MARKET RESEARCH Market research is the study of consumers' demand by a firm in order…
Marketing concept is a marketing philosophy which sees the consumer or client as the central focus of all the activities of an organisation because no organisation can survive without the continued patronage of its consumers. This philosophy regards a genuine concern for consumer welfare (Consumer Orientation) and the adequate fulfillment of his needs (consumer satisfaction) as the most dependent paths to the realization of an organisation short and long term goals. The act of marketing has undergone a metamorphosis over time. It has evolved from the production to the selling stage and to the consumer orientation stage and indeed it is evolving in some organisation to the consumerism and social responsibility stage. There are sharp contrasts between the two stages. At the selling state, the emphasis is placed on the product, the company first makes the product, and then figures out how to sell it profitably, the orientation of the company is internal and the emphasis of the company is on the sellers’ need. Conversely, at the marketing stage, the emphasis is on the continuous wants of the consumer. But first, the company figures out how to profitably make and deliver a product to satisfy these wants. The orientation of the company is external market orientation and company emphasizes buyer’s needs.
CONCEPTS WHICH ORGANISATIONS USE IN CONDUCTING MARKETING
1) Production concept: The production concept is the idea that a firm should focus on in relation to those products that it could produce most efficiently and that the creation of a supply of low-cost products would in and of itself create the demand for the products. The key questions that a firm would ask before producing a product are:
- Can we produce the product?
- Can we produce enough of it?
The concept focuses more on solving the problem of production and little concern for the public (customer) satisfaction. In this concept, customers are seen as people who exist to buy company’s products rather than company existing to serve the customers. It is the concept in management orientation that assumes that customers will favour those products that are available and affordable, and therefore the major task of management is to pursue improved production and distribution effectively.
2) The product concept: This concept assumes that customers will favour those products that offer the most quality for the price and therefore it is important for companies to produce quality products. It explains that customers are primarily interested in product quality and they know the quality and feature difference of competing brands. Customers make their choice from many brands available on the basis of getting the best quality for their money. So it is important for organization to produce quality products so as to attract customers to them.
3) The Selling concept: Production of goods does not mean assure sales most times. Under selling concept, companies would not only produce the products, but they would also try to convince customers to buy them through advertising and personal selling. Before producing a product, the key questions asked are:
- Can we sell the product?
- Can we charge enough for it?
The sales concept paid little attention to whether if the product was actually needed; the goal simply was to beat the competition to the sale with little regard to customer satisfaction.
Marketing was a function that was performed after the product was developed and produced, and many people came to associate marketing with hard selling. Even today, many people use the word “marketing” when they really mean sales.
4) The marketing concept: This concept lays emphasis on marketing management with the twin goals of customer orientation and profitable sales volume. Attention is to be on marketing rather than selling. The key questions became:
- What do customers want?
- Can we develop it while they still want it?
- How can we keep our customers satisfied?
In response to these discerning questions, firms began to adopt the marketing concept, which involves:
- Focusing on customer needs before developing the product.
- Aligning all functions of the company to focus on those needs.
- Realizing a profit by successfully satisfying customer needs over the long-term.
When firms first began to adopt the marketing concept, they typically set up separate marketing departments whose objective was to satisfy customers’ needs. Often these departments were sales departments with expanded responsibilities. While this expanded sales department structure can be found in some companies today, many firms have structured themselves into marketing organisations having a company-wide customer focus. Since the entire organisation exists to satisfy customers needs, nobody can neglect a customer issue by declaring it a “marketing problem” as everybody must be concerned with customer satisfaction. The marketing concept relies upon marketing research to define market segments, their size, and their needs. To satisfy those needs, the marketing team makes decisions about the controllable parameters of the marketing mix.
Distinctions between the Sales Concept and the Marketing Concept
- The sales concept focuses on the needs of the seller. The Marketing Concept focuses on the needs of the buyer.
- The sales concept is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his/her product into cash. The marketing concept is preoccupied with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customers by means of the product as a solution to the customers’ problem (needs).
The marketing concept represents the major change in today’s company orientation that provides the foundation to achieve competitive advantage. This philosophy is the foundation of consultative selling.
The marketing concept has evolved into a fifth and more refined company orientation: the societal marketing concept. This concept is more theoretical and will undoubtedly influence future forms of marketing and selling approaches.
5) Societal marketing concept: The societal marketing concept embodies a higher and more enlightened plane of marketing thought and practice. The concept has an emphasis on social responsibility and suggests that for a company to only focus on exchange relationship with customers might not be in order to sustain long term success. Rather, marketing strategy should deliver value to customers in a way that maintains or improves both the consumer’s and the society’s well-being. The societal marketing concept calls upon marketers to build social and ethical considerations into their marketing practices. They must balance and juggle the often conflicting criteria of company profits, consumer’s want, satisfaction, and public interest.
Most companies recognize that socially responsible activities improve their image among customers, stockholders, the financial community, and other relevant publics. Ethical and socially responsible practices are simply good business, resulting not only in favorable image, but ultimately in increased sales.
6) The consumer orientation approach: Modern marketing concept is a concept that embraces understanding that marketing activities is consumer-oriented. This concept is very popular because the marketing activities of this concept is built on assumptions and application of thought as follows:
- More customers know what they need.
- Orientation to customer needs as the main target for the success of marketing activities.
- Marketing research helps in determining customer needs exactly.
- Satisfied customers will appreciate the producers with a repeat purchase.
- The difference bidding which is competitive is important for customers in identifying products of interest.
In such marketing concept a customer is seen as part of a changing environment, marketing activities executed to drive business with a variety mix of activities based on the principles below:
- Process management-marketers to recognize, anticipate and satisfy customers profitably.
- The fundamental activities of policy-making that focuses on the selection and development of products best suited for the sales, promotion and distribution to achieve optimum results.
The following are the levels of relationship building with consumers:
- Basic marketing: The seller is just selling the product.
- Reactive marketing: The sellers sell the product and convince customers to call if they have any questions,comments or complaints.
- Accountable marketing: Sellers calling customers to find out whether the product meets their expectations and to ask customers about the proposed improvement of the product.
- Proactive Marketing: Seller contact customers from time to time with suggestions about the benefits of the products which have been developed.
- Partnership marketing: The company works continuously to help improve performance for its customers. Companies that operate on the basis of partnership with customers through specialization which is supported by the database and develop interactive communication with consumers, it is believed by experts and practitioners of marketing will be able to easily establish and strengthen customer loyalty.
- Profit orientation: This concept gives recognition to the basic objectives of any business firm which is to maximize profit and increase the shareholders return on investment within constraint imposed by competitors, government and public opinion. Many marketing decisions are made without any reference to return on investment. It is important for marketing Managers to have profit orientation when taking their marketing decisions.