Introduction to Marketing

You are welcome to marketing class. You probably have a place where you buy your household needs such as food stuff, clothing materials, electronics equipment and others. Such places are designated markets. A Market is any place where buyers and sellers meet together for the purpose of exchange. Marketing is different from ‘market in the sense that marketing embraces all activities involved in discovering people’s needs and satisfying such needs at a profit. Marketing therefore, plays an important role in the economic activities of any nation. Now you need to know that production, marketing and consumption are the three basic elements that make up the economic system in any society. In Nigeria, marketing is one of the major activities in all segments of the economy. Through marketing, for example, goods and services flow from producer to consumer thereby completing the basic mission of our economic system which is to satisfy the needs and wants of our people.

Marketing is a two fold task. It includes: (a) identifying what goods and services consumers need and want and (b) providing those items for them at the right places, at the right time and at the right prices. Freedom of choice is one of the basic ingredients of capitalism. Thus, the organisation and operation of marketing activities are such that consumers are able to avail themselves of this privilege of choice from many types of goods and services offered to them. Organisations create utility by satisfying a consumer’s needs and wants through marketing and production. The extent to which the product characteristics match a given customer or client’s needs and wants is referred to as utility, which also means satisfaction.

The marketing discipline is presently experiencing an identity crisis, partly because of its rapid growth and expanding influence, and partly as a result of the major dislocative changes occurring in the social, technological and economic environment. Therefore, the attention given to the theory and practice of marketing has increased. The salient problem facing contemporary organisations has been that of creating mutually -satisfying exchange relationships with their customers or clients. Thus, scholars and practitioners have sought for approaches that will enable them to understand, explain, predict and possibly control marketing phenomena. As a result, marketing has witnessed many definitions, perspectives, theories and philosophies.

What is marketing?

Marketing definitions exist with different emphasis on the process of marketing, the functional activities that constitute marketing and orientation (or philosophy) of marketing. For example, marketing can be seen as: “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” (The United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Marketing). This view maintains that marketing thinking and planning begin at or even before the drawing board and ends only when the company is certain that the customer is really satisfied with the product or service provided. Marketing is also regarded as “the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumers or users” (American Marketing Association, 1960).

This definition highlights marketing as a system of distributive institution, performing economic functions of exchange and moving products from points of production to points of consumption. The focus of marketing in this context is on the nature of the function being performed by the system. Some writers and marketers have tagged the above definition as restrictive and traditional. They argued that it regards marketing as a completed product which ends with the delivery of the product to the consumer without the pre-production and post-delivery aspect of marketing. Also, it fails to consider the applications of marketing ideas to non-business organisations.

To incorporate progressive trend and professional development, the American Marketing Association (1985) adopted a modified broad view of marketing, which states that “marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives”. This definition, which replaced the AMA (1960) earlier narrower interpretation, was arrived at after AMA council and committees had studied over 25 definitions. In definition quoted above, conception has been highlighted as devising or putting together what is to be marketed. Again, the object of exchange involves not only tangible goods but also services and ideas. A more recent and well accepted definition of marketing is stated as follows:

Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others” (Kotler, 1980). Analyzing this definition, one can gather the fact that marketing embraces the activities engaged in to satisfy needs and wants. Customer satisfaction is the degree to which the products’ perceived performance matches the customers/clients’ expectation. Also, it implies that marketing emerges when people seek to satisfy needs and wants through exchange. A critical look at the above definitions shows that we can draw some conclusions from the real meaning of marketing.

Firstly, marketing like other disciplines has a traditional domain, the boundaries of which should be respected.

Secondly, the modern shape of marketing has a dramatically broadened conceptual domain (of marketing from business activity it had hither to been to a pervasive societal activity) that goes considerably beyond selling (Kotler, 1980).

Thirdly, viewing marketing as a social process implies that marketing is not a one-way action, but an interaction. Further implication of viewing marketing as a social process is that it is a refined view of ‘social responsibility’. From this perspective, social responsibility is not an obligation imposed on marketing but an adherent aspect of and a reason for marketing activity.

Fourthly, marketing has the exchange process and the transaction that make up the process as its focus.

The key concepts in marketing

Needs: Adedeji (2004) defines need as the difference between actual and ideal state of a person. It creates the motivation to purchase products. It is a state of felt deprivation of some basic satisfaction. They exist in the very nature of human biology and human condition. Human motives are based on needs, whether consciously or subconsciously felt. Some are primary needs such as physiological requirements of water, air, food, sex, sleep and shelter. Other needs may be regarded as secondary. However, needs vary in intensity and overtime.

Want: This is the specific requirement resulting from the need of an individual. Wants are desires for specific satisfiers of needs. Want refers to the outward requirement sufficient to satisfy a need. It could be a cherished need. A need originates from internal state of mind. A person may be thirsty or hungry. Then bottled water or sachet water can serve as the want or desire to satisfy his thirsty need. Also, he may want a particular type of food to satisfy his need.

Demands: Demands are human wants backed by purchasing power, the ability and willingness to buy products. Many people want to buy new cars and not fairly or overused cars (second-hand cars) but only very few are willing and able to buy one. Therefore, marketers must determine not how many people want their products but how many actually will be willing and able to buy. Marketers influence demand by making the product appropriate, attractive, affordable and easily available for satisfying needs and wants of people.

Products: A product is anything that is offered to the market for sale or consumption or to satisfy a need or want. Thus products can offer a solution, tangible goods, services or ideas. A computer manufacturer, for example, has the physical products that consist hardware (computer, monitor and other accessories), services (delivery, installation, maintenance and repairs) and an idea (computing knowledge). The importance of physical goods lies in the Services they can render or their functionality.

Customer satisfaction: This is the degree to which the product perceived performance matches the customer’s expectation. Value is the customer’s estimate of the products overall capacity to satisfy his needs. A customer may be a person or organization actually making the purchasing decision not necessarily the consumer or user.

Exchange: It is the act of obtaining a desired product from someone by offering something in return. The following conditions must be satisfied for exchange potential to exist:

(a) There are two parties at least.

(b) Each party has something of value to the other.

(c) Each party is capable of communication and delivery.

(d) Each party is free to accept or reject the offer.

(e) Each party believes it is appropriate to deal with the other party.

Marketing and selling: Marketing starts immediately the idea is hatched to provide useful goods to the society ever before the product is available while selling starts only when the product is available. Marketing continues even after the product has been sold out to the consumers while selling stops immediately the product is in the hand of the consumer and the money has been collected. Marketing properly considers the interest of consumers by investigating their needs and ensuring that the product perfectly matches the needs Therefore, marketing is consumer-oriented. Selling is interested in satisfying the needs of the producer by focusing on supplying any product to the market that pleases the produce without caring if the product is compatible with the consumers’ needs. Therefore, selling is seller-oriented.

Marketing is a comprehensive total system of business activities while selling is an integral part of marketing. However, marketing will fail if the goods and services made available are not sold. Selling is therefore the last link to the consumers in marketing interaction between producer and consumers. In addition, selling will fail to click unless other marketing activities such as advertising, sales promotion are used to support selling.

Marketing is the combination of many activities among which are product, price, promotion and place (4Ps) used to fully satisfy consumer over a long time. Selling is an aspect of promotion aimed at converting the companies’ products into money within a short period of time whether consumers are fully satisfied or not is not the major concern. Selling is the part of marketing which deals with persuading customers to buy the products that meet their needs.

Marketing aims to match the company’s resources to consumers’ wants and this it does by applying 4Ps or marketing mix. Selling works toward obtaining order from consumers through good presentation of the product.

Four key concepts in marketing are Needs, wants, demand, product and customer satisfaction.

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