Marketing is an ongoing process of planning and executing the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion often referred to as the 4 Ps) for products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organizations.
Marketing tends to be seen as a creative industry, which includes advertising, distribution and selling. It is also concerned with anticipating the customers' future needs and wants, which are often discovered through market research.
Essentially, marketing is the process of creating or directing an organization to be successful in selling a product or service that people not only desire, but are willing to buy.
Therefore good marketing must be able to create a "proposition" or set of benefits for the end customer that delivers value through products or services.
A market-focused, or customer-focused, organization first determines what its potential customers desire, and then builds the product or service. Marketing theory and practice is justified in the belief that customers use a product or service because they have a need, or because it provides a perceived benefit.
Two major factors of marketing are the recruitment of new customers (acquisition) and the retention and expansion of relationships with existing customers (base management). Once a marketer has converted the prospective buyer, base management marketing takes over. The process for base management shifts the marketer to building a relationship, nurturing the links, enhancing the benefits that sold the buyer in the first place, and improving the product/service continuously to protect the business from competitive encroachments.
For a marketing plan to be successful, the mix of the four "Ps" must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers or Shoppers in the target market. Trying to convince a market segment to buy something they don't want is extremely expensive and seldom successful. Marketers depend on insights from marketing research, both formal and informal, to determine what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for. Marketers hope that this process will give them a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing management is the practical application of this process. The offer is also an important addition to the 4P's theory.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) states, "Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Anthropology is also a small, but growing influence. Market research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts. Marketing is a wide and heavily interconnected subject with extensive publications. It is also an area of activity infamous for re-inventing itself and its vocabulary according to the times and the culture.
Concept of Marketing
"Marketing" is an instructive business domain that serves to inform and educate target markets about the value and competitive advantage of a company and its products. “Value” is worth derived by the customer from owning and using the product. “Competitive Advantage” is a depiction that the company or its products are each doing something better than their competition in a way that could benefit the customer.
Marketing is focused on the task of conveying pertinent company and product related information to specific customers, and there are a multitude of decisions (strategies) to be made within the marketing domain regarding what information to deliver, how much information to deliver, to whom to deliver, how to deliver, when to deliver, and where to deliver. Once the decisions are made, there are numerous ways (tactics) and processes that could be employed in support of the selected strategies.
As Marketing is often misinterpreted as just advertising or sales, Chris Newton, in What is marketing? (Marketing Help Online, 2008), defined marketing as every strategy and decision made in the following twelve areas:
- Identifying and quantifying the need in the marketplace
- Identifying and quantifying the target markets
- Identifying the optimum cost effective media – online and offline - to reach the target markets
- Reviewing the priorities of the product offering in your overall product mix ‘matrix’
- Identifying and developing the most effective distribution channels, be they wholesaler networks, partnering alliances, franchising, or any number of conduits to the market.
- Testing different ways of packaging the concepts or products to find their most 'easy-to-sell' form
- Testing to find the optimum pricing strategies
- Developing effective promotional strategies and effective advertising and supporting collateral, offers, and launch strategies
- Developing and documenting the sales process
- Finding the optimum execution of the sales process – through testing of selling scripts, people selection, supporting collateral, skills and attitudinal training, tracking, measuring and refining
- Ensuring that sales projections reflect realistic production capacities
- Developing nurture programs to optimise the lifetime value of the customer
The goal of marketing is to build and maintain a preference for a company and its products within the target markets. The goal of any business is to build mutually profitable and sustainable relationships with its customers. While all business domains are responsible for accomplishing this goal, the marketing domain bears a significant share of the responsibility.
Within the larger scope of its definition, marketing is performed through the actions of three coordinated disciplines named: “Product Marketing”, “Corporate Marketing”, and “Marketing Communications”.
Two levels of marketing
Strategic marketing: attempts to determine how an organization competes against its competitors in a market place. In particular, it aims at generating a competitive advantage relative to its competitors.
Operational marketing: executes marketing functions to attract and keep customers and to maximize the value derived for them, as well as to satisfy the customer with prompt services and meeting the customer expectations. Operational Marketing includes the determination of the porter's five forces
In popular usage, "marketing" is the promotion of products, especially advertising and branding. However, in professional usage the term has a wider meaning which recognizes that marketing is customer-centered. Products are often developed to meet the desires of groups of customers or even, in some cases, for specific customers. E. Jerome McCarthy divided marketing into four general sets of activities. His typology has become so universally recognized that his four activity sets, the Four Ps, have passed into the language.
The four Ps are:
- Product: 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 scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support.
- Pricing: 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, psychology or attention.
- Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling, branding and refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
- Placement (or distribution): refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point of sale placement or retailing. This fourth P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or services 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.
These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix, which a marketer can use to craft a marketing plan. The four Ps model is most useful when marketing low value consumer products. Industrial products, services, high value consumer products require adjustments to this model. Services marketing must account for the unique nature of services. Industrial or B2B marketing must account for the long term contractual agreements that are typical in supply chain transactions. Relationship marketing attempts to do this by looking at marketing from a long term relationship perspective rather than individual transactions.
As a counter to this, Morgan, in Riding the Waves of Change (Jossey-Bass, 1988), suggests that one of the greatest limitations of the 4 Ps approach "is that it unconsciously emphasizes the inside–out view (looking from the company outwards), whereas the essence of marketing should be the outside–in approach". Nevertheless, the 4 Ps offer a memorable and workable guide to the major categories of marketing activity, as well as a framework within which these can be used.
As well as the standard four P's (Product, Pricing, Promotion and Place), services marketing calls upon an extra three, totaling seven and known together as the extended marketing mix. These are:
- People: Any person coming into contact with customers can have an impact on overall satisfaction. Whether as part of a supporting service to a product or involved in a total service, people are particularly important because, in the customer's eyes, they are generally inseparable from the total service . As a result of this, they must be appropriately trained, well motivated and the right type of person. Fellow customers are also sometimes referred to under 'people', as they too can affect the customer's service experience, (e.g., at a sporting event).
- Process: This is the process(es) involved in providing a service and the behaviour of people, which can be crucial to customer satisfaction.
- Physical evidence: Unlike a product, a service cannot be experienced before it is delivered, which makes it intangible. This, therefore, means that potential customers could perceive greater risk when deciding whether to use a service. To reduce the feeling of risk, thus improving the chance for success, it is often vital to offer potential customers the chance to see what a service would be like. This is done by providing physical evidence, such as case studies, testimonials or demonstrations.
Four New Ps
- Personalization: It is here referred customization of products and services through the use of the Internet. Early examples include Dell on-line and Amazon.com, but this concept is further extended with emerging social media and advanced algorithms. Emerging technologies will continue to push this idea forward.
- Participation: This is to allow the customer to participate in what the brand should stand for; what should be the product directions and even which ads to run. This concept is laying the foundation for disruptive change through democratization of information.
- Peer-to-Peer: This refers to customer networks and communities where advocacy happens. The historical problem with marketing is that it is “interruptive” in nature, trying to impose a brand on the customer. This is most apparent in TV advertising. These “passive customer bases” will ultimately be replaced by the “active customer communities”. Brand engagement happens within those conversations. P2P is now being referred as Social Computing and is likely to be the most disruptive force in the future of marketing.
- Predictive modeling: This refers to algorithms that are being successfully applied in marketing problems (both a regression as well as a classification problem).
* Breadth -- number of product lines in a range. * Depth -- number of product items in a product line.
 Steps in product design
- Design and development of product ideas.
- Selection of and sifting through product ideas.
- Design and testing of product concept.
- Analysis of business instead of product concept.
- Design and testing of emotional product.
Requirements of good packaging
- Functional - effectively contain and protect the contents
- Provide convenience during distribution, sale, opening, use, reuse, etc.
- Be environmentally responsible
- Be cost effective
- Appropriately designed for target market
- Eye-catching (particularly for retail/consumer sales)
- Communicate attributes and recommended use of the product and package
- Compliant with retailers' requirements
- Promotes image of enterprise
- Distinguishable from competitors' products
- Meet legal requirements for product and packaging
- Point of difference in service and supply of product.
- For a perfect product, perfect colour.
Forms of packaging
- Specialty packaging — emphasizes the elegant character of the product
- Packaging for double-use
- Combination packaging two or more products packaged in the same container
- Kaleidoscopic packaging — packaging changes continually to reflect a series or particular theme
- Packaging for immediate consumption — to be thrown away after use
- Packaging for resale — packed, into appropriate quantities, for the retailer or wholesaler
Significance of a trademark
- Distinguishes one company's goods from those of another
- Serves as advertisement for quality
- Protects both consumers and manufacturers
- Used in displays and advertising campaigns
- Used to market new products
A brand has also been defined as an identifiable entity that makes a specific promise of value.
Co-branding involves marketing activity involving two or more products.
Pricing refers to the amount of money exchanged for a product. This value is determined by utility to the consumer in terms of money and/or sacrifice that the consumer is prepared to give for it.
- Increase sales volume
- Increase revenue
- Achieve or increase profits
- Increase or maintain market share
- Eliminate competition
- Achieve advantages of mass production
Factors influencing price-determination
- Production and distribution costs
- Substitute goods available
- Normal trade practices
- Fixed prices
- Reaction of distributors
- Reaction of consumers
- Nature of demand:
- Form of market:
- Perfect competition
- Monopolistic competition
Steps to determine price
- Determine market share to be captured
- Set up price strategy
- Estimate demand
- Evaluate competitors' reactions
- Manufacturer to consumer (most direct)
- Manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer (traditional)
- Manufacturer to agent to retailer to consumer (current)
- Manufacturer to agent to wholesaler to retailer to consumer
- Manufacturer to agent to customer ( ex : DCL,AMWAY )
Reasons for direct selling methods
- Manufacturer wants to demonstrate goods.
- Wholesalers, retailers and agents not actively selling.
- Manufacturer unable to convince wholesalers or retailers to stock product.
- High profit margin added to goods by wholesalers and retailers.
- Middlemen unable to transport.
Reasons for indirect selling methods
- Manufacturer does not have the financial resources to distribute goods.
- Distribution channels already established.
- Manufacturer has no knowledge of efficient distribution.
- Manufacturer wishes to use capital for further production.
- Too many consumers in a large area; difficult to reach.
- Manufacturer does not have a wide assortment of goods to enable efficient marketing.
- Direct on-selling advantages.
Reasons for using wholesalers
- Bear risk of selling goods to retailer or consumer
- Storage space
- Decrease transport costs
- Grant credit to retailers
- Able to sell for the manufacturers
- Give advice to manufacturers
- Break down products into smaller quantities
[ediReasons for bypassing wholesalers
- Limited storage facilities
- Retailers' preferences
- Wholesaler cannot promote products successfully
- Development of wholesalers' own brands
- Desire for closer market contact
- Position of power
- Cost of wholesalers' services
- Price stabilisation
- Need for rapid distribution
- Make more money
 Ways of bypassing wholesalers
- Sales offices or branches
- Mail orders
- Direct sales to retailers
- Travelling agents
- Direct Orders
- Commission agents work for anyone who needs their services. They do not acquire ownership of goods but receive del credere commission.
- Selling agents act on an extended contractual basis, selling all of the products of the manufacturer. They have full authority regarding price and terms of sale.
- Buying agents buy goods on behalf of producers and retailers. They have an expert knowledge of the purchasing function.
- Brokers specialize in the sale of one specific product. They receive a brokerage.
- Factory representatives represent more than one manufacturer. They operate within a specific area and sell related lines of goods but have limited authority regarding price and sales terms.
Marketing communications breaks down the strategies involved with marketing messages into categories based on the goals of each message. There are distinct stages in converting strangers to customers that govern the communication medium that should be used.
Advertisement in a rail station in Berlin.
- Paid form of public presentation and expressive promotion of ideas
- Aimed at masses
- Manufacturer may determine what goes into advertisement
- Pervasive and impersonal medium
Functions and advantages of successful advertising
- Task of the salesman made easier
- Forces manufacturer to live up to conveyed image
- Protects and warns customers against false claims and inferior products
- Enables manufacturer to mass-produce product
- Continuous reminder
- Uninterrupted production a possibility
- Increases goodwill
- Raises standards of living (or perceptions thereof)
- Prices decrease with increased popularity
- Educates manufacturer and wholesaler about competitors' offerings as well as shortcomings in their own.
- Maintain demand for well-known goods
- Introduce new and unknown goods
- Increase demand for well-known goods/products/services
Requirements of a good advertisement
- Attract attention (awareness)
- Stimulate interest
- Create a desire
- Bring about action
Eight steps in an advertising campaign
- Market research
- Setting out aims
- Choice of media (television, newspaper, radio)
- Choice of actors (New Trend)
- Design and wording
- Test results
Oral presentation given by a salesman who approaches individuals or a group of potential customers:
- Live, interactive relationship
- Personal interest
- Attention and response
- Interesting presentation
Short-term incentives to encourage buying of products:
- Instant appeal
- Anxiety to sell
An example of this is coupons or a sale. People are given an incentive to buy, but it does not build customer loyalty, nor encourage repeat buys in the future. A major drawback of sales promotion is that it is easily copied by competition. It cannot be used as a sustainable source of differentiation.
Marketing Public Relations (MPR)
- Stimulation of demand through press release giving a favourable report to a product
- Higher degree of credibility
- Effectively news
- Boosts enterprise's image
Many companies today have a customer focus (or customer orientation). This implies that the company focuses its activities and products on consumer demands. Generally there are three ways of doing this: the customer-driven approach, the sense of identifying market changes and the product innovation approach.
In the consumer-driven approach, consumer wants are the drivers of all strategic marketing decisions. No strategy is pursued until it passes the test of consumer research. Every aspect of a market offering, including the nature of the product itself, is driven by the needs of potential consumers. The starting point is always the consumer. The rationale for this approach is that there is no point spending R&D funds developing products that people will not buy. History attests to many products that were commercial failures in spite of being technological breakthroughs.
A formal approach to this customer-focused marketing is known as SIVA(Solution, Information, Value, Access). This system is basically the four Ps renamed and reworded to provide a customer focus.
The SIVA Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known 4Ps supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing management.
- Product -> Solution
- Promotion -> Information
- Price -> Value
- Place ->Access
The four elements of the SIVA model are:
- Solution: How appropriate is the solution to the customer's problem/need?
- Information: Does the customer know about the solution? If so, how and from whom do they know enough to let them make a buying decision?
- Value: Does the customer know the value of the transaction, what it will cost, what are the benefits, what might they have to sacrifice, what will be their reward?
- Access: Where can the customer find the solution? How easily/locally/remotely can they buy it and take delivery?
This model was proposed by Chekitan Dev and Don Schultz in the Marketing Management Journal of the American Marketing Association, and presented by them in Market Leader - the journal of the Marketing Society in the UK.
The model focuses heavily on the customer and how they view the transaction.
In a product innovation approach, the company pursues product innovation, then tries to develop a market for the product. Product innovation drives the process and marketing research is conducted primarily to ensure that a profitable market segment(s) exists for the innovation. The rationale is that customers may not know what options will be available to them in the future so we should not expect them to tell us what they will buy in the future. However, marketers can aggressively over-pursue product innovation and try to overcapitalize on a niche. When pursuing a product innovation approach, marketers must ensure that they have a varied and multi-tiered approach to product innovation. It is claimed that if Thomas Edison depended on marketing research he would have produced larger candles rather than inventing light bulbs. Many firms, such as research and development focused companies, successfully focus on product innovation (Such as Nintendo who constantly change the way Video games are played). Many purists doubt whether this is really a form of marketing orientation at all, because of the ex post status of consumer research. Some even question whether it is marketing.
- An emerging area of study and practice concerns internal marketing, or how employees are trained and managed to deliver the brand in a way that positively impacts the acquisition and retention of customers (employer branding).
- Diffusion of innovations research explores how and why people adopt new products, services and ideas.
- A relatively new form of marketing uses the Internet and is called Internet marketing or more generally e-marketing, affiliate marketing, desktop advertising or online marketing. It typically tries to perfect the segmentation strategy used in traditional marketing. It targets its audience more precisely, and is sometimes called personalized marketing or one-to-one marketing.
- With consumers' eroding attention span and willingness to give time to advertising messages, marketers are turning to forms of permission marketing such as branded content, custom media and reality marketing.
- The use of herd behavior in marketing.
- The Economist reported a recent conference in Rome on the subject of the simulation of adaptive human behavior. Mechanisms to increase impulse buying and get people "to buy more by playing on the herd instinct" were shared. The basic idea is that people will buy more of products that are seen to be popular, and several feedback mechanisms to get product popularity information to consumers are mentioned, including smart-cart technology and the use of Radio Frequency Identification Tag technology. A "swarm-moves" model was introduced by a Princeton researcher, which is appealing to supermarkets because it can "increase sales without the need to give people discounts." Large retailers Wal-Mart in the United States and Tesco in Britain plan to test the technology in spring 2007 .
- Other recent studies on the "power of social influence" include an "artificial music market in which some 14,000 people downloaded previously unknown songs" (Columbia University, New York); a Japanese chain of convenience stores which orders its products based on "sales data from department stores and research companies;" a Massachusetts company exploiting knowledge of social networking to improve sales; and online retailers who are increasingly informing consumers about "which products are popular with like-minded consumers" (e.g., Amazon, eBay).
Areas of marketing specialization
- advertising and branding
- database marketing
- professional selling
- direct marketing
- event organization
- experiential marketing
- field marketing
- global marketing
- international marketing
- internet marketing
- industrial marketing
- market research
- marketing strategy
- marketing plan
- proximity marketing
- public relations
- search engine marketing
- strategic management