Marketing is an activity. Marketing activities and strategies result in making products available that satisfy customers while making profits for the companies that offer those products. Your morning tea, your newspaper, your breakfast, the dress you put on for the day, the vehicle you drive, the mobile in your pocket, the quick lunch you have at the fast food joint, the PC at your desk, your internet connection, your e-mail ID almost everything that you use and everything that is around you, has been touched by marketing.
Marketing has its imprint on them all depending on the product and the context/experience the imprint may be visible or subtle. But it is very much there. Marketing permeates most of your daily activities. Marketing is an omnipresent entity.
Marketing is as old as human civilization. Even in the earliest stage of human
civilization exchange was taking place, though, without any consideration. The evidence of this could be noted from the anthropological studies. The number of excavations that have taken place around the world has also confirmed this. However in those days, the exchange was not so well organized or structured.
This was because, there was very little surplus and efforts to create surplus was not even realized. When groups of human beings started living in batches, there arose the need for exchange within the group or among the groups. Historical evidence indicated that this took place in a very crude barter term. This was the earliest seed for modern marketing.
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As years rolled, the approach to marketing also changed. From a stage of
household exchange of goods and services, exchange started taking place between families
and households. Such an exchange always took place through barter system. But when
exchange took place between different groups in the society, the need for a medium of
exchange was felt. Originally stones were used which was replaced by anything which
commanded social respect was accepted. But in due course, precious metals like gold and
silver were used as a medium. It is interesting to note that till very recently, the value of
many was linked to the value of gold. When man invented money, exchange became very
smooth devoid of all the problems associated with the barter exchange system. While
exchange was getting perfected, the world stated looking at marketing in different ways.
Till the mid 1940‟s it was thought that the producers should produce what is
possible and then make efforts to sell what is produced. In this approach, marketing was
viewed from producers/sellers side. But this was proved to be a fatal mistake by Levitt
through his historic article. Levitt brought sense to the world of marketing. He proved
that market should be facing customer rather than the customer facing the market. In other
words, manufacturers should contently look at the market to capture signals and translate
that into acceptable products or services. Hence, marketing became customer focused.
PRODUCT CONCEPT OF MARKETING
This concept believed that the consumers will favor those products that offer the
best quality, performance and features and therefore the organization should devote its
energy to making continuous product improvements. This concept implies that there is no
effort required for marketing a product, as long as the product is good and its price is
reasonable. This concept remained as an important guideline for the manufacturers for
quite a long time. But when considering the reality, it could easily be proved that this
concept is not true. A producer may feel that he should come up with a good quality
product, while the consumers may look for better solution to a problem. FOR EXAMPLE,
colleges may feel that the high school students want a liberal arts education, failing to note
that the preference is for vocational education. Hospitals may feel that patients want fast
cure but patients may be looking for permanent remedy. The consumers may not be
aware of the product features and qualities unless a vigorous selling effort is made by the
producers. Further, now a days every manufacture has a separate research and
development section to facilitate continuous product improvement.
SELLING CONCEPT OF MARKETING
In this concept the importance of sales efforts to be undertaken to make the
consumers buy the products which otherwise will remain unsold. So every organization
has to make substantial selling and promotional effort to push the sales of its product.
Even the best product cannot have desired sales without the help of sales promotion and
aggressive salesmanship. This concept points out that goods are not bought but they have
to be sold through organized advertisement and sales promotion efforts. FOR EXAMPLE,
goods like automobiles are not readily bought by the consumers and they have to be sold
only through promotional effort. Hence, the producers have to develop effective
promotional effort. Hence, the producers have to develop effective promotional
programmes to sell the products. Even in the case of election, several political parties
attempt to project their candidates by using various promotional efforts. While, there is
nothing illogical about this approach, yes, producer might have to conceal the flaws in the
product and hard sell the product. Hence, more often than not, the consumers regret their
decision after purchasing the product. Even if they try to force the producers to
compensate the loss, it might not be forthcoming.
PROFIT CONCEPT OF MARKTING
According to profit concept of marketing, there is a necessity for the marketing
function to generate profit for the organization. But it is the production activities which
would determine the cost of manufacturing and so profit generation becomes the ultimate
responsibility of the marketing function. For this purpose, the marketing personnel have
to identify the right product and take it to the right people at the right time at right price
through the right channel and with right promotion. This would indicate the extent to
which the marketing function has to ensure profit realization for a firm. This in turn will
force the production function to minimize its cost of production so that marketing
function can try to optimize its activities by maximizing profit at minimum cost. On its
part, the production department has to protect its own interest. So now a days, the
production department would sell the product to marketing at a price befitting its cost of
production and a market quantum of profit. In turn, the marketing would determine a
price with which it would be able to generate profit and also meet its promotional
expenses. Hence this concept of marketing underscores the need to minimize cost at every
level, so that at every level every function can earn profit.