Just what is this “Marketing” you speak of?
Marketing is the process of identifying what consumers want and developing ways to satisfy their needs. In effect, marketing encompasses every detail of bringing a product or service to market.
A marketing strategy is a plan of action that outlines the best way to create, distribute, promote, and price a product or service. A good strategy will consider how best to utilize an organization’s resources and core competencies to meet company goals and objectives. The written document that details the marketing strategy is called the Marketing Plan.
Modern Marketing has evolved over the course of 4 distinct eras*:
Manufacturers produced a product and sold it with relatively little effort. Company leaders of this era believed that a quality product “sold itself”. Market needs generally revolved around low-cost, uniform quality products. Corporate orientation was towards high volume / low cost.
The general purpose of advertising during this era was to inform wholesalers of availability.
This era began when abundance of supply saturated the markets and triggered a decline in demand. Salespeople were hired to sell the large backlog of merchandise. Manufacturers produced a product and sold it aggressively. Market needs generally revolved around quality, variety, and convenience. Corporate orientation was focused on new product development.
The general purpose of advertising was to stimulate consumer need.
This era began when companies began to learn what the customers wanted BEFORE developing a product. Marketing research and customer satisfaction became an important strategic element.
Market needs generally revolved around products designed to fulfill consumer wants & needs. Corporate orientation moved to market research and consumer-driven product development.
The general purpose of advertising was to associate brand with need.
This is the current era, and is really an enhanced version of the marketing era. Businesses focus on establishing relationships with customers and distribution partners. Market needs are about families of products with symbolic as well as actual benefits. Corporate orientation is towards strategic control of product lines & long-term competitive advantages.
Advertising serves to deliver strategic messages to associate brands with lifestyles.
Began by Charles A. Pillsbury in 1869 with the intent of producing a maximum amount of flour as efficiently as possible. His only concern was availability of high-quality wheat and water.
As the need for flour was met, Pillsbury began to realize that production alone was not a guarantee to survival. Around the turn of the century, they began to experiment with a variety of products. By 1930, their product development efforts were in full swing.
By the1950’s, Pillsbury offered a vast array of products to the consumer. The critical factor was no longer, “what can we make” but rather “what will they buy?” In addition to actual customers, the potential customer’s needs began to be addressed.
The 1980’s saw Pillsbury placing increased emphasis on strategic planning and control. The products developed and produced during the marketing era had been around long enough that competitors had entered the market, all of which were reasonably similar. The focus has become working closely with retailers and establishing lasting relationships with customers. Brand loyalty is the objective.
Evolution Of Modern Marketing / Advertising on an Individual Level
All of the modern “National name Brands” that have been around since before the industrial revolution have gone through these stages.
How to Market
A company’s long-term survival is directly associated with it’s ability to adapt to changing markets. However we define the next Marketing Era, our ability to anticipate its arrival depends upon our Environmental Scanning Process.
One method to evaluate a company’s current environment is SWOT analysis
Key assets, including financial resources, core competencies, facilities and equipment, products, services, and other resource capabilities.
Poor distribution channels, inexperienced management, etc. Things to be fixed!
These include limited competition, mergers, and other external forces. It is very important to continually monitor the market, the competition, and technology so as not to miss an opportunity.
These are external weaknesses, such as competition, materials shortages, government regulations, market and customer behaviors, etc.
Other evaluation methods include gathering feedback directly from customers via questionnaires or focus groups.
*Dr. Hugh M. Cannon, Ph.D. Adcraft/Simons-Michelson Professor of Department of Marketing Wayne State University