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Marketing Concept in Modern Business Context

Introduction

In business today, the role of marketing cannot be underestimated. In fact, marketing is the force behind business and the role that it plays in business organization especially in the current business environment (that is characterized by unprecedented competitiveness and customers becoming more enlightened to know what exactly they want from the marketers in terms of the value delivered by the marketers in form of products that they offer), is critical. Just like the consumers and their need, marketing is a very dynamic discipline. Consequently, marketing environment, marketing principles and style keeps on changing every other day. Consumer behavior varies widely among individuals, market segments, and times. As a result, marketers have to be equally flexible if at all they will remain significant in the mind of the consumers. They must stay in touch with the current marketing trends. This paper therefore gives an insight into the marketing concept in modern business context.

Development of marketing

The development of the marketing, as it is clearly demonstrated in the principles of marketing, is indeed an affirmation of the fact that marketing has come a long way. In the first instance, marketing was purely commercial oriented involving massive production of goods and services directed to an unknown market. As competition crept in, marketers started developing aggressive marketing campaigns, mainly advertising aimed at wooing customers to buy their products at the expense of the rivals. The marketing concept which came afterwards saw marketers develop sensitivity on the needs of potential markets and hence incorporated marketing research. This was an approach that sought to clearly understand the consumer needs so as to come up with market fit (products that meets the needs of the consumers with the greatest accuracy possible).  

At this point, many would have thought that development of marketing had reached its peak. However, many other changes have occurred and continue to occur in this noble and important discipline. Among the latest development in marketing field is the shift to societal marketing and relationship marketing. Apart from designing marketing mixes to satisfy the already known market needs social and relationship marketing are also concerned on the wellness of the society in which it is the very part to. Relationship marketing is a situation were marketers design marketing program aimed at establishing a close one on one relationship with customers in such a way that there is a valuable two way communication between the customer and the organization which contrasts prior marketing approaches where such a relationship ended upon the closure of the sale i.e. an adversarial kind of a relationship. With relationship marketing, marketers use the two way communication channel to reach for consumer feed back on the level of satisfaction and experiences with the product. It enables organizations to enhance close touch with their customers, offer high quality products, acquire cheap source of market intelligence and probably maintain a stable customer base (shielded from the competitors). Presently the marketing trends have since shifted to the cooperate social responsibility championed by increasing need for ethics in business and marketing as consumers have realized the role that marketers and business people needs to play not only in building of the society that they exist in but also in the conservation of the natural environment.  

The Marketing Concept

Ideally, marketing is management functions in which the organizations seeks to ascertain the needs and wants of the market and then respond by production of a marketing mix that meets the market need ascertained therein. As such, it involves activities such as carrying out of market research, gathering market intelligence, product development, branding, packaging, pricing distribution, and promotion of the organizational product. The latter asserts that marketing is concerned with the development and implementation of market targeting strategies, competitive strategies, attaining competitive advantage over others in the market, social responsibility and ethics as well as the strategies geared towards the development of a market fit i.e. products that are responsive to the market demands/ needs. Marketing management therefore involves all the activities that are involved in the management of the marketing mix typically referred to as 4ps (product pricing production and management of the marketing systems distribution of the products to the various markets).

The marketing Mix: The 4Ps

Despite the fact that the growth in sophistication, complexity, and competitiveness of the marketing environment today has forced marketers to think beyond the 4ps of the marketing mix (product, price, promotion and place the latter which refers to the management of the marketing systems for product distribution to the various markets), the 4Ps of the marketing mix forms the pedestal of the marketing concept. Consequently, they form a strong basis in which marketing strategies are designed and developed as well as directing their implementation to achieve the organizational marketing objectives and the overall organizational objectives. As a matter of facts, the success of a company marketing management functions solely depend on their efficiency and effectiveness in the organization of the marketing mix variable, the latter of which guides successful formulation of marketing strategy. As a result, the 4ps forms the core of the organizational marketing planning, that is, they provide the framework in which market plans in organization are formulated and implemented to achieve the business objectives.

The product

The business of being in business is to satisfy the market needs. As a result, the sole objective of the marketer or organization is to offer products (either goods services or ideas) to the market.  A marketer therefore must ensure that the products that he offers give forth the highest value to the consumers while meeting their need in the best way possible. The product therefore must represent a market fit. As such, the product variable in the marketing mix steers the product strategy with the aim of coming up with a product that matches the market needs, delivers highest value to the consumer for optimal satisfaction of the latter. Ideally, organizations have often used product mix strategy as a competitive strategy. The basic elements of the product mix strategy includes product quality and quantity, product development, product differentiation or standardization, branding, blending, packaging among others; all of which can be varied to achieve predetermined marketing objectives in different market situations.

Pricing

Pricing is also a basic marketing function and central to the marketing mix in which marketers determine the amounts in which to charge for specific products and at times for specific markets in situations of prices discrimination. Price therefore refers to the market value of specific units of the products that marketers offer and it is inevitable in marketing. The prices of products are determined by diverse factors which include but not limited to the marketing objectives, pricing objective, law of demand and supply, cost of production, expected profit margins, the stage of market development among others. It is such factors therefore which guides the pricing strategy of a marketer.  Marketers can therefore price their products for market penetration using very low prices of even break evening, to skim the market with exceptionally high prices, to build brand name and business reputation, or differentiated pricing to acquire competitive edge over rivals.

Promotion  

Although promotion is not a basic marketing function, it is critical in facilitation of marketing and determination of marketing success. The role of promotion in marketing ranges from creation of basic consumer awareness of the product and business location, building of brands, increasing product demand, consumers  appreciation, building interpersonal relations between the business and the  parties that it interacts with, enhancing brand loyalty to product positioning in a competitive market for competitive advantages. Promotion as in marketing is therefore a diverse and complex phenomenon with a wide range of critical function all geared towards the facilitation of successful achievement of marketing objective. Activities and strategy in promotion includes, advertising, direct marketing, consumer promotion, market fairs showrooms and exhibitions, public relations among others.

Place/Marketing systems

Place is the final variable of the 4ps in the marketing mix that refers to the organization of the marketing systems for the effective and efficient distribution of the products to the various target markets. Logically, right products must be duly made available to the right customers at the right time and required quantities, if they are to satisfy the customers need fully. If a marketer fails in the above therefore, the whole marketing strategy would have flopped, which means the marketing objectives will not be achieved either. This necessitates ideal market targeting the latter of which must precede designing and subsequent use of formulated marketing systems to distribute the product to respective markets. The nature of the market, the product, price, and the overall supply chain objectives are the key determinant of the marketing systems strategy adopted by a marketer.   

Marketing research

In marketing environment in present days, marketing research has been greatly necessitated. This is due to the fact that in order for the marketers to effectively meet the market need and produce a market fit, the specific needs and wants of the consumers must be well ascertained prior to product development and pricing, promotion, and distribution. Gathering market intelligence also plays an important role in the development of strategic competitive plans for the organization. Presently, market research and gathering of market intelligence has been greatly simplified by the development in marketing information system backed by unmatched transition in information communication technology.

In conclusion therefore, despite the fact that marketing is diverse and dynamic, it is built mainly on the tenets of the 4ps of the marketing mix (product, price, promotion and place/ distribution). The fundamental marketing function therefore is to identify the market needs via marketing research and develop products and services that meet those specific needs.

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