The Concept and Process of Marketing
The process of marketing involves five different concepts, each having a distinct function that it plays in the process of marketing. It is because each concept was created depending on the existing needs of the market (Baker, 2001). Moreover, it is imperative to note that the concepts change depending on the changes that occur in the marketing environment. They are commonly referred as philosophical concepts used to guide businesses’ selling and marketing efforts. In this respect, the company is expected to access its’ existing interest’ relative weight as well as that of the society and its consumers (Baker, 2001). Different interests normally clash and therefore a company is required to have a well-thought-out marketing concept that is most socially responsible, efficient and effective when carrying out selling and marketing activities.
The first element in the marketing process is the production concept, which is known to be the oldest philosophical concept in business organizations (Masuch, 2012). The concept is based on the assumption that consumers will only prefer to buy those products and services that are widely available and economically affordable. For this reason, companies normally focus on achieving efficient means of mass production and distribution while ensuring strategies in place achieve low costs (Moore & Thorson, 2013). Additionally, managers are guided by the assumption that product availability as well as low prices are the primary sources of consumer attraction. However, it is important to note that such an orientation is common among developing countries since consumers are interested in products rather than specific features.
According to product concept, consumers are regarded to prefer only those products that are of high quality, offer the best performance and have innovative features (Masuch, 2012). Based on this understanding, business organizations focus their business activities on producing only those products that offer superior quality to the consumers while ensuring that such products are improved over the years (Baker, 2001). In addition, business managers are convinced that consumers will only be attracted to those products that are well made. For this reason, they concentrate on producing products that demonstrate high quality and performance. However, business managers are faced with the challenge of producing those products that are demanded in the market because they are too attached to their products. This is type of love affair that is based on the belief that consumers will be obviously persuaded by the features assumed to be superior.
The selling philosophical concept on the other hand holds that businesses and consumers normally fail to purchase the company’s benchmarked products if left alone (Paul, 2008). For this reason, businesses hold that they have take measures that ensure aggressive selling as well as promotional activities is undertaken. This essentially means that consumers naturally display resistance or buying inertia and must therefore be coaxed through selling and promotional activities to buy business products. Moreover, selling concept assumes that businesses have the capacity and tools that stimulate effective promotional and selling business activities (Masuch, 2012). However, studies have established that most businesses prefer to utilize selling concept when there is overcapacity. This means that they focus on selling whatever is produced rather than what is demanded in the market.
Another important philosophical concept is the marketing concept, which presents challenges towards selling, product and production concepts (Masuch, 2012). The concept assumes that the success of any business is dependent on the level of effectiveness in the processes of creating, communicating and delivering consumer value that is superior to the competitors (Baker, 2001). In addition, this concept holds that a successful business is able to identify and target consumers in the market. For this reason, marketing concept is mainly based on four main pillars; customer needs, target market, integrated marketing as well as profitability.
Societal marketing concept is yet another important philosophical concept that demands business organization to accurately determine the wants, needs and interests of specific target markets (Baker, 2001). In this respect, businesses should deliver the products desired by the market and effectively satisfy targeted markets more efficiently than the competitors satisfy. It is important to note that this marketing concept has been used by businesses for longer periods relative to other concepts, thereby making it original. However, the most differentiating feature of this concept is the fact that it stresses the need to enhance or preserve the society’s and the consumer’s well-being when executing marketing activities (Masuch, 2012).
There are costs and benefits that are associated with marketing orientations depending on the type of marketing strategy that different organizations choose to base their marketing orientations (Masuch, 2012). This means that the benefits derived by consumers in these different business organizations vary from one business to the next. Consequently, different business organizations incur different costs when engaging in marketing activities. For instance, a business establishment such as Wal-Mart have adopted product concept, which focuses on their products quality as opposed to those businesses that use production concept during marketing orientation (Paul, 2008). This means that the consumers of Wal-Mart have high expectations in regards to their level of satisfaction.
In this case, the benefit of employing product concept by Wal-Mart is the level of satisfaction that is achieved by their consumers. Satisfaction is an individual’s feelings of pleasure that mainly results from comparing performance of products between different businesses settings (Masuch, 2012). It is important to note that consumer expectations are mainly based on past experiences, marketing efforts, competitors, friends or promises on performance. Thus, with this knowledge, Wal-Mart incurs high costs on marketing that is mainly targeted on specific consumer segment who value superior quality and performance (Paul, 2008). In addition, there are other additional costs during the processes of including features aimed at attracting as well as retaining the existing consumers. These features are improved overtime ensuring that competitors are kept at bay. Wal-Mart business chain is guided by the principle that consumers are more likely to share bad experiences than positive experiences.
There exist factors that influence business-marketing decisions in the macro and microenvironment. Therefore, it is important for business managers to consider various external factors that contribute significantly during business decisions processes (Drucker, 2016). This should be a key part of when undertaking feasibility studies to their particular products. It is important to note that business organizations are expected to react to such factors since they are incapable of doing anything about them (Masuch, 2012). For instance in the macro environment, economic factors play crucial roles on marketing activities. This is because prevailing economic and financial conditions typically determine the level of demand for company’s products. Hence, when these factors are considered to be low, a company is likely to suffer from low sale volumes and therefore are forced to cut costs incurred through marketing orientations (Drucker, 2016).
Moreover, the most common factor that influences marketing activities in the macro environment is the level of competition. In this case, companies are forced to adopt selling concepts in instances where there is high and intense competition. This is more intense when businesses are competing for the same target consumers in the environment. As a result, companies or businesses are more likely to incur high costs due to promotions and selling orientation activities (Masuch, 2012). However, in cases where the level of competition is considered low in the macro environment managers normally adopt decisions that do not put focus on selling or promotions on products.
Different business organizations deal with different types of products with different target consumers in the macro environment. Moreover, they adopt different marketing concepts disregarding whether they are dealing with the same or different products. Nonetheless, business organizations are influenced by social or cultural factors in the marketing environment when making important decisions. In this case, the society determines what is acceptable or not acceptable business practice according to its culture (Moore & Thorson, 2013). Therefore, business managers are forced to evaluate the existing culture before conducting marketing activities to avoid clashing with the society. The most appropriate concept that managers are more likely to adopt in such cases is the societal marketing concept (Masuch, 2012).
The main micro environmental factor that influences decision-making processes during marketing orientations is the actual financial position of a business organization. Business managers are expected to be cost effective when making selling and promotion decisions. This is because, different marketing strategies results to different cost levels (Moore & Thorson, 2013). For this reason, it is important for companies to ensure that their decisions do not affect profitability of the business. Essentially, it implies that marketing decisions typically depend on a business financial capacity (Masuch, 2012). In particular, this micro environmental factor influences such decisions like how marketing activities are to be carried out as well as the most cost-effective medium to be used during marketing orientations.
The Concepts of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning
The process of segmentation is an important part of marketing strategy and usually involves identifying and determining different consumers with different needs (Baker, 2001). For instance, in the automobile industry consumers are mostly keen on performance and speed. The clients therefore will demand the same from automobile businesses. However, in the same industry there is a section of consumers who will demand safety levels and the roominess of products. This essentially implies that a business entity is likely to face challenges of satisfying the needs and wants of all consumers (Masuch, 2012). Furthermore, research and experience has indicated that business firms that tend to concentrate on the needs and wants of one particular group of consumers are more profitable.
Broadly, most business managers use three main approaches when marketing their products. The main or most common approach is the undifferentiated strategy, which treats all consumers equal with no special treatment given to a particular group (Moore & Thorson, 2013). This approach is most effective in situations where the main product is standardized with no particular aim of satisfying a certain group. Moreover, this approach is used when there is less threat by competitors in the business environment and is only appropriate for commodity-based businesses (Masuch, 2012).
Concentrated strategy is yet another approach that is employed by business managers who choose to concentrate on a particular group from several segments. These business managers disregard all other segments leaving them to be satisfied by other competitors (Masuch, 2012). An example of a company that has adopted this type of strategy is Southwest Airlines that mainly focuses on satisfying the needs of only those consumers who are price sensitive and therefore are willing to forego luxuries such as meals for low prices seats (Paul, 2008). The targeting strategy is contrasted to the differentiated strategy that focuses on those consumers who are flexible in nature as far as their buying behaviour is concerned.
It is worth noting that the process of segmentation often calls for various tough choices for business managers. This is because there are a many variables used in the process of differentiating consumers in the various product categories present in company’s products (Paul, 2008). Furthermore, it is practically difficult to consider a few variables when differentiating consumers. This means that business managers are expected to accurately determine only those most viable variables in the process of categorizing and distinguishing various consumer groups (Masuch, 2012). For instance, a company that focuses on soft drinks products may decide to categorize their consumers based on low calories versus preference of taste, non-cola versus preference for cola, preference of brand names versus price sensitivity or light versus heavy consumers.
The process of segmentation considers several critical variables that assist in making informed decisions during marketing orientations. For example, a variable such as demographics includes consumer data details such as education, income, gender, family size or geographical locations. Companies such as Campbell’s Soup mainly used the variable after conducting a feasibility study that found out that there were more consumers in the Western United States who had higher preferences on spicier soups (Paul, 2008). This means that the distribution of their products varied between the East and West coasts. Consumer behaviour is yet another factor that affects marketing activities as well as different buying situations. It is important to note that there are a section of consumers who tend to be loyal towards certain product brands (Baker, 2001). This is despite marketing and promotion efforts from a competing similar product by competitors. This consumer behaviour is mainly observed in those consumers who are from stable families. They tend to use those brands that were used in the family for many generations (Masuch, 2012).
However, other consumers are observed to be heavy users of certain brands while others are light users. For instance, after conducting a research the wine industry discovered that about 20% of consumers typically consume 80% of their products (Paul, 2008). This 20% were loyal consumers and mostly were an intoxicated group of consumers. Positioning products involve all processes that aim to implement the process of targeting consumers. For instance, a company like Apple that deals with computers and computer accessories may choose to position itself as a brand that is user-friendly towards its consumers (Drucker, 2016). This means that it has to develop effective strategies through promotions and advertisements with elements that are able to convince vast consumers that the company’s products are aimed towards the non-geek consumers. However, there are specific products such as software programming languages that are primarily produced for technical consumers such as the Visual C (Drucker, 2016). However, it is important to note that positioning products does not only aim at reaching out for specific consumers but also aims to ensure that companies are able to achieve acceptable levels of consumer services as well as be cost-effective.
Positioning of products is a business activity that is aimed at offering products competitive advantage by effectively changing consumer perceptions regarding product brands. This means that the process of positioning is aimed at improving the product brand because the existing one is less effective or less attractive to consumers (Drucker, 2016). However, it is worth noting that the process of repositioning is seen to be a complex process to many business managers. This is mainly because it requires huge investments in terms of marketing, promotional and financial capacities. Therefore, it may not be possible to business organizations that have limited or constrained finances (Masuch, 2012). Positioning and distribution of product can be effectively implemented with the aim of achieving consumer convenience. In this respect, business managers are expected to accurately understand consumer perceptions regarding their brands as well as competitors’. Consumer perceptions on company’s brands are determined through multidimensional scaling approach (Moore & Thorson, 2013). Business managers set out to identify their product perceptions using more than one dimension since this ultimately helps them to compare brands. The next step is attempting to move company’s brand in a more desirable direction by way of selecting certain promoting points. In a priori approach, a business manager identifies any dimensions of interest while continually getting consumer feedback in each of them (Moore & Thorson, 2013). However, this approach is only possible where a business manager is able to determine dimensions of interests as well as the consumer perception regarding each dimension.
Understanding Individual Elements of the Extended Marketing mMix
Marketing mix is a combination of a number of ideas as well as plans that are observed by a marketer or business manager in the process of promoting particular brand or product. There are several ideas and concepts integrated to formulate ultimate strategies. The approaches are critical in popularizing brands (Drucker, 2016). Four main important elements used by marketers and business managers during the process of marketing are referred to as the four P’s. They are product, price, place and promotion elements (Baker, 2001).
Companies normally use the element of price to reflect market conditions as well as company objectives. Business managers are able to do this ensuring that prices are indirectly proportional to product’s ease of access in the market. This means that as the level of availability increases, business managers raises product’s prices. Conversely, those retail stores that stock products assumed to unique and unavailable in the market have been found to quote high prices for such products and many consumers are willing to buy. However, it is worth noting that prices are established depending on the target market of certain products. Target marketing is an important asset during the process of pricing as it helps marketers to effectively target those consumers who are inclined towards certain or particular products (Masuch, 2012).
Today, many companies are integrating additional elements to be useful in the extended marketing mix. They focus on consumers because they realize that consumer needs and wants are the main important factors that determine the success of any business venture. Thus, companies have replaced the four P’s with the four C’s during marketing orientations. The four C’s include; consumer, convenience, cost and communication (Drucker, 2016). This means that marketers or business managers use these elements in their promotional schemes and marketing techniques to ensure that the targeted consumers respond.
Baker J. M. 2001. Marketing: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. London. Taylor & Francis Publishers.
Drucker F. P. 2016. Managing for Results: Economic Tasks and Risks-Taking Decisions. New York. Elsevier.
Paul J. 2008. International Marketing: Text and Cases. New York. McGraw Hill Publishers.
Masuch M. 2012. Reason-Oriented Marketing: A Generic Marketing Approach. Hamburg. Diplomic Vialag.
Moore J. & Thorson E. 2013. Integrated Communication: Synergy of Persuasive Voices. London. Psychology Press.