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Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. It is the business process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers' needs and wants. 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.
Given the centrality of customer needs, and wants in marketing, a rich understanding of these concepts is essential:
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.
The two major segments of marketing are business-to-business (B2B) marketing and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.
B2B (business-to-business) marketing refers to any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organization. Any company that sells products or services to other businesses or organizations (vs. consumers) typically uses B2B marketing strategies.
Examples of products sold through B2B marketing include:
The four major categories of B2B product purchasers are:
Business-to-consumer marketing, or B2C marketing, refers to the tactics and strategies in which a company promotes its products and services to individual people.
Traditionally, this could refer to individuals shopping for personal products in a broad sense. More recently the term B2C refers to the online selling of consumer products.
Consumer-to-business marketing or C2B marketing is a business model where the end consumers create products and services which are consumed by businesses and organizations. It is diametrically opposed to the popular concept of B2C or Business- to- Consumer where the companies make goods and services available to the end consumers.
Customer to customer marketing or C2C marketing represents a market environment where one customer purchases goods from another customer using a third-party business or platform to facilitate the transaction. C2C companies are a new type of model that has emerged with e-commerce technology and the sharing economy.
The different goals of B2B and B2C marketing lead to differences in the B2B and B2C markets. The main differences in these markets are demand, purchasing volume, number of customers, customer concentration, distribution, buying nature, buying influences, negotiations, reciprocity, leasing and promotional methods.
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 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 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:
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 organizations 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.
A marketing mix is a foundational tool used to guide decision making in marketing. The marketing mix represents the basic tools that marketers can use to bring their products or services to the market. They are the foundation of managerial marketing and the marketing plan typically devotes a section to the marketing mix.
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 organization'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.
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.
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)
The consumer refers to the person or group that will acquire the product. This aspect of the model focuses on fulfilling the wants or needs of the consumer.
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:
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:
In contrast to the macro-environment, an organization holds a greater (though not complete) degree of control over these factors.
A firms internal environment consists of factors inside of the actual company. These are factors controlled by the firm and they affect the relationship that a firm has with its customers. These include factors such as:
Marketing research is a systematic process of analyzing data that 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:
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:
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:
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 (e.g.: selling machinery to a factory, selling paper to a print shop), but it can also be found in business-to-consumer marketing (e.g.: selling cars at a dealership).
Sales promotion involves short-term incentives to encourage the buying of products. Examples of these incentives include:
Depending on the incentive, one or more of the other elements of the promotional mix may be used in conjunction with sales promotion to inform customers of the incentives.
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.
Public relations can include interviews, speeches/presentations, corporate literature, social media, news releases and special events.
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. Viral marketing can be greatly facilitated by social media and if successful, allows key marketing messages and content in reaching a large number of target audiences within a short time frame. Additionally, social media platforms can also house advertising and public relations content.
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:
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.
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:
In the introduction stage, a product is launched onto the market. To stimulate the 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 starts 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 the 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 the manufacture of the product, despite a low level of sales/revenue being accrued.
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