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Research evidence suggests that many SMEs lack marketing focus and expertise - Discuss what you understand marketing to mean and then discuss how acceptance of the marketing concept can aid SMEs.

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Introduction

Research evidence suggests that many SMEs lack marketing focus and expertise. Discuss what you understand marketing to mean and then discuss how acceptance of the marketing concept can aid SMEs Marketing is perceived in many different ways, there is no correct definition of what it is. The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as "the managerial process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." This definition is stating that the organisation needs to understand the requirements of the marketplace and the individual customer, and supply to their demands but at the same time producing income for growth and profit. An alternative view of what marketing is that "marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products of value with others." (Kotler and Armstrong, 1996) Kotler and Armstrong are emphasising the fact that marketing is group procedure that satisfies the needs and wants of all parties involved. The two previous definitions focus on the managerial process of marketing, which involves creating and keeping profitable customers. ...read more.

Middle

The marketing concept consists of four parts; target market, customer needs, integrated marketing and profitability. It starts with a well defined market, focuses on customer needs, integrates all the activities that will affect customers, and produces profits by satisfying customers. (Kotler, 1997) The marketing concept can aid small and medium enterprises (SMEs) greatly by following the four points above. (SMEs are businesses with fewer than 250 employees.) They create a basis for the businesses to work off and focus on. The importance of SMEs having a target market is the fact that no business can operate in every market, satisfy every need and do a good job of it especially if it is only small as resources are more limited, then the needs of the customer's should be identified specifically as not all customers in the same market segment need and want the same things. Determining the customers desires is extremely vital and the customer should be responded to by having their needs or wants fulfilled, but the crucial aspect to successful marketing is to appreciate the customers true needs and meet them better than any competitor can. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Kotler, 1997) Keeping hold of customers is more important than attracting customers and it is achieved by maintaining the customers satisfaction. Although evidence that suggests that SMEs lack marketing expertise and focus, there may be significant reasons why this is so. It may be due to a shortage of resources in comparison with larger companies, smaller companies may not have the additional resources and possibly will have to focus the fewer resources they do have on other aspects of the job. Also marketing can be expensive and finances may be limited. Conclusively, SMEs using the marketing concept are at an advantage to competitors not using it as they are recognising that customers are price less and without them the business is nothing. Therefore the company knows that customers need to be attracted and then it is necessary to work towards build up enduring relationships which is achieved by offering something that the competition doesn't, for example a personalised service in which employees recognise the customer and know details of their intentions. All departments affect the level of customer satisfaction and again this is advantageous to SMEs as they most likely have better communication between employees, as there are less of them in comparison to larger companies. ...read more.

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