Marketing is a mix of all activities which affect the alterations to possession of products or items. Many experts have defined marketing in different terms. Some believe that marketing is a complete system of relating business actions in order to plan, fix a price, promote or advertise the product or service and distribute it efficiently and effectively to the consumers or potential customers of the product or service. Yet other experts give a broader definition of marketing by stating that marketing is the function which creates and delivers the living standard to a community. Other experts have contributed their own idea by defining marketing as an art through which value of consumer goods or service is provided to the customers. Some refer marketing to just an art of selling products to the customers however, it is widely believed that selling a product is just a subpart of the complete process called marketing. To elaborate further, it can be said that marketing is a function which an organization undertakes to create, deliver and communicate not just the product but also value to the consumers. This process is all done to gain customer base, retain customers which in turn will benefit the shareholders of the business and the organization itself. Marketing is basically a consumer biased conception and is utilized to satisfy at hand and possible customers in order to meet the objectives of an organization.
In today’s world, no business organization, be it a multinational business group or not for profit organization, can manage to sustain without effective marketing. Along with other business functions of an organization e.g. financial, accounting, operational etc, the economic triumph of an organization is largely dependent on function of marketing. The contribution of marketing to the success of a business organization cannot be undermined. A company which develops an excellent product with state of the art features, outstanding quality and best packing but does not spread awareness of the products to its potential customers is always at a loss. As no one would know about the product, no one would buy it and therefore the company would be deprived of the sale and hence the profit which it aspires to make. That’s where marketing process comes in. It can therefore be deduced that the primary function of marketing process is to develop awareness of the products and services among the potential consumers and sustain customers through offering of value added services. With the help of the process of marketing, the consumers become more knowledgeable about the merchandise or service presented by the corporate organization and the organization in turn gets to increase sale and make surplus.
Due to the intense competition in the market, a product or a service is offered to the consumers by multiple businesses. On what grounds do the product or service provided by one organization is different from the one provided by other organization, what are the qualities of the product or service that make it superior to those being offered by other businesses and why should customer buy the product from one business organization and not from the other are the kinds of goals which can be achieved by marketing intelligently. Intelligent marketing process therefore, enables a business organization to make new customers, retain customers, capture maximum share of the market and enhance the trust of brand name. Due to such profound effects of marketing on business organizations, most of the firms have created a post for a marketing officer equal in rank to chief financial officer or chief maintenance officer. The growth of an organization, retention of market share and retention of customers are the biggest challenges faced by an organization all of which are affected by how the organization carries its strategy regarding marketing.
The external factors which affect the marketing strategy of an organization are numerous. Firstly, the demographic of the market greatly influence the marketing strategy of an organization. The business can monitor the buying habits of the customers and modify the plan according to the changing demographics. Secondly, competitors operating in the target market are another factor which influences the marketing plan. The business needs to monitor the operating principles of the competitors and determine the basis on which they are competition. A thorough study of this is required to formulate an effective marketing plan. Thirdly, the suppliers and distributors in the operating area are also a big influence on the marketing plan of an organization. Too few suppliers mean inconsistent behavior and problems for businesses. Fourthly, government rules and regulations which are implement for the safety and protection of the customers may vary from place to place. Therefore a different marketing strategy is required for every place the government has implemented a new regulation. Fifthly, the health of economy of the region also has profound effect on the marketing strategy of an organization. With the rise in inflation and unemployment, customers tend to spend only on necessities, thus requiring a modified marketing plan with attractive prices and value for the customers. Lastly, technology and media affect the way organizations practice their marketing strategy. The ever changing technology being introduced in the communities changes the buying patterns of the customers profoundly. Similarly, effective utilization of media can change the perception of a consumer regarding how an organization operates. Therefore careful planning and execution of marketing process is required to gain benefit from intrusion of technology and media into the daily lives of the customers.
It has been a general perception in the not for profit organizations that spending on marketing is a waste of time and resources. However, most of the studies have shown it to be otherwise. In the event of not for profit organization opting to go for marketing, they are making people aware of their cause and manifesto. Similar to for profit organizations who tell the customers about hazards of not providing dairy food to their children and in consequence end up selling their dairy products, the not for profit organizations can also advertise their cause e.g charity for disabled in an effective manner to gain sympathies of the society and raise funds for the cause. However, by just advertising the cause on media is not enough to gain attention of the community. An effective marketing strategy would hire services of established and reliable news sources in order to convince the community of their legitimacy and sincerity. Marketing process actually gets the organization’s image; be it profit or non profit, into people’s minds. Ample amount of information is required to be advertised by the organization to make a positive impact in the minds of the customers. This does not mean that not for profit organizations start spending more than they can afford, it only means that they must devise a marketing strategy to find out the cheapest and most effective ways to advertise and get their message across the community as efficiently as possible.
As already explained, marketing is a process to create, deliver and communicate not just the product but also value to the consumers. All these and many more activities e.g advertising, branding, and pricing are undertaken in marketing process however, there are few critical elements which play a vital role in the success of marketing process. They are research, strategy, planning and tactics. In order to launch a business into a new market, research has to be done to evaluate the needs to customers, their preferences and the opportunities in the region. Similarly, research has also to be done to in order to find out the how the organization could convey it message to the customers in most effective manner. This may entail the use to correct medium and positioning to hit the required market segment. Having acquired all the data regarding the market position and strengths and weaknesses of the organization, the next step in the marketing process is to chalk out an effective strategy. This action plan will depict the vision, mission and objectives of the organization and how it wants to operate in the market. The next crucial element of marketing process is the planning part in which the marketing planning is done by the organization in order to achieve the laid down objectives of the company. This includes but is not restricted to financial, sales and production planning. After completing the phase of planning, the organization involves itself in the area of implementing tactics which are small action plans to achieve long-term goals of the company. Reduction in prices of the products for a limited time duration is considered a promotional tactic.
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