Marketing is a complex yet essential component of business. Marketing encompasses all marketing activities and involves both internal and external activities to promote products and services. Marketing has become a crucial element in achieving organizational objectives. Marketing is not only a cost-effective way of advertising products and services. Effective marketing strategies can result in increased sales and profits.
Marketing refers to the strategic process by which an organisation undertakes to reach out to its target audience, develop effective relationships with customers, create value for the customer in return for investing funds, and capture selling points in order to get more sales. Marketing strategies are always directed towards increasing the competitive advantage of a company through effective selling techniques. Marketing research is an important marketing activity that assists companies in understanding their target customers and developing relevant marketing programs. Researching into the buying patterns and preferences of the buying population helps organizations design marketing programs that yield positive results.
The main objective of marketing is to attract customers. A powerful selling message attracts customers to make investment decisions and eventually plays a pivotal role in the growth of a firm. For this purpose, organizations require conducting market research, understanding the preferences and buying patterns of customers, analyzing the factors influencing customer decision-making and incorporating these factors in a marketing strategy. Marketing management includes various other aspects such as planning, developing marketing plans, executing marketing plans, measuring the results of marketing activities, improving the quality of marketing campaigns, etc.
Marketing concepts have been around since market dynamics and purchasing behavior was shaped by marketers over a century ago. Marketing theories suggest that marketing is primarily a behavior-based concept which originates from the cultural and social norms of consumers. Marketing concepts thus give marketers a psychological concept of how consumers perceive buying decisions. This is because buying decisions are typically made when consumers feel as if they are in control or when they perceive that they have an influence on the buying process. Marketing theories further suggest that people buy according to their need or their expectations regarding the way products and services are offered. This is different from consumer satisfaction theory which assumes that consumers are always satisfied with purchasing decisions.
Developing a marketing strategy requires a marketer to identify the appropriate marketing concept. Marketers therefore need to understand the product and the target market to develop relevant marketing strategies. This marketing concept needs to be clearly defined as it will form the base for the marketing strategy. Once this concept has been developed, it can be used to formulate an effective marketing plan. Marketers therefore need to consider several factors when formulating a marketing strategy. These include product positioning, selling customer orientation, the selling technique and the target market to name a few.
In order to apply this marketing concept effectively, marketers need to understand customers’ mindset. Understanding how customers think helps marketers determine the effectiveness of marketing activities. Marketing research has shown that most customers are active buyers who take time to thoroughly research products. Further, a customer will most likely purchase products if the marketing activity is consistent, sustained and predictable. These four Ps of marketing provide marketers with a framework of the proper approach to the marketing function.