PRINCIPLES OF MARKETING
Marketing is the achievement of business goals through meeting and exceeding customer needs better than the competition, it is about meeting the needs and wants of customers.
Marketing strategy is a strategy that combines an organization marketing goals into a solid whole. It focuses on the ideal product mix to achieve maximum profit potential. Using a marketing strategy can allow a firm to be more successful than if it is simply reactive to the environment. There are four basic types of marketing strategies.
Leader strategy; it involves securing the leadership position and attempting to grow by increasing the entire market. Market leaders need to invest heavily in research and development in order to protect beneficial position. The hurdle in the leader strategy is that there is less room for growth and great potential in losing market share.
Challenger strategy; it involves investing heavily on research and development in turn to find a competitive advantage over the market leader. It also involves fighting off challenges that may result from hostile tactics from the market leader.
Follower strategy; entails investing little in research and development and profiting from the research of others. It is a strategy employed by drug manufacturers who don’t develop their own drugs, but who produce drugs whose exclusive rights have elapsed.
Niche strategy; a market niche is a company that focuses on a specific market segment. Focusing on a specific niche allows a firm to offer specialized services for its market. It will usually mean having fewer customers but these customers are willing to pay more for a specialized service.
The marketing strategy is set out in a marketing plan.
Marketing plans are essential to marketing success. They help to focus the mind of companies and marketing teams on the process of marketing which includes what is going to be achieved and how to achieve it. Marketing processes include the mission or overall goal of your business, objectives you are trying to achieve, strategies needed to achieve this goals and lastly the tactics you intend to use to achieve this goals.
A customer is a person or organization that a marketer believes will benefit from the goods and services offered by the marketer’s organization.
Customers fall into three groups which include;
Existing customers; consists of customers who have purchased or otherwise use an organizations goods or services typically within a designated period of time.
Former customers; consists of those who have formerly had relations with the marketing organization through a previous purchase.
Potential customers; this include those who are yet to purchase but possess what the marketer believes are the requirements to eventually become existing customers.
Understanding customers is necessary not only because of their effect on marketing decisions but because their activities influence the whole business. It’s a never ending challenge. The reason why understanding customers is a never ending challenge is because not all customers are the same, benefits sought by one customer may be different from one sought by another, because of this marketers must repeatedly conduct marketing research to evaluate customers and to know what they want.
How customers impact a business:
They are a source of information and ideas, satisfying their needs require a business to maintain close contact with them by conducting research that encourage customers to share their thoughts and feelings. With this marketers are able to know what customers think about their marketing efforts and are able to make improvements where necessary.
They are needed to sustain a business, because they are the reason why the institution is in business. Without them the company is not viable. Customers are not only key to revenue and profits but they are also key to creating and maintaining jobs in an institution.
They affect activities throughout the business, they are the key people for decisions made in the business.
Consumer buying behaviors
It is one of the most challenging concepts in marketing, understanding why customers do what they do. Such knowledge is critical to a marketer since having a good understanding of buyer behavior will help know what is important to the buyer and also suggest the important influences on buyer decision making.
Consumers buy to satisfy their needs, some of this needs are basic and must be filled by everyone e.g. food, shelter while others are not required for basic survival and vary depending with the person.
How to build customer relationships
By communication- it is the key to having a relationship with your customers, no matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are no one will likely remember you from a business card or a first time meeting, you have to follow up on them let them know you are interested
Build your network- it includes business colleagues, partners, suppliers, contractors and existing customers. Contacts are potential customers waiting for a marketer to connect with their needs; you turn networks of contacts into customers by networking which is a long-term investment.
Email marketing- build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight. An easy way to communicate is with a brief email newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you. Its viral, consumers who find it interesting will end up forwarding your email or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing.
Reward loyal customers- encourage the consumer to work with your organization again. Stay in touch and give them something of value in exchange for their time, attention and business.
Loyal customers are your best salespeople- spend time building your network and following up and your customers will become your sales force.
A market is a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its services and products.
Selecting target markets may seem like an easy decision to make but it is a hard task as the marketer is likely to drain resources in their mission to locate those willing to buy. By using a target market approach an organization tries to get most from its resources by following a planned procedure in identifying customers.
Markets consist of customers who are qualified to make a purchase and a qualified customer is defined as one who seeks a solution to a need, is eligible to make a purchase, possesses the financial ability to make a purchase and has the authority to make a decision.
A product is what a marketer provides to their target group, they include goods, services and ideas.
Goods are tangible items. Services are what customers obtain through the work of someone else. An idea is when a marketer tries to convince the customer to change their behavior in some way.
Categories of products;
Convenience products- these are products that appeal to a very large market segment.
Shopping products- these are products that consumers purchase and consume on a less frequent schedule compared to convenience products.
Specialty products-these are products that tend to carry a high price tag relative to convenience and shopping products.
Categories of business products
Raw materials- these are products obtained through mining, harvesting etc that are key ingredients in production of higher order products
Processed materials- these are products created through the processing of basic raw materials
Equipment- these are products used to help with production or operations activities.
Basic components- these are products used within more advanced components. These are often built with raw materials or processed materials.
Advanced components- these are products that use basic components to produce products that offer a significant function needed within a larger product
Distribution focuses on establishing a system that allows customers to gain access and purchase a marketers product.
In order to facilitate an efficient distribution system, many decisions must be made such as;
Assessing the best distribution channels for getting products to customers.
Organizing a reliable ordering system that allows customers to place orders.
Creating a delivery system for transporting the product to the customer.
Promotion is a form of commercial communication that uses various methods to reach a targeted audience with a certain message in order to achieve specific objectives. Marketers must promote their organizations if they want their business to grow.
Types of promotion
Advertising- through advertising people get to know about an organization and what it offers. You can advertise online, through the radio, on TV and so much more.
By yellow pages- they have a strong brand name and recognition, and are still used by many people today. They offer a few levels of listings the most basic are free.
Give out complementary items as promotional e.g. free t-shirts
Sponsor events- Sponsor fund raising events for philanthropic causes and give out souvenirs in that with company details, this way your brand name is popularized. Use stickers with all relevant information for promotion.
Well inform employees about the company details in order to also help in advertising.
Be available even at odd hours- Make yourself available on the internet, if someone posts a query revert back at the earliest. This way you can be coordinating with your clients even on holidays.
In conclusion, marketing is the key to an organizations or a company’s success. If you do not market your business then you are lost. Customers should be treated well and with respect because they are the business and without them there will be nothing, because they are the reason you opened the business in the first place. Organizations should also have marketing plans and strategies for their organization to run smoothly, and lastly they should advertise in order for buyers to know that they exist and through all this your business will be successful.
Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of marketing (13th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780136079415
Christ, Paul (2010), Packaging Decisions for Global Products, December 1, 2010 Retrieved from: KnowThis.com, http://www.knowthis.com
Mucuk, Ilsmet, Pazarlama Ilkeleri, 14. Basim Principles of Marketing (14th ed) Istanbul; Turkmen Kitabevi, 2004