing. This leads into the marketing mix, which outlines the specifics of the product and how it will be sold. This can in turn, be affected by the environment surrounding the product , the results of marketing research and market research, and the characteristics of the product's target market.
Once these factors are determined, marketers must then decide what methods will be used to market the product. This decision is based on the factors analyzed in the planning stage as well as where the product is in the product life cycle.
Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large". The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to market with goods for sale. From a sales process engineering perspective, marketing is "a set of processes that are interconnected and interdependent with other functions of a business aimed at achieving customer interest and satisfaction".
Philip Kotler defined marketing as "Satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process". and a decade later defines it as “a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they want and need through creating, offering and exchanging products of value with others.”
The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably". A similar concept is the value-based marketing which states the role of marketing to contribute to increasing shareholder value. In this context, marketing can be defined as "the management process that seeks to maximise returns to shareholders by developing relationships with valued customers and creating a competitive advantage".
In the past, marketing practice tended to be seen as a creative industry, which included advertising, distribution and selling. However, because the academic study of marketing makes extensive use of social sciences, psychology, sociology, mathematics, economics, anthropology and neuroscience, the profession is now widely recognized as a science, allowing numerous universities to offer Master-of-Science (MSc) programs.
The process of marketing is that of bringing a product to market, which includes these steps: broad market research; market targeting and market segmentation; determining distribution, pricing and promotion strategies; developing a communications strategy; budgeting; and visioning long-term market development goals. Many parts of the marketing process (e.g. product design, art director, brand management, advertising, inbound marketing, copywriting etc.) involve use of the creative arts.
The 'marketing concept' proposes that to complete its organizational objectives, an organization should anticipate the needs and wants of potential consumers and satisfy them more effectively than its competitors. This concept originated from Adam Smith's book The Wealth of Nations but would not become widely used until nearly 200 years later. Marketing and Marketing Concepts are directly related.
- Needs: Something necessary for people to live a healthy, stable and safe life. When needs remain unfulfilled, there is a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food, water, and shelter; or subjective and psychological, such as the need to belong to a family or social group and the need for self-esteem.
- Wants: Something that is desired, wished for or aspired to. Wants are not essential for basic survival and are often shaped by culture or peer-groups.
- Demands: When needs and wants are backed by the ability to pay, they have the potential to become economic demands.
Marketing research, conducted for the purpose of new product development or product improvement, is often concerned with identifying the consumer's unmet needs. Customer needs are central to market segmentation which is concerned with dividing markets into distinct groups of buyers on the basis of "distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors who might require separate products or marketing mixes." Needs-based segmentation (also known as benefit segmentation) "places the customers' desires at the forefront of how a company designs and markets products or services." Although needs-based segmentation is difficult to do in practice, it has been proved to be one of the most effective ways to segment a market. In addition, a great deal of advertising and promotion is designed to show how a given product's benefits meet the customer's needs, wants or expectations in a unique way.
B2B and B2C Marketing
B2B marketing involves a business marketing its products to groups or individuals who will use the products for uses other than consumption.
Examples of products sold through B2B marketing include:
- Major equipment
- Accessory equipment
- Raw materials
- Component parts
- Processed Materials
- Business Services
The four major categories of B2B product purchasers are:
- Producers- use products sold by B2B marketing to make their own goods (eg: Mattel buying plastics to make toys)
- Resellers- buy B2B products to sell through retail or wholesale establishments (eg: Walmart buying vacuums to sell in stores)
- Governments- buy B2B products for use in government projects (eg: purchasing contractor services to repair infrastructure)
- Institutions- use B2B products to continue operation (eg: schools buying printers for office use)
B2C marketing involves a business marketing its products to those who will use the products for personal consumption. The marketing material the general public sees is B2C marketing material because the marketer is trying to convince customers to buy a product for their personal use.
Differences in B2B and B2C Marketing
The different goals of B2B and B2C marketing leads to differences in the B2B and B2C markets. The main differences in these markets are demand, purchasing volume, amount of customers, customer concentration, distribution, buying nature, buying influences, negotiations, reciprocity, leasing and promotional methods.
Demand: B2B demand is derived because businesses buy products based on how much demand there is for the final consumer product. Businesses buy products based on customers wants and needs. B2C demand is primary because customers buy products based on their own wants and needs.
Buying Influences: B2B purchasing is influenced by multiple people in various departments such as quality control, accounting, and logistics while B2C marketing is only influenced by the person making the purchase and possibly a few others.
Reciprocity: Businesses tend to buy from businesses they sell to. For example, a business that sells printer ink is more likely to buy office chairs from a supplier that buys the business's printer ink. In B2C marketing, this does not occur because consumers are not also selling products.
A marketing orientation has been defined as a "philosophy of business management." or "a corporate state of mind" or as an "organisation[al] culture" Although scholars continue to debate the precise nature of specific orientations that inform marketing practice, the most commonly cited orientations are as follows:
A firm employing a product orientation is mainly concerned with the quality of its product. A product orientation is based on the assumption that all things being equal, consumers will purchase products of superior quality. The approach is most effective when the firm has deep insights into customer needs and desires as derived from research and/or intuition and understands consumer's quality expectations and price consumers are willing to pay. Although the product orientation has largely been supplanted by the marketing orientation, firms practicing a product orientation can still be found in haute couture and arts marketing.
A sales orientation focuses on the selling/promotion of the firm's existing products, rather than developing new products to satisfy unmet needs or wants. This orientation seeks to attain the highest possible sales through promotion and direct sales techniques. The sales orientation "is typically practiced with unsought goods." One study found that industrial companies are more likely to hold a sales orientation than consumer goods companies. The approach may also suit scenarios in which a firm holds dead stock, or otherwise sells a product that is in high demand, with little likelihood of changes in consumer tastes diminishing demand.
A 2011 meta analyses found that the factors with the greatest impact on sales performance are a salesperson's sales related knowledge (knowledge of market segments, sales presentation skills, conflict resolution, and products), degree of adaptiveness (changing behavior based on the aforementioned knowledge), role clarity (salesperson's role is to expressly to sell), cognitive aptitude (intelligence) and work engagement (motivation and interest in a sales role).
A firm focusing on a production orientation specializes in producing as much as possible of a given product or service in order to achieve economies of scale or economies of scope. A production orientation may be deployed when a high demand for a product or service exists, coupled with certainty that consumer tastes and preferences remain relatively constant (similar to the sales orientation). The so-called production era is thought to have dominated marketing practice from the 1860s to the 1930s, but other theorists argue that evidence of the production orientation can still be found in some companies or industries. Specifically Kotler and Armstrong note that the production philosophy is "one of the oldest philosophies that guides sellers... [and] is still useful in some situations."
The marketing orientation is the most common orientation used in contemporary marketing. It is a customer-centric approach that involves a firm basing its marketing program around products that suit new consumer tastes. Firms adopting a marketing orientation typically engage in extensive market research to gauge consumer desires, use R&D (Research & Development) to develop a product attuned to the revealed information, and then utilize promotion techniques to ensure consumers are aware of the product's existence and the benefits it can deliver. Scales designed to measure a firm's overall market orientation have been developed and found to be robust in a variety of contexts.
The marketing orientation has three prime facets, which are:
- Customer orientation: A firm in the market economy can survive by producing goods that people are willing and able to buy. Consequently, ascertaining consumer demand is vital for a firm's future viability and even existence as a going concern.
- Organizational orientation: The marketing department is of prime importance within the functional level of an organization. Information from the marketing department is used to guide the actions of a company's other departments.
- As an example, a marketing department could ascertain (via marketing research) that consumers desired a new type of product, or a new usage for an existing product. With this in mind, the marketing department would inform the R&D department to create a prototype of a product/service based on consumers' new desires.
- The production department would then start to manufacture the product, while the marketing department would focus on the promotion, distribution, pricing, etc. of the product. Additionally, a firm's finance department would be consulted, with respect to securing appropriate funding for the development, production and promotion of the product. Finance may oppose the required capital expenditure, since it could undermine a healthy cash flow for the organization.
- Mutually beneficial exchange: In a transaction in the market economy, a firm gains revenue, which thus leads to more profits, market shares, and/or sales. A consumer on the other hand gains the satisfaction of a need/want, utility, reliability and value for money from the purchase of a product or service.
A number of scholars and practitioners have argued that marketers have a greater social responsibility than simply satisfying customers and providing them with superior value. Marketing organisations that have embraced the societal marketing concept typically identify key stakeholder groups such as employees, customers, and local communities.Companies that adopt a societal marketing perspective typically practice triple bottom line reporting whereby they publish social impact and environmental impact reports alongside financial performance reports. Sustainable marketing or green marketing is an extension of societal marketing.
The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is a foundational tool used to guide decision making in marketing. The marketing mix represents the basic tools which marketers can use to bring their products or services to market. They are the foundation of managerial marketing and the marketing plan typically devotes a section to the marketing mix.
- The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The product element consists of product design, new product innovation, branding, packaging, labeling. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support. Branding, a key aspect of the product management, refers to the various methods of communicating a brand identity for the product, brand, or company.
- This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary; it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, or attention or any sacrifices consumers make in order to acquire a product or service. The price is the cost that a consumer pays for a product—monetary or not. Methods of setting prices are in the domain of pricing science.
- Place (or distribution)
- This refers to how the product gets to the customer; the distribution channels and intermediaries such as wholesalers and retailers who enable customers to access products or services in a convenient manner. This third P has also sometimes been called Place or Placement, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc. also referring to how the environment in which the product is sold in can affect sales.
- This includes all aspects of marketing communications; advertising, sales promotion, including promotional education, public relations, personal selling, product placement, branded entertainment, event marketing, trade shows and exhibitions. This fourth P is focused on providing a message to get a response from consumers. The message is designed to persuade or tell a story to create awareness.
One of the limitations of the 4Ps approach is its emphasis of an inside out-view. An inside-out approach is the traditional planning approach where the organisation identifies its desired goals and objectives, which are often based around what has always been done. Marketing's task then becomes one of "selling" the organisation's products and messages to the "outside" or external stakeholders. In contrast, an outside-in approach first seeks to understand the needs and wants of the consumer.
From a model-building perspective, the 4 Ps has attracted a number of criticisms. Well-designed models should exhibit clearly defined categories that are mutually exclusive, with no overlap. Yet, the 4 Ps model has extensive overlapping problems. Several authors stress the hybrid nature of the fourth P, mentioning the presence of two important dimensions, "communication" (general and informative communications such as public relations and corporate communications) and "promotion" (persuasive communications such as advertising and direct selling). Certain marketing activities, such as personal selling, may be classified as either promotion or as part of the place (i.e., distribution) element. Some pricing tactics, such as promotional pricing, can be classified as price variables or promotional variables and, therefore, also exhibit some overlap.
Other important criticisms include that the marketing mix lacks a strategic framework and is, therefore, unfit to be a planning instrument, particularly when uncontrollable, external elements are an important aspect of the marketing environment.
Modifications and extensions
To overcome the deficiencies of the 4P model, some authors have suggested extensions or modifications to the original model. Extensions of the four P's are often included in cases such as services marketing where unique characteristics (i.e. intangibility, perishability, heterogeneity and the inseparability of production and consumption) warrant additional consideration factors. Other extensions have been found necessary for retail marketing, industrial marketing and internet marketing
include "people", "process", and "physical evidence" and are often applied in the case of services marketing Other extensions have been found necessary in retail marketing, industrial marketing and internet marketing.
- Physical- the environment customers are in when they are marketed to
- People- service personnel and other customers with whom customers interact with. These people form part of the overall service experience.
- Process- the way in which orders are handled, customers are satisfied and the service is delivered
- Physical Evidence- the tangible examples of marketing that the customer has encountered before buying the advertised product
- Productivity- the ability to provide consumers with quality product using as few resources as possible
In response to environmental and technological changes in marketing, as well as criticisms towards the 4Ps approach, the 4Cs has emerged as a modern marketing mix model.
Consumer (or Client)
Cost refers to what is exchanged in return for the product. Cost mainly consists of the monetary value of the product. Cost also refers to anything else the consumer must sacrifice to attain the product, such as time or money spent on transportation to acquire the product.
Like "Place" in the 4Ps model, convenience refers to where the product will be sold. This, however, not only refers to physical stores, but also whether the product is available in person or online. The convenience aspect emphasizes making it as easy as possible for the consumer to attain the product, thus making them more likely to do so.
Like "Promotion" in the 4Ps model, communication refers to how consumers find out about a product. Unlike, promotion, communication not only refers to the one-way communication of advertising, but also the two-way communication available through social media.
The term "marketing environment" relates to all of the factors (whether internal, external, direct or indirect) that affect a firm's marketing decision-making/planning. A firm's marketing environment consists of three main areas, which are:
- The macro-environment, over which a firm holds little control
- The micro-environment, over which a firm holds a greater amount (though not necessarily total) control
- The internal environment, which includes the factors inside of the company itself
A firm's marketing macro-environment consists of a variety of external factors that manifest on a large (or macro) scale. These include factors that are:
A common method of assessing a firm's macro-environment is via a PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Ecological) analysis. Within a PESTLE analysis, a firm would analyze national political issues, culture and climate, key macroeconomic conditions, health and indicators (such as economic growth, inflation, unemployment, etc.), social trends/attitudes, and the nature of technology's impact on its society and the business processes within the society.
A firm's micro-environment comprises factors pertinent to the firm itself, or stakeholders closely connected with the firm or company.
A firm's micro-environment typically spans:
Marketing research is a systematic process of analyzing data which involves conducting research to support marketing activities, and the statistical interpretation of data into information. This information is then used by managers to plan marketing activities, gauge the nature of a firm's marketing environment and to attain information from suppliers. A distinction should be made between marketing research and market research. Market research involves gathering information about a particular target market. As an example, a firm may conduct research in a target market, after selecting a suitable market segment. In contrast, marketing research relates to all research conducted within marketing. Market research is a subset of marketing research.
Marketing researchers use statistical methods (such as quantitative research, qualitative research, hypothesis tests, Chi-square tests, linear regression, correlation coefficients, frequency distributions, Poisson and binomial distributions, etc.) to interpret their findings and convert data into information.
The stages of research include:
Market segmentation consists of taking the total heterogeneous market for a product and dividing it into several sub-markets or segments, each of which tends to be homogeneous in all significant aspects. The process is conducted for two main purposes: better allocation of a firm's finite resources and to better serve the more diversified tastes of contemporary consumers. A firm only possesses a certain amount of resources. Thus, it must make choices (and appreciate the related costs) in servicing specific groups of consumers. Moreover, with more diversity in the tastes of modern consumers, firms are noting the benefit of servicing a multiplicity of new markets.
Market segmentation can be defined in terms of the STP acronym, meaning Segment, Target, and Position.
Segmentation involves the initial splitting up of consumers into persons of like needs/wants/tastes. Commonly used criteria include:
- Geographic (such as a country, region, city, town)
- Psychographic (e.g. personality traits or lifestyle traits which influence consumer behaviour)
- Demographic (e.g. age, gender, socio-economic class, education)
- Life-Cycle (e.g. Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, Generation Z)
- Lifestyle (e.g. tech savvy, active)
- Behavioural (e.g. brand loyalty, usage rate)
Once a segment has been identified to target, a firm must ascertain whether the segment is beneficial for them to service. The DAMP acronym is used as criteria to gauge the viability of a target market. The elements of DAMP are:
- Discernable – how a segment can be differentiated from other segments.
- Accessible – how a segment can be accessed via Marketing Communications produced by a firm
- Measurable – can the segment be quantified and its size determined?
- Profitable – can a sufficient return on investment be attained from a segment's servicing?
The next step in the targeting process is the level of differentiation involved in a segment serving. Three modes of differentiation exist, which are commonly applied by firms. These are:
- Undifferentiated – where a company produces a like product for all of a market segment
- Differentiated – in which a firm produced slight modifications of a product within a segment
- Niche – in which an organization forges a product to satisfy a specialized target market
Positioning concerns how to position a product in the minds of consumers and inform what attributes differentiate it from the competitor's products. A firm often performs this by producing a perceptual map, which denotes similar products produced in the same industry according to how consumers perceive their price and quality. From a product's placing on the map, a firm would tailor its marketing communications to meld with the product's perception among consumers and its position among competitors' offering.
The promotional mix outlines how a company will market its product. It consists of five tools: personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, advertising and social media
Personal selling involves an oral presentation given by a salesperson who approaches an individual or a group of potential customers. Personal selling allows for two-way communication and relationship building that can aid both the buyer and the seller in their goals. Personal selling is most commonly seen in business-to-business marketing (eg: selling machinery to a factory, selling paper to a print shop), but it can also be found in business-to-consumer marketing (eg: selling cars at a dealership).
Sales promotion involves short-term incentives to encourage the buying of products. Examples of these incentives include:
- free samples
- trade shows
Public relations is the use of media tools to promote a positive view of a company or product in the public's eye. Public relations monitors the public opinion of a company or product and generates publicity to either sustain a positive opinion or lessen or change a negative opinion.
Advertising occurs when a firm directly pays a media channel to publicize its product. Common examples of advertising include:
Social media is used to facilitate two-way communication between companies and their customers. Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube allow brands to start a conversation with regular and prospective customers. Additionally, social media platforms can also house advertising and public relations content.
The Marketing Plan
The area of marketing planning involves forging a plan for a firm's marketing activities. A marketing plan can also pertain to a specific product, as well as to an organization's overall marketing strategy. An organization's marketing planning process is derived from its overall business strategy. Thus, when top management are devising the firm's strategic direction/mission, the intended marketing activities are incorporated into this plan.
Within the overall strategic marketing plan, the stages of the process are listed as thus:
Levels of marketing objectives within an organization
As stated previously, the senior management of a firm would formulate a general business strategy for a firm. However, this general business strategy would be interpreted and implemented in different contexts throughout the firm.
At the corporate level, marketing objectives are typically broad-based in nature, and pertain to the general vision of the firm in the short, medium or long-term. As an example, if one pictures a group of companies (or a conglomerate), top management may state that sales for the group should increase by 25% over a ten-year period.
A strategic business unit (SBU) is a subsidiary within a firm, which participates within a given market/industry. The SBU would embrace the corporate strategy, and attune it to its own particular industry. For instance, an SBU may partake in the sports goods industry. It thus would ascertain how it would attain additional sales of sports goods, in order to satisfy the overall business strategy.
The functional level relates to departments within the SBUs, such as marketing, finance, HR, production, etc. The functional level would adopt the SBU's strategy and determine how to accomplish the SBU's own objectives in its market. To use the example of the sports goods industry again, the marketing department would draw up marketing plans, strategies and communications to help the SBU achieve its marketing aims.
Product life cycle
The product life cycle (PLC) is a tool used by marketing managers to gauge the progress of a product, especially relating to sales or revenue accrued over time. The PLC is based on a few key assumptions, including:
- A given product would possess introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stage
- No product lasts perpetually on the market
- A firm must employ differing strategies, according to where a product is on the PLC
In the introduction stage, a product is launched onto the market. To stimulate growth of sales/revenue, use of advertising may be high, in order to heighten awareness of the product in question.
During the growth stage, the product's sales/revenue is increasing, which may stimulate more marketing communications to sustain sales. More entrants enter into the market, to reap the apparent high profits that the industry is producing.
When the product hits maturity, its start to level off, and an increasing number of entrants to a market produce price falls for the product. Firms may use sales promotions to raise sales.
During decline, demand for a good begins to taper off, and the firm may opt to discontinue manufacture of the product. This is so, if revenue for the product comes from efficiency savings in production, over actual sales of a good/service. However, if a product services a niche market, or is complementary to another product, it may continue manufacture of the product, despite a low level of sales/revenue being accrued.
- Account-based marketing
- Advertising management
- Affinity marketing
- American business history
- Brand awareness
- Consumer confusion
- Consumer behaviour
- Database marketing
- Demand chain
- Digital marketing
- Email remarketing
- Family in advertising
- History of marketing
- List of marketing terms
- Loyalty marketing
- Marketing management
- Marketing mix
- Marketing science
- Marketing strategy
- Media manipulation
- Multicultural marketing
- Product management
- Product marketing
- Production orientation
- Public Sector Marketing
- Real-time marketing
- Return on marketing investment (ROMI)
- Relationship marketing
- Societal marketing
- Sustainable market orientation
- Visual marketing
Types of marketing
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