Marketing is the art of deliberately stimulating consumer demand for products and services; possibly including precise selection of an ideal target audience; selection of specific features or themes; presentation or association with certain natural or man-made factors that affect consumer response. Marketing is not only the most important part of sales, but also the most misunderstood. Many people confuse marketing with advertising. Advertising merely describes the way in which goods and services are advertised or presented to the public. Marketing on the other hand, involves the development of product or service descriptions, catalogues or advertisements, and their distribution. It also involves public relations activities, research and evaluation, and price or cost analysis.
Marketing includes the study of buying habits and the purchasing decisions of consumers. The importance of marketing research and marketing activities can not be over-emphasized. The marketing research process is predicated upon the understanding of market conditions and tastes, particularly when there is a transition from the existing to the new market sector. Market research is conducted by studying customer segments and studying their buying behavior and tendencies, which in turn would help marketers to know what they should be selling or promoting.
The Marketing concept has three aspects – production, selling, and marketing. Production is the first aspect that involves creating and using products and services. Selling refers to the procedures and processes involved in the procurement of customers, and eventually their buying. Marketing deals with these aspects of production and selling. Marketing plays an important role in the selection of the right product, in the creation of attractive packages, and in the awareness of the prospective consumers about various goods and services.
As per the International Organization for Marketing Management (OIM), five marketing concepts are crucial for the achievement of marketing objectives. These are targeted at the goals of growth of revenue and market share. These include demand analysis, identification and determination of sources of supply, demand forecasting, establishment of the competitive environment, and marketing strategies. Market research also forms an integral part of the OIM concept. It studies the social behavior of consumers and the marketplace and then combines this information with statistical and modeling techniques.
Marketing myopia generally occurs when marketers concentrate on only the selling aspects of their products. This means that the production process is neglected. This concept can be countered by ensuring that marketers take adequate measures to develop and produce quality products. The importance of social marketing campaign cannot be ignored.
In recent times, social marketing strategies have become highly popular due to the development of online marketing. Social marketing involves marketing products and services to a large audience over the internet. This ensures that marketers reach out to a larger segment of consumers that will ultimately increase sales and profits. The concept of competition between markets helps marketers differentiate themselves from the competition.
Another important concept is the value of branding. Branding is the critical element of any OIM campaign as it helps consumers distinguish one seller’s product from others. In fact, some studies indicate that only 10% of consumers have a good understanding of the value of brands. Hence, marketers need to enhance brand awareness among consumers in order to reap maximum benefits.
Finally, it is imperative for marketing management to be aware of the changes in consumer preferences. For instance, during recessionary times, people tend to buy goods that offer them low-cost inputs while during good economic times, they tend to buy products that offer them long-term benefits. Marketing research should therefore include a strategy to study consumer buying trends so that campaigns are designed according to the changing consumer preferences.