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What is Marketing?

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1. What is Marketing? The term 'marketing' is frequently used within business and impacts on our lives on a daily basis often without our even being aware of it. But ask most people what is meant by the term 'marketing' and you will get many different answers, including advertising, selling and research. All of these are correct but not as an individual definition, marketing is far more extensive than this. The diagram below gives an indication of just some of the elements associated with marketing. Whilst the diagram shows some of the elements involved in marketing it does not adequately define the term. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing thus, "Marketing is the management of the process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." Perhaps one of the widest definitions is offered by Kotler: "Marketing is human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes." This would suggest that marketing is a process that can be followed and if adhered to, with the needs of the customer always at the forefront, will hopefully generate success for the business involved. Fundamentally marketing is concerned with satisfying the needs of the customer. It is any activity a business undertakes in an attempt to satisfy its customer(s). A satisfied customer will have a significant impact on a businesses profitability as not only are they likely to use the business again but may well recommend it to their family and friends alike thus continuing the cycle. Marketing is not isolated to profit making organisations. Charities will often market themselves in an attempt to receive donations from the public, and government organisations may market themselves to their potential labour force to attract suitable people to then provide services to the general public. 2. Marketing Orientation To be successful, marketing within a company should not be solely a process, it should be a philosophy. ...read more.


3.1 Product The product is the object offered to the customer and can either be tangible such as a computer or intangible (a service) such as education. In some cases both may be offered such as car sales offer the tangible (the car) and the intangible (financing or free servicing). Demand for products will be constantly changing therefore businesses and services need to be planning for this change in market demand. Within Local Government the product is the services provided. At all times the local authority needs to ensure that its services are meeting the needs of its residents. Derbyshire County Council undertook a MORI opinion poll to ask residents what they thought of existing services, what services they considered unnecessary and what services they would like to see in the future. This information was then used to plan aims and objectives and help develop a business case for additional/alternative funding from Central Government. Local authorities need to consider the needs of all their service users and these can vary greatly from rural to urban residents, early years to elderly services and residential to business customers. 3.2 Price Pricing is key to all organisations whether profit making or not. The price charged for a product or service is likely to involve a number of factors, including ensuring that production/service costs are covered and, in the case of most businesses, that a profit is made. An objective of local government is to offer 'best value' and most local authority services have been subject to service reviews to ensure this is the case. Many local authorities undertake research, often in the form of household questionnaires, to ascertain customer satisfaction with services and their willingness to pay. This is particularly prevalent when local authorities set their council tax charges. West Sussex County Council, faced with a reduced settlement from Central Government and having to make cuts, recently surveyed all its residents asking what level of services they are prepared to fund, offering a wide variety of options. ...read more.


This is known as segmentation. If these segments are effectively identified then marketing mixes can be developed to target the needs of the segment. This is known as target marketing. This segmentation may benefit the business in various ways including: * They are in a better position to identify and compare marketing opportunities * They can use knowledge of the differences in responses between the various segments to allocate resources * They can adjust both product/service and marketing tactics to the different segments All these can lead to an increased profitability of a business/service. 6. Planning Effective planning improves the chances of success for an organisation. Marketing planning should be a continuous process and should endeavour to be flexible, reactive and opportunistic. Above all else the plan should be long-term, and often outlive the life-expectancy of the existing product. The benefits of an effective strategic plan include * Identification of new market developments and opportunities * Being prepared for changes * Minimisation of non-rational responses to the unexpected * Coordination of activities * Better communication * Reduction in conflicts * Achieving corporate objectives The marketing plan/strategy needs to remain live and ever evolving to meet the demands of the dynamic marketplace. Appendix One shows the marketing plan for the Sussex Safety Camera Partnership and details its aims and how by using marketing it hopes to achieve these aims. 7. Conclusion Marketing is essential in today's business environment. Companies and organisations are facing increased competition and, if customers are dissatisfied they will simply seek satisfaction from competitors. Within the public service sector dissatisfied customers can ultimately change the face of local politics or services by showing their dissatisfaction through local and national elections But marketing is more than a process it is a philosophy. The business that puts the customer at the heart of its activities will achieve its objectives. Research may be expensive but businesses need to understand their customers. The business that best satisfies customers will remain profitable and generate customer loyalty. Marketing is a strategic process and if the business is to be market orientated then effective planning is essential. 8. ...read more.

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