The meaning and importance of marketing has been expressed differently, albeit in similar context, by various researchers through history. Kotler and Keller (2006) state that the financial success of a product depends on its marketing ability. Understanding the significance of marketing objectives enables managers to obtain the information needed to think through the implications of choosing a position in the market.
Understanding the concept of marketing
Marketing as a concept has been expressed differently by various researchers, but all these definitions revolve around a central object, known as the consumer (Kotler, 2002; Perreault, 2007; Berkowitz, 2010). Most definitions also point out to a singular aspect as the primary function of marketing: creating customer value and satisfaction. Marketing is quintessentially the delivery of customer satisfaction in exchange for a profit (Kumar, 2001, p. 1). As such, the twofold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and to retain current customers by maximizing satisfaction.
The most widely accepted definition of marketing was given by the American Marketing Association (AMA, 2004): “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stake holders”. However, this definition was revised in 2007 when AMA decided that marketing was not merely a function, but a set of practices which can be undertaken throughout an organisation.
One of the earliest definitions of modern marketing was given by Felton (1954) who stated it as “A corporate state of mind that insists on the integration and coordination of all the marketing functions which, in turn, are melted with all other corporate functions, for the basic purpose of producing maximum long range corporate profits”. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) gives a somewhat similar definition, which stress that marketing is not merely a concept: “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” (CIM, 2006).
Marketing strategies leading to the success of the organization
Koli and Koli (2009) list several reasons why marketing may lead to the success of an organization:
- Creating customer loyalty.
- Innovation and reducing cost per unit to enable large scale production.
- Maximizing sales by creating goodwill.
- Recognizing customer needs and wants and creating products accordingly by obtaining market information.
Marketing acts as the link between the business and the consumer. According to Botha (2005), this is important because these gaps must be addressed by the organization accurately, in a timely manner. Similarly, McCarthy and Perreault (2008) list seven gaps in this context:
- Space gap: Geographical distances between the organization and consumers.
- Time gap: Gap between production time and consumption time.
- Information gap: Gap between what consumers want and what organisations produce.
- Value gap: Gap between the value consumers expect and organisations deliver.
- Ownership gap: Gap between transfer of ownership from manufacturer to consumers.
- Quantity gap: Gap between quantity needed in the market and organisations produce.
- Assortment gap: Gap between the assortment consumers expect and manufacturers deliver.
Similarly, Kurtz et al (2009) assert that obtaining market information and delivering the right product or service to the customer are two of the most essential functions of marketing. This leads to the success of the product or service.
A well- implemented marketing strategy not only consists of a well-developed plan to inform and persuade the customer to avail a particular product, but also to understand their needs and expectations.
- Koli, L. & Koli, P. (2009). Upkar’s Marketing Knowledge. Upkar Prakashan, New Delhi.
- Kurtz, D.; MacKenzie, H. & Snow (2009) “Contemporary Marketing”. Nelson Education, Canada.
- Felton, AP (1959) Making the marketing concept work. Harvard Business Review 37, 55-56.
- Berkowitz, E. (2010): “Essentials of Health Care Marketing” LLC: Joanes and Bartlett.