We often hear people talk about marketing and some of its functions. But what does the term ‘marketing’ actually mean? Various definitions have been suggested. In 1976, the Chartered Institute of Marketing described marketing as ‘’the management process that identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably’’ (Watkis 2008). This definition suggests that research is vital in determining market necessities. Marketers must be in a position to predict what future consumer needs and wants will be to be in a better position to offer products and services which offer complete customer satisfaction.
A more recent definition states that ‘’Marketing is a social and managerial process whereby individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others’’ (Kotler & Armstrong 2004). This definition incorporates a number of core marketing concepts, namely needs, wants, values, exchange and transactions.
Even though marketing is time consuming and increases the costs incurred by an organisation, it yields a number of significant advantages. Marketing practices help in achieving the recognition and attention of your previously identified market segments or of other parts of the market. In addition, marketing aims to increase profits through an increase in sales (Willings 2010). Organisations practicing marketing also successfully identify real customers through research as well as retaining them by building long-term relationships based on trust (Juliett 2011).
Emerging in the early 1900s, marketing has gone through various developments before it became as we know it today. Prior the 1950s, marketers put an emphasis only on production and selling, putting aside customer wants and needs. Then, the Marketing Concept started to develop as marketers realised that customers are the most important persons to an organisation and thus they offered products and services which would satisfy their needs efficiently, effectively and profitably.
This was then further extended and the Societal Marketing Concept was introduced. This concept focused on identifying and satisfying the needs of both customers as well as those of society and future generations, always keeping in mind profit maximisation. Relationship Marketing has been one of the latest marketing concepts which developed in the 1990s. It is all about organisations striving to build long-term valuable relationships with customers in order to retain them and ensure future sales with them (Stafford 2011).
Marketers have a variety of tools at their disposal which help them in achieving their previously set objectives. The Marketing Mix is a set of tools which is available to marketing managers to support planning, help them in decision making as well as to help them identify customer needs and wants. At first, this Marketing Mix was made up of the 4Ps – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Recognising the...