What is Marketing?
‘Marketing is about identifying and meeting human and social needs at a profit. One of the shortest definitions of marketing is that it is the process of ‘meeting customer needs profitably’.’
(Kotler et al. 2016: 6)
The Marketing Process
As mentioned above, marketing is a process. And a very simple way to describe this process is to separate it into two parts: creating value for the consumers while simultaneously building a relationship with them and capturing value in return.
The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix also called 4Ps in reference to the 4 elements that compose it: the product, the price, the place and the promotion, is the combination of these 4 factors in order to promote a brand or a product. These are all equally important, if one of the four is wrong the marketing plan collapses and it is necessary to review the plan to see what went wrong.
The product must imperatively meet the expectations of the customer and satisfy his needs / wants. You must be sure you have the right product for your target audience, it is therefore advisable to do a market research as well as analyse the life cycle of your product.
The price is a rather difficult part since you have to find the right balance. You have to make a profit and at least fill the production costs but a too high price can make customers run away. The price must not exceed the benefits that customers will receive from the product, which is why it is important not to make mistakes in terms of product or audience.
The place is where you will distribute your product. It is important that it is easily accessible to your target audience. It therefore returns to the importance of choosing the right target and understanding how it works.
Figure 1 SWOT analysis (Nulab 2019)
Promotion is a key element. Making the brand or product known to the target audience is essential. This requires a good promotional strategy. The promotional mix includes the main aspects to look at when developing a promotional strategy, which are: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion and public relations.
When an organisation seeks to expand internationally or simply diversify its target audience, it may encounter some cultural differences. These differences can be: religion, language, symbols, values, etc. They must be taken into account when implementing the marketing plan.
Doing a SWOT analysis can be very useful. As its name suggests, it defines: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are your attributes from an internal point of view while opportunities and threats are the attributes of the environment and therefore the external factors.
Strengths and opportunities favour the success of the analysed project and, conversely, weaknesses and threats could prevent it from succeeding. The SWOT analysis is a relevant tool useful for the strategic diagnostic of a project. It uses for the launch of a new product or just to compare the company to others.
The Market Research
When an organization conducts market research, it seeks to define what products or services it will be able to market. The purpose of market research is also to determine the target audience for its products or services.
The principle of a market research study is to set the objectives that the study must achieve, then establish a research plan, implement it and ultimately analyse the data collected.
There are two types of data collected during a market research study: primary and secondary data. Primary data are collected specifically for a project and are therefore much more accurate but they require more time and money to be obtained while secondary data are remaining data from other projects so they are easy and inexpensive to obtain but not precisely collected for the project in question they may be irrelevant or obsolete.
Figure 2 Product life cycle (Susmita 2018)
There also are two main types of marketing research: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research collects information about motivations, reasons and attitudes of respondents. It often calls small groups (maximum 30 persons). Results are more difficult to analyse. The second type is quantitative. They include, for example, questionnaire on FB, phones, e-mail and so on. The number of respondents is big and it gives statistics result, easy to collect.
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What is the Product Life Cycle?
The product life cycle basically shows the sales of a product over time. This graph is important because depending on the phase in which the product is located, the company can adjust different elements of the marketing mix and thus try to keep the product alive as long as possible while maximising profits or abandon it if it is no longer profitable. Let’s talk about the maturity stage which is the most important for a company. Indeed, we can take the example of COKE (the most famous one). It’s been about 120 years that there are in the maturity stage. It’s the most profitable stage while the costs of producing and marketing decline. So, you can invest on new products.
The Marketing Strategy
The STP model is one of the most famous tools used by all marketers and companies. It means Segmentation – Targeting – Positioning. This model is very useful in developing the marketing plan. Thus, marketers can personalise their communication and prioritise a range of product or services with different audiences. Segmentation is used to group customers in different categories (more or less homogeneous) in comparison with their interest in the company products. For example, the gender, the age, the incomes, etc. The segmentation is necessary because a company cannot speak to everyone. When your segmentation is done, you have to define your target. This requires to work out the purchase method. Once the two criteria are met, the positioning comes! The company must be known by the people who make up those segments. This requires to position on the market as, for example, leader, challenger, follower, etc.
- Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., and Opresnik, M.O. (2017) Marketing: An Introduction. 13 edn. Boston: Pearson
- Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S. (2013) Essentials of Marketing. 3rd edn. Harlow: Pearson Education
- Kotler, P., Keller, K.L., Brady, M., Goodman, M., and Hansen, T. (2016) Marketing Management. 3rd edn. Harlow: Pearson
- Marcouse, I., Hammond, A., and Watson, N. (2015) Business for A-Level. London: Hodder Education
- Figure 1. Susmita B. (2018) Product Life Cycle Overview [online] available from <http://knowledge.panxpan.com/articles/product-life-cycle-overview> [10 October 2019]
- Figure 2. Nulab (2019) Blank SWOT Analysis Diagram [online] available from <https://cacoo.com/templates/blank-swot-analysis-diagram> [10 October 2019]
What is the Marketing Environment?
The marketing environment consists of the internal and external factors that will influence an organisation’s marketing activities.
The internal environment is composed of factors that are internal to the organisation and that are manageable by it. These factors are: employees, finance, functions, responsibility, etc.
The external environment is separated into two parts: the micro-environment and the macro-environment.
The micro-environment includes external factors that directly impact the business, such as competitors, customers, suppliers, intermediaries, public, etc.
The macro-environment includes the broader external factors that will affect the micro-environment. They can be divided into 6 components: legal, politics, technology, economics, culture, society.
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