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Discuss the concept of marketing within the context of the public/government sector

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1.Introduction: The aim of this paper is to discuss the concept of marketing within the context of the public/government sector. Also, issues of relevance, benefits, constraints and implementation, including literature based or organisation specific adaptations or models, trends and current practises have been included. The paper begins with the discussion of traditional marketing mix that is what marketing is and the 4Ps of marketing. It suggests that the simplicity of this marketing mix paradigm has become a taken for granted path rather than considering it a social exchange process and hence customers suffer. It discusses broadening the concept of marketing and new approach to marketing, which emphasises on social and relationship marketing. Then, the government/public sector has been introduced and it proceeds with whether traditional marketing principles can be applied to the marketing of organisations in this sector. It concentrates on issues of relevance-how marketing mix fits to it, what are the benefits and constraints. 1.1 The Marketing Concept and the Marketing Mix: Before proceeding further, it is essential to define what marketing is: Kotler (1991) defines marketing as "a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they want and need through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value with others." Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer's requirements profitably. However, there exist numerous definitions of marketing, it is always about "meeting existing needs and anticipating future needs" (Bagozzi, 1975). The marketing concept is a kind of recipe how a company can achieve its goals by understanding the exchange partners and associated costs, being a response to external opportunities and threats and to internal strengths and weaknesses as a means of competitive advantage (Houston, 1986). Bagozzi (1975) underpins this viewpoint, arguing that marketing is much about the exchange paradigm which focuses on the question why parties take part in exchanges and how these work. ...read more.


2.3 Market orientation in government and public sector: According to the marketing theory the first step of the market segmentation of a service is to define of the user of this service. This so-called "STP marketing" (Kotler, 1990), should be considered as the all-important aspect in designing an appropriate marketing strategy for non-profit organisations as well as profit-orientated ones. How does the public sector identify market segment, select and gain information about target markets? Concept of behavioural segmentation comes into the picture here while deciding the customer and the target segment. Behavioural segmentation can group customers in terms of occasions, usage, loyalty and benefits sought. However, usage and benefits are the main concerns in public sector marketing as the public sector market is normally divided between user and non-user and how to deliver the benefits to the overall public. The concept segmentation can be irrelevant. This is true because if government does not segment the market carefully it could lead to the problem of discrimination. Due to political issues, policies, procedures and hence restricted amount of resources, the organisations in this sector are often not able to serve all possible customer segments with respect to greatest customer value (Kelley and Mahady, 2003) and still they cannot ignore any particular segment. NHS has to provide its services to all the segments of the market rather to say "society of citizens" here. NHS cannot neglect any particular class of the society for providing services. Contradicting this, profit-orientated organisations can more easily ignore unresponsive, unprofitable or unappealing segments of the market. Here the market orientation enables the public service to get closer to the user by serving the social need of the citizen. It serves also in a larger extend the expectation of the voter. After defining the segment and the targets, the public sector is able to influence and exploit it with the marketing mix. 2.4 Marketing Mix in government and public sector: Product: The product strategy is one of the four tools of the marketing mix and enables to make the exchange more valuable. ...read more.


Government and public sector organisations typically have not integrated their marketing activities. Also, their administration includes a variety of marketing positions, which becomes the cause for poor coordination. These types of organisations are more casual about collecting information on how they are doing and what is happening in the market place (Kotler and Levy, 1969). 4.Conclusion: From the details presented above, it is very clear that the concept of marketing has been broadened from product oriented to customer oriented. It might be agreed that the marketing concept is transferable from commercial sector to the public sector in its present form. The ease with which marketing can be transferred is dependent upon the nature of the exchange process. It is almost unarguable that no organisation can avoid marketing. The choice for government and public sector organisations is not whether to market or not but the choice is whether to do it well or poorly. Numerous authors such as Kotler and Levy (1969) and Shapiro (1988), to name a few, put forward the need of tailored marketing strategies, supporting the corporate strategies and argued that an open-minded use of the marketing tools and techniques and strategies are a lever for superior performance (Levitt, 1960; Becker, 1993). In private sector, exchange takes place whenever a transaction in made in between cash and products. But, in the public sector the exchange is not always the same thing. In the case of a free or low price service, the government and public sector do not attempt to gain advantage at the expense of the customer. Marketing is a tool for the modernisation of the sector and the society. By identifying the lack of profit motivation and social objectives of the public sector marketing has a direct impact on the social change. Therefore marketing in its quest of improving relation between public sector and society, and improve its image is become relevant. But the relevance of the issue has limits. Marketing implementation has to follow the political decision because of the political nature of the public service. ...read more.

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