The most common element of modern definitions of marketing is customer satisfaction. Over the past few decades, researchers have incorporated customer satisfaction and other elements focused on the consumer as the heart of a marketing strategy. For instance, Drucker (1954) emphasized the need to place customer satisfaction at the center of the marketing concept, with profit being achieved as a reward for attaining customer satisfaction (Kerrigan, 2009). He supports the concept saying that the sole role of marketing is to identify and understand the customer so well that the organization creates the product or service to fit him, selling itself.
Importance of customer satisfaction in a marketing strategy
Kotler (2002), states in his definition that “Marketing as a function itself is a social and managerial process in which individuals achieve what they want and need”. He classifies these needs as psychological needs and physiological needs.
Customer is the central focus of these definitions, whether as a common man, a physician or even an organization (Kotler and Keller, 2002; Berkowitz, 2010; Perreault, 2007). For instance, Brown (1987) asserts that “marketing is a complete approach to running a business through focusing all of the company’s actions on the customer”.
These definitions are of value to all parties involved in a commercial transaction as they attempt to relate the company’s operations to delivery of customer satisfaction and fulfillment of their needs or wants. Customer satisfaction is significant in this context as it is related to customer value.
Understanding the marketing process
An analytic definition of marketing is given by O’Shaughnessy (1995, p.4), who, unlike most others that refer to marketing as an art emphasizing on the creation and maintenance of customer relationships and secure them in the long-run. According to him, an analytic definition captures the essence of the concept by differentiation it from other aspects of an organisation’s operations. “Marketing covers all the organisational activities that connect it to the parts of external environment that buy, sell, use or influence the output generated and services and benefits offered by it”. The major activities of marketing in this context are:
- Finding markets.
- Identification of customers’ needs in these markets.
- Categorization of customer needs.
- Shortlisting those which can be fulfilled by the organization.
- Deciding on the 4 P’s: product, price, place and promotion.
- Making the products available.
- Upgrading their products to meet changing circumstances and customer wants.
- Cooperating with other functions of the business to obtain resources.
- Drucker, P.F. (1954). The Practice of Management. Harper & Row, New York.
- Berkowitz, E. (2010): “Essentials of Health Care Marketing” LLC: Joanes and Bartlett.
- Perreault, W. D.; McCarthy, C. (2007): Basic Marketing 15E. Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi.
- Brown D, Modern Sport, Modernism and the Cultural Manifesto, 2001.
- Brown G, the Sydney Olympics and Brand Australia, Butterworth-Heinemann. 2002.