What is Marketing?

I thought I would write a blog post to help my students understand the concept of Marketing. It is a word often used, over used in fact, but when it comes to revising the topic for examinations something that has some basic elements that students need to remember.

What makes someone buy a product? Or more importantly, what makes them buy the product you are trying to sell? In business, you need to persuade a customer to part with money in exchange for a good or a service. You have decide on what the product is going to be like (e.g. shape, colour, size, features); at what price are you going to sell it; where you are going to sell it (e.g. in a shop, over the Internet, by mail order); and how you going to help the customer find out about the product (e.g. advertise in the local newspaper or on the radio). Marketing is all of these things.

A market is a group of consumers, who could be individuals, businesses or governments who might buy this type of product – for example, the market for running shoes or the market for fresh flowers.

And marketing is often defined as:

“The process of identifying, anticipating (predicting) and satisfying customer needs profitably”

What does it mean?

Identifying – finding out by using marketing research about current products, the possibility of new products, and about current markets and possible new markets.

Anticipating (predicting) – analysing the data collected and using the managers’ skills to judge what might happen in these markets and how the products might be suited or changed, adapted or updated.

Satisfying customer needs – making sure the person, business or government is happy with what they are buying, will not complain and will be happy to buy again if appropriate.

Profitably – adding value to the product so when sold, the price of the product is greater than cost of the inputs.

All of these marketing activities take place in a market.

Confused? Don’t be, it’s actually quite simple and many of the things businesses do every day comes under this big marketing umbrella.

Marketing is perhaps the most important activity in a business because it has a direct effect on profitability and sales. Larger businesses will dedicate specific staff and departments for the purpose of marketing.

It is important to realise that marketing cannot be carried out in isolation from the rest of the business. For example:

The marketing section of a business needs to work closely with operations, research and development, finance and human resources to check their plans are possible.

Operations will need to use sales forecasts produced by the marketing department to plan their production schedules.

Sales forecasts will also be an important part of the budgets produced by the finance department, as well as the deployment of labour for the human resources department.

A research and development department will need to work very closely with the marketing department to understand the needs of the customers and to test outputs of the R&D section.

This is a good place to start, but of course if you are revising for exams you need to look further into the topic and the areas that are relevant to the syllabus you are studying. Understanding what marketing is though well help these fall into place. 

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