Principles of Marketing and the Marketing Strategy
The major goal of any business is to maximize on profits and reduce on costs. This is only achieved if the products and services they offer have a well-defined market where customers recognize the products as the best thus customer loyalty. Gaining customer loyalty comes because of proper marketing strategies. Marketing can be defined as those activities that involve flow of goods and services from the production point to the consumption point. It involves planning, execution of price, promotion of the products, and distribution of ideas, goods and services for the purpose of exchange in order to satisfy individual and organizational objectives. Marketing is a key organizational function, which involves creating, communicating and delivering value to a customer in a bid to maintain customer relationships thus benefiting organization and its stakeholders (Ringold and Weltz, 2007).
Marketing strategy in any company aims at reaching the customer and thus it has moved from a transaction-orientation to a customer-relationship-building orientation. The customer has to be created for they define the business. Through marketing, a company should make sure they make the stuff that customers want. This is because nowadays customers are quite organized, well informed and more demanding. Companies should therefore work towards fitting the products to the customer by adapting the products to customers’ needs or tastes for this is more profitable. For this reason, customer orientation strategy should be implemented. Customer orientation can be defined as the dissemination of information and using it in the business unit. Further, it is the set of beliefs that put the customers’ interests first but not forgetting other stakeholders as owners, managers or employees in order to develop long-term profits for the company.
Marketing is composed of five core concepts, which include needs, wants and demands. These form part of the human life where everyone requires certain necessities to survive such as food, water, shelter, clothing and so much more. All these needs and wants are in demand backed up by a purchasing power. These needs and wants recur and as time goes by anyone requires some more. The other concept is products and services. These tangible or intangible items are provided to satisfy the needs and wants of the customers. Value, satisfaction and quality are other concepts that involve provision of products and services that are capable of meeting the customer needs and wants. Any products and services that are of the best quality are able to market themselves. Customers do not settle for less and therefore companies have no choice other than offering the best if they want to attain a competitive advantage.
In marketing, there are transactions, exchanges and customer relationships. These interactions create the marketing networks, which are very important to any business. Marketing involves markets, which are the meeting points or places between sellers and buyers. These five concepts form the basics of marketing. Marketing can be traced in terms of eras where the first era was from the year 1900 to 1920 (Wilkie and Moore, 2012). This era involved economists who focused on production but attention was needed in distribution. The second era ran from the year 1920 to 1950 where during this time electricity was fixed in most of the USA homes and in the production firms where goods were packaged and delivered by new concepts of retail including supermarkets. There was an increase in the functional process of marketing which entails supplying the market with the necessary goods and services and creating opportunities for exchange.
The third era was from 1950 to 1980 and it involved domination of mass marketing where the marketing manager was highly focused to drive the whole concept. Concepts like marketing orientation, segmentation, the 4P’s (product, place, price and promotion) and branding emerged. The fourth era (1980 to present) focuses on the economic principle and it is highly influenced by Michael Porter who introduced the five forces model and the concept of competitive advantage. Other factors like the game theory, advances in economic strategy and globalization of marketing have highly influenced the marketing field. This paper will analyze marketing as a concept with a focus on the marketing strategy and advice current managers on how to make use of the strategy and gain a competitive advantage.
There are five marketing management orientations. The first concern is production, which aims at manufacturing more, selling in large volumes, having control over costs and producing products efficiently. Producers should ensure that the products are readily available to the consumers to meet their demands. Managers focus on the production efficiency and the product distribution. Customers are out to get products that satisfy them and therefore the product is another concern. Products that are highly differentiated in terms of size, weight, color or brand are likely to sell more than those that do not have the unique features. Companies should do a thorough market research to determine the tastes and preferences in place. The management team focuses on continuous product improvement. Selling is a concept in marketing where focus is on aggressive sales and promotion to sell whatever the organization wants to produce and bring to the market. The needs of the seller come first and determining the prices of products lies on the assumption that offering products for sale at low costs, one is likely to make the largest sales. Managers encourage their employees in the marketing department to master the hard selling techniques in order to be more persuasive during product promotion. This is important to meet their needs and wants as per the most current fashion. If firms focus on all those concepts of marketing then they will survive and thrive (Kohli, 1993).
The goal of marketing is to identify consumer needs and wants then satisfy them. Therefore, it is important to understand how these consumers behave in order to deal with them effectively. Consumer behavior refers to individual purchasing and consuming decisions of an individual (Kotler and Armstrong, 2005). Consumers can purchase goods from the market place, purchase stock or make other investment decisions. Consumer behavior is affected by different perspectives including cultural aspects, which include a set of values, perceptions, wants and behaviors learnt from society. These aspects affect consumption patterns of various products. The social perspective is composed of the consumer relation to small groups, family and social roles. Individual characteristics like consumer age, economic situation and occupation affect consumer decisions as well. The psychological perspective, which includes motivation, perception, beliefs and attitudes, also determine what a consumer purchases.
The world is full of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity where small events have a large impact on business outcomes. During this time, the business strategies are rendered useless by the rapid and unforeseen changes. Companies should therefore respond quickly to the changing environment and alter strategies in organization accordingly (Hill and Jones, 2010). Through strategies, the things that managers and organizations do are known. These actions and activities are designed to achieve purposes of the organization in which some are short term and others are long term. The purpose of the organization should be clear, provide direction and well understood. It should be summarized in a mission statement (Thompson and Martin, 2010).
The marketing strategy helps a business to achieve its marketing objectives. It shows how target markets build upon the firm’s differential advantages. The strategy should have a list of market segments on which the company will focus. The market segments are different in terms of needs and wants and so the approaches to marketing used should be different to suit them (Kotler, 2005). Businesses involve many changes with competition on the rise. Marketing strategies focus on customer needs, wants, customer behavior and competition. As these factors change, the marketing strategies should change alongside them to ensure long and short-term survival and business success. Marketing strategies are people driven they involve people inside the organization trying to deliver a special value to others by fulfilling their needs and wants as well as achieving organizational objectives (Ferrel, 2011). Segmentation, target and position are a strong foundation where marketing strategies are built. The company identifies different needs and groups in the market place, target theories it can satisfy in the most efficient way and then position its offerings to the set target.
Practical application of customer orientation as a requirement for business survival
Managers should organize seminars, workshops and conferences to emphasize the need for a competent organizational culture and its impact on quality products thus customer orientation. Information from customers can be used during the training sessions. The company should devise an organizational structure that is based on customer orientation. This provides customer guidance and transforms the organization into a social one. The company and its members focus on customer understanding and satisfaction. There is also a need for the company to emphasize on public relations, which will focus on delivering correct and exact information about the company and its products. This information should be printed on brochures, newspapers, the internet and updates made in the company’s website. Justice and professional ethics should be put into a consideration where all the “dos” and the “don’ts” are obeyed in the company operations to ensure that marketing ethics are upheld thus the right information is delivered to customers.The marketing concept forms a base to customer orientation. The economy is competitive and so customers choose where to buy depending on their preferences. In order for the company to succeed, it must provide a superior value, which is better than competitors are as far as quality is concerned, prices and customer service delivery. The market concept should therefore find the best way to meet the customers’ needs.
Real world example
Coca cola is one of the organizations that have taken both the product and market oriented. The firm understands that its success hinges on its ability to align its operations to the needs expressed by the customers. The needs of the customers cab be ascertained during the process of marketing analysis. Once the needs have been ascertained, then the next step would entail the formulation of strategies that will ensure that the firm delivers value to its customers. Coca cola also uses information on consumer behavior to realign its marketing strategies in such a way that the original vision of the firm which emphasizes on being customer oriented is met.
Managers in charge of organizations should have a proper marketing plan composed of the 5P’s. The first P represents price. Price is the cost of products and services to the customer. The business should fix the right price to win many customers because this determines the profits the business will make. Other costs of products and services from other businesses should also be considered in order to settle at a competitive price. Pricing too high can chase away customers as well as pricing too low which also may make customers think that the product is of a low quality. Another P is place. Managers should ensure that their businesses are located in ideal places to ensure convenience when customers are accessing the products or services. This convenience is brought by physical stores strategically placed for the customer or on websites that are trustworthy.
The product is another principle, which managers of businesses are supposed to consider. The product should not only be useful but it should also be communicated in real terms. The marketers should find aspects of a product that customers identify with and define benefits to the customer. The manner of communication should be easily understandable. Another P represents promotion. It does not make sense to have a good product but not promote it. The manner of promotion should resonate with the target audience of customers and focus on unique selling points for the product or service. Tools like case studies or customer testimonials can help to give people confidence in a product or service. Endorsing a well-known brand can also instill confidence in that brand.
Lastly, the fifth P represents people where customer service and the humanization aspect are very important in service delivery to people. Customers should be treated well and taken care of. The customer care people should speak politely and offer the necessary help to customers. This helps the company to gain a larger market share hence a competitive advantage. From the discussion, it is evident that the only way businesses can succeed is through marketing as this is the only way to keep a close contact between them and the customers. The management of any organization should focus on giving the customer the first priority because these are the most important stakeholders in any business. Offering quality products boosts the marketing process for these products can market themselves hence gaining consumer loyalty.With globalization and internalization of many companies, customer orientation is a common trend. Companies need to differentiate and create a closer customer contact. This closer customer relationship maintains the national population and helps to know their tastes and preferences of its customers. It will cost the company money and time to study customers’ behavior but if the company needs to maintain their standards then it has no choice. Customer orientation is one of the best ways to venture in new markets, reach new customers on developing markets, increase market shares and become a market leader in mature markets.
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