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From the past decades to the new 21st century, the global economy had grown vastly over the years and the organisations had come to a realization of the importance of customer demands and the need for marketing. For most of the companies, their main objective was to make a certain amount of profit. Profit can be earned by satisfying the customers’ need through the use of marketing philosophies. Hence, customer value is an essential component for marketers to examine through the process of producing a product/outcome. In order to understand marketing and consumer demand, we will have to first elaborate the concept of what is marketing and look at the customer values. And the remaining essay would elucidate the relationship between the two.
No matter in what type of industries or how large were the organisations, the company would have a certain amount of skill in marketing. So, what is marketing? Most of the people may picture a salesman straight away as they believe marketing were equivalent to the word ‘selling’. However, selling was only one of the several functions of marketing.
“Marketing is the activity, set of institution, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (AMA, 2013)
The first part of the definition, ‘activity, set of institution, and processes’ recognizes the broad scope of marketing. It indicates the roles/functions that need to be performed by marketers such as perform market researches and choosing target markets. The second part of the definition is ‘creating, communicating, delivering’. This suggests that marketing is to get the right goods and services to the right people at the right place at the right time at the right price (Elliott, Greg, Thiele & Waller, 2012, ). This part of the definition included the creation and the delivery process of marketing. The third part of the definition ‘exchanging offerings that have value’ includes the process satisfying customers’ needs and wants through exchange – which is one of the ways for individuals to get what they desired by offering certain things that the other party desired. For instance, money or other products. The last part of the definition ‘customers, clients, partners, and society at large’ outlines the beneficiaries of the process of marketing. The benefits were not only received by the organisations and the consumers, the suppliers and the society can also gain benefits from marketing. The society can be benefited from marketing as marketing creates employments and society welfares and wealth as more people are spending and thus indirectly speeds up the GDP.
Marketers have to perform functions such as identify the need, development of the product, pricing, distributing and promoting the product. Their main aim is to make selling superfluous. (Kotler & Philip, 1983, p. 4)
Apart from the definition, marketing can also be examined from the five philosophies of marketing. The production philosophy assumes the consumer would favor in the product and the main aim is to improve the efficiency of both production and distribution. The product philosophy looks at the quality of the product while assuming the consumers would favor the product. The selling philosophy involves organisations stimulate customer’s interests. The marketing philosophy questions the organisation, whether they did satisfy the customer’s needs efficiently and effectively or not compared with their competitors. And lastly, the societal marketing philosophy considers whether the organisation enhanced the consumer’s and the society’s well-being based on the marketing philosophy.
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For a product such as the Membership to Zoos Victoria, the marketers would have done market researches and targeted the membership to families and children as they had packaged a lot of benefits for children or family. For instance, there are 15% discounts from the stores in the zoo. Membership to Zoos Victoria also creates and deliver the good at the right time and right place, the product can be brought from online or at the zoo and even if the consumers purchased the membership after the visit to the zoo, they could get refunds for the ticket money. As mentioned in the previous, the zoo’s main target is family and children, as the kids can satisfy themselves while they visit the animals, the exchange was proceeded as the consumers, parents/families does gain happiness within the tour.
Before we discuss about the customer value, I believe it is essential for us to understand ‘value’. Value is the “worth, desirability or utility” (Grönroos, C., 1997). On the other hand, customer Value is “the difference between the benefits a customer sees from a market offering and the costs of obtaining those benefits” (Quester, P., 2007). By all means, in order to make customers receive the benefits, they would have to ‘give up’ certain things for the exchange of the product. In decree to get better acknowledged about the customer value, we can apply the diagram beneath.
Functional/instrumental value is concerned with the product’s usability; the product’s unique characteristics and its desired function. This value is basically generated by the purchase and use of the product. Under the functional value, there are three main areas – the correct attributes, appropriate performances and outcome. The correct attributes concerns with the characteristics a product has as consumers would prefer to buy a product that has the most suitable characteristics that they desired. Appropriate performances look at the quality of the product. So, the customer would be satisfied if the product is able to perform as well as it was appeared in its description. Lastly, the appropriate outcome considers whether the product reaches the outcomes that the consumer demanded. The experiential/hedonic value looks at the product’s ability in creating experiences, feelings and emotions of its users. For this value, there are four parts to it – sensory, emotional, social/relational and epistemic. Some retailers focus on sensory value (such as aesthetes, ambulance, aromas, feel/tone) (Smith & Mark, C., 2007). The third beneficial value is the symbolic/expressive value. This value is concerned with the extent to which the product gave its user a certain degree of self-worth or self-value. It is also a value that connects with personal meanings of the product to particular consumers. The social meanings of how the others think about you and conditional meanings such as Valentine’s rose or the dumplings that we have for Chinese New Year Festival. In order to have the benefits, customers also has cost/sacrifice values. This can be economic losses, risks associated with the product, personal investments and psychological losses. So, by knowing the customer’s concerns or hold back in the process of purchasing a product, the marketers would look at the costs and tries to minimize the costs so products can be sold more efficiently. For the Victoria zoos, its product: the membership of zoos Victoria has complied with the four values. The product does provide services/tours for its members and it has appropriate performance and outcomes (functional values). Furthermore, the membership also blends in with emotional, relational and epistemic values as the members can both enjoy the tour and learn knowledge about the zoo animals at the same time. It also helps to enhance the relationships between the consumers (families). It gave its consumers the experience to have a close interactions with the animals. The membership contains symbolic values as it carries out personal and social meanings. On the membership website, the campaign was focused on children or family relationship and it also mentioned about the fees for membership would be used for saving extinction animals. This would make the consumers of the zoo appears to be morally respectful to the society as they are indirectly helping/saving animals.
Marketing and customer value has a close relationship. Customers are the core of marketing as the consumers would only buy products that they strongly desired. Thus, in order for the company to be successful, organisations would have to be customer orientated. Before organisations produce their product, a certain amount of market research would be made and these researches would have focused on the consumer needs. As more and more businesses had opened locally and globally, each organisation faces with a greater extent of competitions, no matter in quality, price or service. This growing fierce competition had led organisations to put strong emphasis on customer value and their needs. Therefore, when companies creating their product, they would put consumer’s values into the consideration so their product can outweigh the competitors’ products. The same concept was also adopted by the Victoria zoo, in their product, the membership to zoos Victoria. Consumers are able to receive benefits from the exchange process as their values being fulfilled by the product. For instance, members can visit new exhibits prior to the non-members, customers and there are 15% discounts for any purchase at the zoo stores. The consumer can also receive benefits such as the freedom to visit all the zoos in Victoria and there are special name cards for individual kids. These characteristics would satisfy most of the customers as they would feel being welcomed and well considered by the zoo. The zoo’s welcome letter also addresses themselves as a family, which would made consumers to felt being a part of a family. Overall, the membership of zoo Victoria is a successful product as its advertisement campaign was very well presented, there are considerations for the customer values and it adopts the marketing philosophies well through the product.
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For the purposes of gaining more consumers, the organisations must have a strong understanding in marketing, both as its definition and its five philosophies and in the concept of customer value. When marketing and customer values are being understood by companies, the organisation, customers and the society can all gain benefits from it as businesses can earn more profit, customers can enjoy their life by using the product and the society can gain benefits through the interactions between the two parties.
America Marketing Association – AMA. (2013) Definition of Marketing. Retrieved from https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx
Elliott, Greg, Sharyn Thiele, and David Waller. Marketing. 2nd Ed. (pp. ) Milton, Qld.: John Wiley and Sons Australia, 2012
Kotler, Philip. “Marketing and Human Needs.” Marketing in Australia. (pp. 4) New York: Prentice-Hall, 1983
Grönroos, C. (1997), “Value-Driven Relationship Marketing: From Products to Resources and Competencies,” Journal of Marketing Management, 13 (5), 407–419.
J. Brock, S., & Mark, C. (2007) Customer value creation: a practical framework. Associate Professor of Service Management, Faculty of Business, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Quester, Pascale G.. “Chapter One.” Marketing: creating and delivering value. 5th Ed. (pp. ) North Ryde, N.S.W.: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd., 2007.
Smith and Colgate. (2007) Customer value creation: a practical framework, Journal of Marketing Theories and Practices. Vol 15, No. 1, pp 7-23
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