They paint the concept of marketing as the company or organization trying to maximize the amount of sales that it can gain from the consumer by configuring their products to meet the demands and needs of the consumers. If these demands and needs are met to the highest of standards, the consumer base will grow as a result of the fact that they have found a product that meets the demands that they have put forward (Ford, 2005).
The Marketing Plan
There are many strategies that an organization can put in place to ensure that the processes that it chooses are the best for the company. The way the organization should do this is by formulating and implementing a good marketing plan. A marketing plan is basically an overview of the company’s goals and what it wants to achieve within a given time frame, there is also the present analysis of the company’s current marketing techniques and strategies that are currently in use and how these strategies are working for the company at present.
With the present status known and the goals of the company defined and laid out the management can now put forward strategies that will be geared towards moving the company forward from its current stage to where it wants to be. The marketing plan gives the various areas that need improvement or change and how this change will be implemented and the potential results of this implementation. The marketing plan is important in that it is part of the documents that create the company or organizations grand strategy, the marketing plan has to be synched with the other plans that different departments have developed in order to make sure that every aspect of the company’s strategies are complementary and that none of them are conflicting.
This makes the implementation of any departments’ strategic plan consistent with the organizations’ general direction of improvement. The marketing plan is also helps define the direction of some other processes that the organization will put into place such as its policies on budget and the legal means that it can use to increase its sales revenue. The marketing plan is important in the forming of the greater strategy of the company. it helps build the company’s image in the society, effectively building a brand (Ford, 2005).
An organizations’ brand refers to how its products or services are viewed in the market, distinct from any other competitors or competing products. The brand is formed when the commodity gains the status of being unique or synonymous with the company. With the building of a brand, sales can be increased greatly as more and more consumers will begin to relate with the product and as a result, they will become loyal to the company and their products. There are many techniques that a business can use in order to develop its brand and these techniques in marketing are known as brand strategies.
The development of the brand strategy is one of the most complicated processes in the making of a marketing plan as the management has to factor in very many dynamic issues and variables. However, it cannot be overlooked in that it is essential in creating the company’s’ strategy and identity, the identity of a company encourages loyalty and helps dispel competition. The creation of a successful brand is the best thing that a company can do for its business generally in that it will help in its marketing and increasing of sales to its consumers as well as gaining over new consumers who effectively help in increasing the organization’s general profitability and business success (Sandhusen, 2000).
The Role of Branding In a Business
In today’s business environment, an organization must choose how and in which area it wants to focus its strengths so as to increase its profitability. The business has limited resources and so, it cannot decide to improve every single aspect of its structure or capitalize on every area of production or marketing to improve its profits. It has to concentrate on a specific strategy to develop and make the chosen area and strategies work most efficiently for the organization. There are mainly five areas on which a company can concentrate on, the product, the sales, the market, marketing and the brand.
Each of these areas has their own techniques and specific structures that are put in place in order to make their efficiency operate at optimum. The product based approach seeks to build products that are superior or better than the competitors, the sales based approach works on the area of how the product is sent to the final consumer and as a result makes it easier and faster for it to do so. The market approach seeks to understand the market and formulate techniques that appeal to specific markets while the marketing approach seeks to change the company or organizations systems to suit the market.
Marketing has many definitions in today’s business environment. Initially, its definition was, “the processes that a business or organization employs or puts into use in order to find out, develop and provide a customer’s needs.” Many definitions and concepts have been developed in order to explain what really is marketing and how best an organization can use marketing strategies so to increase its sales and productivity. Kotler describes marketing as the social involvement of group and individual interaction to get what they want and need.
It’s accomplished through creation and exchange of products and value with others. This means that marketing is the coming together of a producer and a consumers and they exchange the resources they have available (such as money) for a good or service that the other party wants (such as a chair or a car) this definition makes it hard to differentiate marketing from the core business process itself of exchanging goods and services for other resources, but when combined with other theories and definitions the whole concept of marketing becomes more clearer
The Chartered institute of marketing (CIM) gives definition of marketing as a management process that involves identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably. This makes the whole process a bit clearer in that we see that marketing is mainly the businesses responsibility in selling their product to the consumer in order to make a profit. This definition is built on by other people and researchers such as Clive Barwell who says that marketing is not only about identifying the needs of a customer at the present and meeting them immediately, but also finding a way to anticipate and predict what these demands might be in the future: to get what is called long-term retention which basically means making the customer loyal to the company or the brand as it continually meets their ever changing needs. However the most in-depth and exhaustive definition of marketing that I have found is the one by Bartles. Bartels (1968), defines marketing as “the process whereby society, to supply its consumption needs, evolves distributive systems composed of participants, who, interacting under constraints – technical (economic) and ethical (social) – create the transactions or flows which resolve market separations and result in exchange and consumption.” All these definitions have one thing in common; they look at marketing from a social-economic perspective. They classify people in society as having demands for various goods and services and also as producers or sources of particular resources. This demand coupled with the willingness to exchange their available recourses for these goods and demands that they demand means that a business can manipulate these forces available to them in order to ensure that the good or service that they are providing is chosen above other competing and maybe similar products.
Marketing can also be viewed from a philosophical point of view in which it makes the satisfaction of the consumers’ needs as the main driving force behind every business (Kotler, 2007).It paints marketing as a responsibility of the senior management of the organization to develop and formulate a strategy that will produce the best results as concerning this end goal of meeting the customers’ needs, it encompasses every single business process that is put to use by the organization in that these processes are all geared towards the final goal of providing for the consumers demands in a way that will make the said consumers use their resources to gain the particular good or service from the organization.
This view gives rise to the marketing concept, which is a philosophy that states that profitable sales and satisfactory returns on investment can only be met by the identification, anticipation and satisfaction of customers’ needs and desires (Bartels, 1968).
These definitions of market are all basically similar in that they all try to describe extensively the process by which consumers’ needs are met by a business. They also show that in order to make it more effective and profitable, the whole concept of marketing should not only be a present factor but the business should also think about the future customer needs and match their future expectations and so develop their processes to suit these future needs. They also show that the basic foundation of marketing is the exchange of goods and or services for resources which normally are money or any other medium of payment.
A brand or identity based approach to increasing sales focuses on the building of a brand or unique identity of the business and its products, effectively creating a market that is loyal to the product and increases the sales by these loyal customers introducing others to the product (Lane, 2007). The brand based approach also works on ensuring that the appeal of the product is not just at the basic level of meeting a need, but the consumer and the company have formed a certain relationship or rapport in which the consumer related so much to the company or product that they will treat it with a sense of love and respect (the Apple brand is a good example of this with consumers forming long queues before the launch of any product because they do not see how they can do without the latest Apple gadget)
Concepts in Building a Brand
There are many concepts in building a brand. The first is the brand name, the name has to be unique and easily connect with the targeted consumer. Once the brand name has been established the attributes of the brand can now be built on. The attributes of the brand are not only how the brand tries to meet the consumers’ needs but also how it does this in a manner that is different from other company’s brands. The attributes should be unique to the brand and should not only meet all the needs of the consumer but should do so in a way that is different and more appealing to the customer.
All these are useful even before the brand is launched, they should be developed by the company to be geared towards attaining the marketing goals of the organization. After this, the organization should seek to see how best the target audience can be reached by the brand. This is done through the concept of brand positioning. Brand positioning basically means that the brand is best suited to meet the demands of its target audience, as a result the targeted audience is able to get to the product and they see it or consider it even before other competing products are put into the picture. The positioning of the brand is not only a onetime thing done at the beginning of the product launch but is a continuous process that is sustained and developed constantly at all points of contact with the consumer. It should also be done in such a manner that it produces returns that justify the investment of the organization in making the brand visible. The brand positioning is closely related to the brand identity the brand identity is how the product is shown to the market in terms of packaging, promotion and advertising.
The brand identity is the picture of the brand as it is painted by the organization itself. Through the use of the identity of the brand, a concept of brand image is created; brand image is now how the consumer sees the brand and the reactions and emotions towards the brand in the market. The brand image is a result of the brand identity though other factors come into play that can make the brand image not commensurate with the identity, since the image is a result of the consumers’ views, all the factors that can influence the consumers’ perceptions of the product all contribute to the image of the brand. The brand image is an ever changing concept that is influenced by social and personal/individual factors in the community which is also the target audience of the commodity.
Brands also have personalities, much like human personalities. These personalities are more geared towards the emotional and psychological effects of that are connoted by the brand. Brand personality is easily explained by the emotional effect that the brand has on its consumers or users. A brand for example, can be geared towards the niche market of independent corporate women, using this; the organization can build all the processes put into promoting this brand into painting a picture of the commodity being strong and independent, just like the target audience. The personality of the brand will now be seen as strong and independent, any person that has the brand will feel a sense of pride and even those around will associate the brand with a certain emotion or perception.
The ultimate aim of branding is to create awareness and loyalty. Awareness is the visibility of the brand in the market and how easy it is for people to learn about and be sold over to using the brand, loyalty refers to the feeling that users have that they cannot use any other product as they have already established a somewhat emotional relationship with the particular brand.
The creating of a brand that people are aware of is key in getting new consumers while the concept of brand loyalty helps in retaining the company’s customer base. These two combined mean that the brand that will be created will continue to steadily grow as new consumers will be sold to the brand while the present consumers will not be lost or begin using another product: this is the most ideal brand.
The main aim of a business is to get as much profit as possible using a limited supply of resourses, this however cannot be done without the formulation of various strategies and plans within the company itself that help to mold it to combat with the ever-changing external society. The change factor is one that if not reacted to and anticipated, can cause the organization to lose its profitability. The organization must therefore strive to change how it operates in order to meet the needs of the consumer, as it does so, it appeals to the consumer more and therefore makes them feel better connected to the organization and the product.
With the building of this relationship, the organization and the consumer both benefit in that the consumer gain the products that he or she wants, however, the biggest benefactor is the business. Since there are many other competing providers of the goods that the business is offering, it means that the gaining and retention of customers is the only way that a business can ensure its profitability and even its survival. A business should therefore strive to form a good business strategy that will ensure that they can provide exactly what their target audience wants and as a result the consumer will choose them over their competitors. The building of a strong brand together with an efficient business strategy will increase the sales and profits of a company. (Esther Cameron, 2004).
Bartels, R. 1968. The General Theory of Marketing. The Journal of Marketing, 29-33.
Esther Cameron, M. G. 2004. Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. London: Kogan Page Publishers.
Ford, K. 2005. Brands laid bare: using market research for evidence-based brand management. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Kotler, W. S. 2007. Principles of Marketing. Edinburgh Gate, Harlow: Pearson.
Lane, F. 2007. Killer Brands: Create and Market a Brand That Will Annihilate the Competition. Avon, MA: Adams Media.
Sandhusen, R. L. 2000. Marketing. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.