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Marketing is the process associated with promoting for sale goods or services. It is considered a "social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and values with others." It is an integrated process through which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.

Marketing is used to create the customer, to keep the customer and to satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that marketing management is one of the major components of business management. The evolution of marketing was caused due to mature markets and overcapacities in the last decades. Companies then shifted the focus from production more to the customer in order to stay profitable.

The term marketing concept holds that achieving organisational goals depends on knowing the needs and wants of target markets and delivering the desired satisfactions. It proposes that in order to satisfy its organizational objectives, an organization should anticipate the needs and wants of consumers and satisfy these more effectively than competitors.

Further definitions

Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association [AMA] as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to a market to buy or sell goods or services. Seen from a systems point of view, sales process engineering views marketing as "a set of processes that are interconnected and interdependent with other functions, whose methods can be improved using a variety of relatively new approaches."

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." A different concept is the value-based marketing which states the role of marketing to contribute to increasing shareholder value. In this context, marketing is defined as "the management process that seeks to maximise returns to shareholders by developing relationships with valued customers and creating a competitive advantage."

Marketing practice tended to be seen as a creative industry in the past, which included advertising, distribution and selling. However, because the academic study of marketing makes extensive use of social sciences, psychology, sociology, mathematics, economics, anthropology and neuroscience, the profession is now widely recognized as a science, allowing numerous universities to offer Master-of-Science (MSc) programmes. The overall process starts with marketing research and goes through market segmentation, business planning and execution, ending with pre and post-sales promotional activities. It is also related to many of the creative arts. The marketing literature is also adept at re-inventing itself and its vocabulary according to the times and the culture.

Marketing orientations

An orientation, in the marketing context, relates to a perception or attitude a firm holds towards its product or service, essentially concerning consumers and end-users.

Earlier approaches

The marketing orientation evolved from earlier orientations namely the production orientation, the product orientation and the selling orientation.

Orientation Profit driver Western European timeframe Description
Production Production methods until the 1950s A firm focusing on a production orientation specializes in producing as much as possible of a given product or service. Thus, this signifies a firm exploiting economies of scale, until the minimum efficient scale is reached. A production orientation may be deployed when a high demand for a product or service exists, coupled with a good certainty that consumer tastes do not rapidly alter (similar to the sales orientation).
Product Quality of the product until the 1960s A firm employing a product orientation is chiefly concerned with the quality of its own product. A firm would also assume that as long as its product was of a high standard, people would buy and consume the product.
Selling Selling methods 1950s and 1960s A firm using a sales orientation focuses primarily on the selling/promotion of a particular product, and not determining new consumer desires as such. Consequently, this entails simply selling an already existing product, and using promotion techniques to attain the highest sales possible.

Such an orientation may suit scenarios in which a firm holds dead stock, or otherwise sells a product that is in high demand, with little likelihood of changes in consumer tastes diminishing demand.
Marketing Needs and wants of customers 1970 to present day The marketing orientation is perhaps the most common orientation used in contemporary marketing. It involves a firm essentially basing its marketing plans around the marketing concept, and thus supplying products to suit new consumer tastes. As an example, a firm would employ market research to gauge consumer desires, use R&D to develop a product attuned to the revealed information, and then utilize promotion techniques to ensure persons know the product exists.

Product orientation

In a product innovation approach, the company pursues product innovation, then tries to develop a market for the product. Product innovation drives the process and marketing research is conducted primarily to ensure that profitable market segment(s) exist for the innovation. The rationale is that customers may not know what options will be available to them in the future so we should not expect them to tell us what they will buy in the future. However, marketers can aggressively over-pursue product innovation and try to overcapitalize on a niche. When pursuing a product innovation approach, marketers must ensure that they have a varied and multi-tiered approach to product innovation. It is claimed that if Thomas Edison depended on marketing research he would have produced larger candles rather than inventing light bulbs. Many firms, such as research and development focused companies, successfully focus on product innovation. Many purists doubt whether this is really a form of marketing orientation at all, because of the ex post status of consumer research. Some even question whether it is marketing.

Contemporary approaches

Recent approaches in marketing is the relationship marketing with focus on the customer, the business marketing or industrial marketing with focus on an organization or institution and the social marketing with focus on benefits to the society. New forms of marketing also uses the internet and are therefore called internet marketing or more generally e-marketing, online marketing, desktop advertising or affiliate marketing. It tries to perfect the segmentation strategy used in traditional marketing. It targets its audience more precisely, and is sometimes called personalized marketing or one-to-one marketing.

Orientation Profit driver Western European timeframe Description
Relationship marketing / Relationship management Building and keeping good customer relations 1960s to present day Emphasis is placed on the whole relationship between suppliers and customers. The aim is to give the best possible attention, customer services and therefore build customer loyalty.
Business marketing / Industrial marketing Building and keeping relationships between organizations 1980s to present day In this context marketing takes place between businesses or organizations. The product focus lies on industrial goods or capital goods than consumer products or end products. A different form of marketing activities like promotion, advertising and communication to the customer is used.
Social marketing Benefit to society 1990s to present day Similar characteristics as marketing orientation but with the added proviso that there will be a curtailment on any harmful activities to society, in either product, production, or selling methods.

Customer orientation

A firm in the market economy survives by producing goods that persons are willing and able to buy. Consequently, ascertaining consumer demand is vital for a firm's future viability and even existence as a going concern. Many companies today have a customer focus (or market orientation). This implies that the company focuses its activities and products on consumer demands. Generally there are three ways of doing this: the customer-driven approach, the sense of identifying market changes and the product innovation approach.

In the consumer-driven approach, consumer wants are the drivers of all strategic marketing decisions. No strategy is pursued until it passes the test of consumer research. Every aspect of a market offering, including the nature of the product itself, is driven by the needs of potential consumers. The starting point is always the consumer. The rationale for this approach is that there is no point spending R&D funds developing products that people will not buy. History attests to many products that were commercial failures in spite of being technological breakthroughs.

A formal approach to this customer-focused marketing is known as SIVA (Solution, Information, Value, Access). This system is basically the four Ps renamed and reworded to provide a customer focus. The SIVA Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known 4Ps supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing management.

Product Solution
Promotion Information
Price Value
Placement Access

Organizational orientation

In this sense, a firm's marketing department is often seen as of prime importance within the functional level of an organization. Information from an organization's marketing department would be used to guide the actions of other departments within the firm. As an example, a marketing department could ascertain (via marketing research) that consumers desired a new type of product, or a new usage for an existing product. With this in mind, the marketing department would inform the R&D department to create a prototype of a product/service based on consumers' new desires.

The production department would then start to manufacture the product, while the marketing department would focus on the promotion, distribution, pricing, etc. of the product. Additionally, a firm's finance department would be consulted, with respect to securing appropriate funding for the development, production and promotion of the product. Inter-departmental conflicts may occur, should a firm adhere to the marketing orientation. Production may oppose the installation, support and servicing of new capital stock, which may be needed to manufacture a new product. Finance may oppose the required capital expenditure, since it could undermine a healthy cash flow for the organization.

Mutually beneficial exchange

A further marketing orientation is the focus on a mutually beneficial exchange. In a transaction in the market economy, a firm gains revenue, which thus leads to more profits/market share/sales. A consumer on the other hand gains the satisfaction of a need/want, utility, reliability and value for money from the purchase of a product or service. As no one has to buy goods from any one supplier in the market economy, firms must entice consumers to buy goods with contemporary marketing ideals.

Herd behavior

Herd behavior in marketing is used to explain the dependencies of customers' mutual behavior. The Economist reported a recent conference in Romemarker on the subject of the simulation of adaptive human behavior. It shared mechanisms to increase impulse buying and get people "to buy more by playing on the herd instinct." The basic idea is that people will buy more of products that are seen to be popular, and several feedback mechanisms to get product popularity information to consumers are mentioned, including smart card technology and the use of Radio Frequency Identification Tag technology. A "swarm-moves" model was introduced by a Florida Institute of Technologymarker researcher, which is appealing to supermarkets because it can "increase sales without the need to give people discounts."

Other recent studies on the "power of social influence" include an "artificial music market in which some 14,000 people downloaded previously unknown songs" (Columbia University, New York); a Japanesemarker chain of convenience stores which orders its products based on "sales data from department stores and research companies;" a Massachusettsmarker company exploiting knowledge of social networking to improve sales; and online retailers who are increasingly informing consumers about "which products are popular with like-minded consumers" (e.g., Amazon, eBay).

Further orientations

Marketing research

Marketing research involves conducting research to support marketing activities, and the statistical interpretation of data into information. This information is then used by managers to plan marketing activities, gauge the nature of a firm's marketing environment and attain information from suppliers. Marketing researchers use statistical methods such as quantitative research, qualitative research, hypothesis tests, Chi-squared tests, linear regression, correlations, frequency distributions, poisson distributions, binomial distributions, etc. to interpret their findings and convert data into information. The marketing research process spans a number of stages including the definition of a problem, development of a research plan, collecting and interpretation of data and disseminating information formally in form of a report. The task of marketing research is to provide management with relevant, accurate, reliable, valid, and current information.

A distinction should be made between marketing research and market research. Market research pertains to research in a given market. As an example, a firm may conduct research in a target market, after selecting a suitable market segment. In contrast, marketing research relates to all research conducted within marketing. Thus, market research is a subset of marketing research.

Marketing environment

The term marketing environment relates to all of the factors (whether internal, external, direct or indirect) that affect a firm's marketing decision-making or planning and is subject of the marketing research. A firm's marketing environment consists of two main areas, which are:

Macro environment: On the macro environment a firm holds only little control. It consists of a variety of external factors that manifest on a large (or macro) scale. These are typically economic, social, political or technological phenomena. A common method of assessing a firm's macro-environment is via a PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Ecological) analysis. Within a PESTLE analysis, a firm would analyze national political issues, culture and climate, key macroeconomic conditions, health and indicators (such as economic growth, inflation, unemployment, etc.), social trends/attitudes, and the nature of technology's impact on its society and the business processes within the society.
Micro environment: A firm holds a greater amount (though not necessarily total) control of the micro environment. It comprises factors pertinent to the firm itself, or stakeholders closely connected with the firm or company. A firm's micro environment typically spans:
* Customers/consumers
* Employees
* Suppliers
* The Media
By contrast to the macro environment, an organization holds a greater degree of control over these factors.

Market segmentation

Market segmentation pertains to the division of a market of consumers into persons with similar needs and wants. As an example, if using Kellogg's cereals in this instance, Frosties are marketed to children. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are marketed to adults. Both goods aforementioned denote two products which are marketed to two distinct groups of persons, both with like needs, traits, and wants.

The purpose for market segmentation is conducted for two main issues. First, a segmentation allows a better allocation of a firm's finite resources. A firm only possesses a certain amount of resources. Accordingly, it must make choices (and appreciate the related costs) in servicing specific groups of consumers. Furthermore the diversified tastes of the contemporary Western consumers can be served better. With more diversity in the tastes of modern consumers, firms are taking noting the benefit of servicing a multiplicity of new markets.

Market segmentation can be defined in terms of the STP acronym, meaning Segment, Target and Position.

Segment: Segmentation involves the initial splitting up of consumers into persons of like needs/wants/tastes. Four commonly used criteria are used for segmentation, which include:
* Geographical (e.g. country, region, city, town, etc.)
* Psychographic (i.e. personality traits or character traits which influence consumer behaviour)
* Demographic (e.g. age, gender, socio-economic class, etc.)
* Behavioural (e.g. brand loyalty, usage rate, etc.)

Target: Once a segment has been identified, a firm must ascertain whether the segment is beneficial for them to service. The DAMP acronym, meaning Discernible, Accessible, Measurable and Profitable, are used as criteria to gauge the viability of a target market. DAMP is explained in further detail below:
* Discernable - How a segment can be differentiated from other segments.
* Accessible - How a segment can be accessed via Marketing Communications produced by a firm.
* Measurable - Can the segment be quantified and its size determined?
* Profitable - Can a sufficient return on investment be attained from a segment's servicing?
The next step in the targeting process is the level of differentiation involved in a segment serving. Three modes of differentiation exist, which are commonly applied by firms. These are:
* Undifferentiated - Where a company produces a like product for all of a market segment.
* Differentiated - In which a firm produced slight modifications of a product within a segment.
* Niche - In which an organisation forges a product to satisfy a specialised target market.

Position: Positioning concerns how to position a product in the minds of consumers. A firm often performs this by producing a perceptual map, which denotes products produced in its industry according to how consumers perceive their price and quality. From a product's placing on the map, a firm would tailor its marketing communications to suit meld with the product's perception among consumers.

Marketing information system

A marketing information system (MKIS) is an information system that is commonly used by marketing management to analyse and view information pertaining to marketing activities. As the label suggests, an MKIS is a computer-based information system therefore used to input, store, process and output marketing information. An MKIS spans four subset components, which are detailed below:

Marketing intelligence system: This sub-system stores information gathered from a firm's marketing intelligence activities. Marketing intelligence consists of actions a firm would undertake within its own market or industry, geared towards information existing within its markets. This can be obtained via communication with suppliers, consumers or other bodies within a market.
Internal processes system: The internal processes system catalogues all internal marketing processes within a firm.
Marketing research system: This section of the overall system contains data from a firm's marketing research activities.
Analytical system: The analytical system is the only sub-system which does not store data or information. It's function is to analyse and process data from the other three systems, into reliable, timely and relevant information for the perusal and use of marketing management.

Types of marketing research

Marketing research, as a sub-set aspect of marketing activities, can be divided into the following parts:

  • Primary research (also known as field research), which involves the conduction and compilation of research for the purpose is was intended.
  • Secondary research (also referred to as desk research), is initially conducted for one purpose, but often used to support another purpose or end goal.

By these definitions, an example of primary research would be market research conducted into health foods, which is used solely to ascertain the needs/wants of the target market for health foods. Secondary research, again according to the above definition, would be research pertaining to health foods, but used by a firm wishing to develop an unrelated product.

Primary research is often expensive to prepare, collect and interpret from data to information. Nonetheless, while secondary research is relatively inexpensive, it often can become outdated and outmoded, given it is used for a purpose other than for which is was intended. Primary research can also be broken down into quantitative research and qualitative research, which as the labels suggest, pertain to numerical and non-numerical research methods, techniques. The appropriateness of each mode of research depends on whether data can be quantified (quantitative research), or whether subjective, non-numeric or abstract concepts are required to be studied (qualitative research).

There also exists additional modes of marketing research, which are:

  • Exploratory research, pertaining to research that investigates an assumption.
  • Descriptive research, which as the label suggests, describes "what is".
  • Predictive research, meaning research conducted to predict a future occurrence.
  • Conclusive research, for the purpose of deriving a conclusion via a research process.

Marketing planning

The area of marketing planning involves forging a plan for a firm's marketing activities. A marketing plan can also pertain to a specific product, as well as to an organisation's overall marketing strategy. Generally speaking, an organisation's marketing planning process is derived from its overall business strategy. Thus, when top management are devising the firm's strategic direction or mission, the intended marketing activities are incorporated into this plan. Within the overall strategic marketing plan, the marketing planning process contains the following stages:
  • Mission statement
  • Corporate objectives - These are the broad-based objectives resulting from the firm's mission statement.
  • Marketing audit - a marketing audit is an audit of all marketing processes within a firm. It's purpose is to highlight which areas require improvement, and which ones require modification, prior to the establishment of the marketing plan.
  • SWOT analysis
  • Assumptions arising from the marketing audit and SWOT analysis
  • Marketing objectives derived from the assumptions
  • An estimation of the expected results of the objectives
  • Identification of alternative plans or mixes
  • Budgeting for the marketing plan
  • A first-year implementation program

There are several levels of marketing objectives within an organization. As stated previously, the senior management of a firm would formulate a general business strategy for a firm. However, this general business strategy would be interpreted and implemented in different contexts throughout the firm.

Corporate: Corporate marketing objectives are typically broad-based in nature, and pertain to the general vision of the firm in the short, medium or long-term. As an example, if one pictures a group of companies (or a conglomerate), top management may state that sales for the group should increase by 25% over a ten year period.
Strategic business unit: An SBU is an autonomous entity within a firm, which produces a unique product/service. It could be a single product, a product line, or a subsidiary of a larger group of companies. The SBU would embrace the corporate strategy, and attune it to its own particular industry. For instance, an SBU may partake in the sports goods industry. It thus would ascertain how it would attain additional sales of sports goods, in order to satisfy the overall business strategy.
Functional: The functional level relates to departments within the SBUs, such as marketing, finance, HR, production, etc. The functional level would adopt the SBU's strategy and determine how to accomplish the SBU's own objectives in its market. To use the example of the sports goods industry again, the marketing department would draw up marketing plans, strategies and communications to help the SBU achieve its marketing aims.

New Product Development (NPD)

NPD relates to, as the label denotes, the development of a new to market product. The stages of the process are so:

  • Idea Generation
  • Idea Screening
  • Concept Development
  • Business Analysis
  • Market Testing
  • Commercialisation

Given the resources placed in the development of a product, a firm must gauge the economic viability of a good, coupled with the viability of the notion of the good, prior to releasing it onto the

Product Life Cycle

The Product Life Cycle or PLC is a tool used by marketing managers to gauge the progress of a product, especially relating to sales or revenue accrued over time. The PLC is based on a few key assumptions, including that a given product would possess an introduction, growth, maturity and decline stage. Furthermore it is assumed that no product lasts perpetually on the market. Last but not least a firm must employ differing strategies, according to where a product is on the PLC.

Introduction: In this stage, a product is launched onto the market. To stimulate growth of sales/revenue, use of advertising may be high, in order to heighten awareness of the product in question.
Growth: The product's sales/revenue is increasing, which may stimulate more marketing communications to sustain sales. More entrants enter into the market, to reap the apparent high profits that the industry is producing.
Maturity: A product's sales start to level off, and an increasing number of entrants to a market produce price falls for the product. Firms may utilise sales promotions to raise sales.
Decline: Demand for a good begins to taper off, and the firm may opt to discontinue manufacture of the product. This is so, if revenue for the product comes from efficiency savings in production, over actual sales of a good/service. However, if a product services a niche market, or is complementary to another product, it may continue manufacture of the product, despite a low level of sales/revenue being accrued.

Marketing strategy

The field of marketing strategy encompasses the strategy involved in the management of a given product.

A given firm may hold numerous products in the marketplace, spanning numerous and sometimes wholly unrelated industries. Accordingly, a plan is required in order to manage effectively such products. Such decisions consist of the following decisions:

  • Should we (,i.e. the firm) enter a market/industry?
  • Should we increase funding for our product(s)?
  • Should we maintain funding for our product(s)?
  • Should we divest or cease production of our product(s)?

Evidently, a company needs to weigh up and ascertain how to utilise effectively its finite resources. As an example, a start-up car manufacturing firm would face little success, should it attempt to rival immediately Toyota, Ford, Nissan or any other large global car maker. Moreover, a product may be reaching the end of its life-cycle. Thus, the issue of divest, or a ceasing of production may be made. With regard to the aforesaid questions, each scenario requires a unique marketing strategy to be employed. Below are listed some prominent marketing strategy models, which seek to propose means to answer the preceding questions.

Ansoff Matrix

The Ansoff Matrix was devised by Igor Ansoff, a Russian-born American pioneer of strategic planning.

Ansoff proposed his Matrix, as a means of identifying how a firm should market its product in differing scenarios. The labels are listed below:

  • X-axis
  • Existing markets
  • Existing products

  • Y-axis
  • New markets
  • New products

Four quadrants can then be determined, which are:

  • Market penetration
  • Diversification
  • Market development
  • Product Development

Each aforesaid category provides a unique marketing scenario, in which Ansoff denoted a given strategy.

Marketing mix

In the early 1960s, Professor Neil Borden at Harvard Business Schoolmarker identified a number of company performance actions that can influence the consumer decision to purchase goods or services. Borden suggested that all those actions of the company represented a “Marketing Mix”. Professor E. Jerome McCarthy, at the Michigan State Universitymarker in the early 1960s, suggested that the Marketing Mix contained 4 elements product, price, place and promotion.

Product: The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support.
Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary; it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, or attention. Methods of setting prices optimally are in the domain of pricing science. A number of modes of pricing techniques exist, which span:

  • Elasticities (whether Price Elasticity of Demand, Cross Elasticity of Demand, or Income Elasticity of Demand)
  • Market skimming pricing
  • Market penetration pricing

Elasticities are a microeconomic concept, which gauges how elastic demand is for a given good/service. In a marketing context, its usefulness relates to the suitable level at which a product can be priced, in accordance with price, a product's complements and substitutes, and the level of income a consumer possesses.

Market skimming pertains to firm releasing a good in a "first to market" scenario. As an example, picture a company which releases a new type of personal media playing system. It may set the good at an initially high level, but reduce it over time, once the level of demand gradually rises. Market skimming is best operable within a first to market scenario, since there would be few competitors within the company's industry. This pricing strategy is also best implemented within a market of high entry barriers (such as a monopoly or an oligopoly). This is so since the high barriers to entry discourage competitors into the industry for the product.

Market penetration concerns pricing policies for late entrants to a market. As another example, a company could release a product into a market years after it is initially introduced, but at an artificially low price in order to stimulate demand. The result of such a pricing strategy would be to draw consumers from competitors and into purchasing its own product. Market penetration, in contrast to market skimming, best functions within a market form with low barriers to entry (such as perfect competition or monopolistic competition). Low barriers to entry facilitates a company's ability to sell goods at a price lower than its market clearing point.

Placement (or distribution): This refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point-of-sale placement or retailing. This third P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc. also referring to how the environment in which the product is sold in can affect sales.
Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, including promotional education, publicity, and personal selling. Branding refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.

These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix, which a marketer can use to craft a marketing plan. The four Ps model is most useful when marketing low value consumer products. Industrial products, services, high value consumer products require adjustments to this model. Services marketing must account for the unique nature of services.

Industrial or B2B marketing must account for the long term contractual agreements that are typical in supply chain transactions. Relationship marketing attempts to do this by looking at marketing from a long term relationship perspective rather than individual transactions. As a counter to this, Morgan, in Riding the Waves of Change (Jossey-Bass, 1988), suggests that one of the greatest limitations of the 4 Ps approach "is that it unconsciously emphasizes the inside–out view (looking from the company outwards), whereas the essence of marketing should be the outside–in approach".

In order to recognize the different aspects of selling services, as opposed to Products, a further three Ps were added to make a range of Seven Ps for service industries:

  • Process - the way in which orders are handled, customers are satisfied and the service is delivered.
  • Physical Evidence - is tangible evidence of the service customers will receive (for example a holiday brochure).
  • People - the people meeting and dealing with the customers.

As markets have become more satisfied, the 7 Ps have become relevant to those companies selling products, as well as those solely involved with services: customers now differentiate between sellers of goods by the service they receive in the process from the people involved. Some authors cite a further P - Packaging - this is thought by many to be part of Product, but in certain markets (Japan, China for example) and with certain products (perfume, cosmetics) the packaging of a product has a greater importance - maybe even than the product itself.

Marketing communications

Marketing communications is defined by actions a firm takes to communicate with end-users, consumers and external parties. A simple definition of marketing communication is "the means by which a supplier of goods, services, values and/or ideas represent themselves to their target audience with the goal of stimulating dialog leading to better commercial or other relationships". Marcoms is a frequently used short-form for marketing communications. Marketing communications can be seen as a part of the promotional mix, as the exact nature of how to apply marketing communications depends on the nature of the product in question. Accordingly, a given product would require a unique communications mix, in order to convey successfully information to consumers. Some products may require a stronger emphasis on personal sales, while others may need more focus on advertising.

The process in which the differing modes of marketing communications are complemented and synthesised is called integrated marketing communications . It is used in order to create a single and coherent marketing communications process. As an example, a firm can advertise the existence of a sales promotion, via a newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, etc. The same promotion can also be communicated via direct marketing, or personal selling. The aim of IMC is to lessen confusion among a product's target market, and to lessen cost for the firm. Several different subsets of marketing communications can be distinguished.

Personal selling: Oral presentation given by a salesperson who approaches individuals or a group of potential customers. Personal selling is often used in business to business (,i.e. "B2B") settings, in addition to business to consumer (,i.e. "B2C") scenarios in which a personal and face to face medium is required for the communication of the product. In B2B situations, personal selling is preferred if the product is technical in nature. Personal selling can compose of the use of presentations, in order to convey the benefits of a firm's good/service. In B2C settings, personal selling is utilised if the product requires to be tailored to the unique needs of an individual. Examples of this include car (and other vehicle) sales, financial services (such as insurance or investment), etc. Personal selling involves the following points:
* Live, interactive relationship
* Personal interest
* Attention and response
* Interesting presentation
* Clear and thorough.

Sales promotion: Short-term incentives to encourage buying of products.
* Instant appeal
* Anxiety to sell
An example is coupons or a sale. People are given an incentive to buy, but this does not build customer loyalty or encourage future repeat buys. A major drawback of sales promotion is that it is easily copied by competition. It cannot be used as a sustainable source of differentiation. Sales promotions are typically used to heighten sales/revenue, especially if a firm holds dead/excess stock, or if the market for a product has matured.

Public relations: Public Relations (or PR, as an acronym) is the use of media tools by a firm in order to promote goodwill from an organization to a target market segment, or other consumers of a firm's good/service. PR stems from the fact that a firm cannot seek to antagonize or inflame its market base, due to incurring a lessened demand for its good/service. Organizations undertake PR in order to assure consumers, and to forestall negative perceptions towards it. PR can span:
* Interviews
* Speeches/Presentations
* Corporate literature, such as financial statements, brochures, etc.
Publicity: Publicity involves attaining space in media, without having to pay directly for such coverage. As an example, an organization may have the launch of a new product covered by a newspaper or TV news segment. This benefits the firm in question since it is making consumers aware of its product, without necessarily paying a newspaper or television station to cover the event.
Advertising: Advertising occurs when a firm directly pays a media channel to publicize its product. Common examples of this include TV and radio adverts, billboards, branding, sponsorship, etc.

Direct marketing: Direct marketing is a process where a firm uses communication channels to attain and retain consumers for its product. It is a comparatively new mode of marketing communications (when compared with forms such as advertising, sales promotions, personal selling, etc.) Direct marketing involves carefully seeking out persons within a target market, and communicating to them about the nature of a product. This process is signified by brochures sent via the mail, e-mails from companies, etc. It can also constitute the use of telemarketing, in order to communicate with a target market.

International marketing

International marketing can be defined as the application of marketing strategies, planning and activities to external or foreign markets. International marketing is of consequence to firms which operate in countries and territories other than their home country or the country in which they are registered in and have their head office. The factors influencing international marketing are culture, political and legal factors, a country's level of economic development and the mode of involvement in foreign markets. The reasons why a firm would engage in international markets are numerous, including the maturity within domestic markets or increasing general market share, sales or revenue.


Social norms, attitudes towards buying foreign goods, and the working practices of foreign markets are all cultural factors when opting to invest in foreign markets. Social norms affect business practices, since social norms are one factor in the demand for a product. In the tobacco industry, for example, adolescents in developing countries are often the focus for the marketing and advertisement campaigns due to their vulnerability. Tobacco companies will often use symbols and fabrications in western society associated with smoking as a means of attracting these prospective consumers. A company marketing pork would experience less sales in an Islamic country, than it would in China (which is the world's largest consumer of pork). In Western societies, sexuality and sexual topics are often used in marketing communications (such as advertising, for instance). However, in a comparatively more conservative society (such as India for instance) social attitudes may shun the use of sexual topics to advertise products.

Political and legal factors

The following political/legal factors are of bearing in international marketing:

  • Government attitude to business
  • The level of governmental regulations, red-tape and bureaucracy
  • Monetary regulations
  • Political stability

Not all governments are as open to foreign investment as others, nor are all governments equally favourable to business. Typically, a firm may opt to invest in an economy in which the government is more inclined to support business activity in a country. In other words, the "business-friendliness" of a foreign government is paramount in this instance.

Additionally, some economies are more "liberal" and less regulated, by comparison to other economies. Excessive regulations can be a hindrance on a firm, since they contribute to additional costs to a firm. Conversely, regulations can aid in assisting firms, by easing the path of doing business. A firm seeking to invest in foreign markets must gauge the regulatory arrangement of the economy it is looking to invest in. Monetary regulations, akin to the above points, can hinder the ability to do business. A high level of monetary regulations can hamper foreign investment within an economy.

Lastly, the political stability of a country is also a key factor in foreign investment decisions. Nation-states experiencing continual coup-d'etat can appear unattractive to invest in, since the continual changes in political system can compound the inherent risk in investing. Typically, a firm would opt to invest in a country which had a stable mode of government, in which handovers of power were peaceful and non-violent. Even if a country is not a liberal democracy, the level of political stability within a country may supersede the political system (or, more accurately, the perceived immorality of a government's policies/constitutional structure) of a given nation-state.

Level of economic development

The level of economic development of an economy can affect foreign investment decisions. Within the field of developmental economics, differing modes of economic development can be identified. These are:

A developing economy has a comparatively low general living standard (as defined by material lifestyle/level of material possession). Moreover, a developing economy may also be at subsistence level, or possess a large share of its Gross Domestic Product in primary industries. Accordingly, a developing country would not be a profitable market for high-end consumer goods, or fast-moving consumer goods commonly found in developed/advanced economies. Exports of machinery (related to the extraction and processing of raw materials) may be viable for a developing economy, due to primary industries possessing a large share of national income.

A newly-industrialised economy is an economy which has experienced high recent economic growth, and thus has experienced a rise in general living standards. Coupled with the rapid economic growth, the emergence of a middle class leads to the development of a consumerist culture in the society. A newly-industrialised economy would consequently possess a small general demand for high-end consumer goods, but not to the extent of an advanced economy. A newly-industralised economy may export manufactured goods to other countries, and often possess secondary sector industries as a high percentage of its economic output.

An industrialised economy is typically identified via a high Gross Domestic Product per capita, a high United Nations Human Development Index rating and a high level of tertiary/quaternary/quinary sector industries in the context of its national income. Thus, the high general living standard denotes the highest generalised demand for goods and services within all modes of economic development. Commonly, developed/advanced economies are high exporters of high-tech manufactured goods, as well as service sector products (such as financial services, for instance).

Other factors in international marketing include:


The greater economic ties/links between economies has presented a prime opportunity for firms trading internationally. The advantages to an international marketing firm are that regulations and costs are lower, which can promote the use of outsourcing to foreign economies. The disadvantages to a firm in a globalised economy include negative public relations resulting from the exploitation of low cost labour, concerns surrounding environmental degradation, etc.

Regional trading blocks

Within the past few decades, numerous regional trading blocks have emerged, as a means of encouraging and easing closer economic ties between neighbouring countries. Common examples of such blocks include the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Other examples are:

  • CARICOM (the Caribbean Community)
  • EFTA (European Free Trade Association)
  • ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States)

Regional economic blocks often permit free (and thus less inhibited/restricted) trade between member nation-states. As such, a British firm would find trading in Germany less problematic (and vice versa, as both the United Kingdom and Germany are both EU member states), by comparison with a British firm trading with Mexico or Thailand.

Such trading blocks can also, conversely, place restrictions/regulations on trade. To use the earlier example of the EU again, the EU may place regulations on the packaging, labelling and distribution of a product. Consequently, a UK firm trading in Germany would have to adhere to the European Union regulations, in order to trade legitimately within the European Union.

Green Marketing

Green marketing can be defined as the marketing of products which are environmentally sound. The notion of green marketing is a comparatively new one within general marketing thought, as it has chiefly grown in acceptance since the 1990s. Nonetheless, as a contemporary branch of marketing thought, it can be seen as one of the fastest growing areas of marketing principles.

The rationale for the devising and emergence of green marketing is thus:

  • A higher quantity of persons willing and able to buy green products.
  • Heightened awareness among consumers, concerning the potentially negative aspects of global climate change.

Green marketers thus target persons who are more environmentally conscious. The segmentation and market research processes of numerous firms denote that the target market for green products has grown widely in numerous years. Accordingly, green marketers are willing to supply what persons are willing and able to buy.

It can also be stated that green products are often more expensive than "non-green" products, due perhaps to higher production costs. Nevertheless, green consumers are typically willing to pay higher prices, as a means of doing their part to safeguard the environment of the planet Earth.

Some drawbacks of green marketing are thus:

  • The ideal of "green washing"
  • Disputes and contention surrounding the exact meaning of a green product

Green washing pertains to when a firm misleadingly produces a product, with ostensible green characteristics, which is not actually environmentally sound. In addition to evident ethical issues concerning deceit, such conduct can undermine an organisation's drive to be deemed a "green" company. Accordingly, a firm must be sincere in its efforts to be environmentally sound, regarding its environmental practices and policies.

Moreover, the extent and nature of a green product can be a moot point. To some, a product must be wholly green to be viewed as green. To others, a product may only possess a reduction in environmentally harmful inputs to be worthy of being labelled green. Nonetheless, a firm can enhance its green marketing efforts if it persuades consumers that the purchase of green products can enhance environmental protection.

Buying behaviour

A marketing firm, in the course of its operations, must ascertain the nature of buying behaviour, if it is to market properly its product. In order to entice and persuade a consumer to buy a product, the psychological/behavioural process of how a given product is purchased.

Buying behaviour consists of two prime strands, namely being consumer (B2C) behaviour and organisational/industrial behavior(B2B).

B2C buying behaviour

This mode of behaviour concerns consumers, in the purchase of a given product. The B2C buying process is as thus :

  • Need/want recognition
  • Information search
  • Search for alternatives (to satisfy need/want)
  • Purchase decision
  • Post-purchase evaluation

As an example, if one pictures a pair of sneakers, the desire for a pair of sneakers would be followed by an information search on available types/brands. This may include perusing media outlets, but most commonly consists of information gathered from family and friends.

If the information search is insufficient, the consumer may search for alternative means to satisfy the need/want. In this case, this may be buying leather shoes, sandals, etc. The purchase decision is then made, in which the consumer actually buys the product.

Following this stage, a post-purchase evaluation is often conducted, comprising an appraisal of the value/utility brought by the purchase of the sneakers. If the value/utility is high, then a repeat purchase may be bought. This could then develop into consumer loyalty, for the firm producing the pair of sneakers.

B2B buying behaviour

B2B buying behaviour relates to organisational/industrial buying behaviour. B2C and B2B behaviour are not exact, as similarities and differences exist. Some of the key differences are listed below:

  • Consumer behaviour
  • Low in monetary value
  • Low in volume/mass
  • Swift purchase
  • Transaction marketing-based
  • Single buying instances
  • Number of consumer is higher
  • Individual/market-based demand

  • Organisational behaviour
  • High in monetary value
  • High in volume/mass
  • Lengthy purchase process
  • Relationship marketing-based
  • Multiple buying instances
  • Number of consumers is lesser
  • Demand is consumer derived (in that firms purchase goods to ultimately meet consumer demand)

The organisational buying process is thush:

  • Problem recognition
  • Need description
  • Product specification
  • Supplier search
  • Proposal solicitation
  • Supplier selection
  • Order routine specification
  • Supplier performance review

In a straight rebuy, the fourth, fifth and sixth stages are omitted. In a modified rebuy scenario, the fifth and sixth stages are precluded. In a new buy, all aforementioned stages are conducted.

The Decision Making Unit (DMU)

The DMU, in other terms, can be labelled as the Purchasing or Procurement departments of an organisation Accordingly, it is responsible for the purchasing of organisational items and assets. The persons comprising a DMU are as thus:

  • Gatekeepers
  • Users
  • Buyers
  • Decision Makers
  • Influencers
  • Initiators

Technology and marketing

Marketing management can also note the importance of technology, within the scope of its marketing efforts. The utilisation of technology can span the following points:

Enhanced marketing research practices

Computer-based information systems can be employed, aiding in a better processing and storage of data. Marketing researchers can use such systems to devise better methods of converting data into information, and for the creation of enhanced data gathering methods.

Support for a firm's MKIS (Marketing Information System)

The four elements of a firm's MKIS can be further developed via technology. Information technology can aid in improving an MKIS' software and hardware components, to improve a company's marketing decision-making process.

A greater demand for technologically developed products

In recent years, the netbook personal computer has gained significant market share among laptops, largely due to its more user-friendly size and portability. Information technology typically progress at a fast rate, leading to marketing managers being cognizant of the latest technological developments. Moreover, the launch of smartphones into the cellphone market is commonly derived from a demand among consumers for more technologically advanced products. A firm can lose out to competitors, should it refrain from noting the latest technological occurrences in its industry.

The global nature of technology

Technological advancements can facilitate lesser barriers between countries and regions. Via using the World Wide Web, firms can quickly dispatch information from one country to another, without much restriction. Prior to the mass usage of the Internet, such transfers of information would have taken longer to send, especially if via snail mail, telex, etc.

Areas of marketing specialization

See also

Related lists and outlines

See outline of marketing for an extensive list of the marketing articles.

Marketing acronyms

Acronym Meaning
AIDA Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (Satisfaction)
B2B Business-to-Business
B2C Business-to-Consumer
B2G Business-to-Government
CLV Customer Lifetime Value
CRM Cause-Related Marketing
CRM Customer Relationship Management
DAMP Discernible, Accessible, Measurable, Profitable
DMU Decision Making Unit
IMC Integrated Marketing Communications
IMC Internet Marketing Conference
LCV Lifetime Customer Value
LTV Lifetime Value
MKIS Marketing Information System
PLC Product Life Cycle
PLCM Product Lifecycle Management
SIVA Solution, Information, Value, Access
STP Segment, Target, Position


  1. "Marketing Management: Strategies and Programs", Guiltinan et al., McGraw Hill/Irwin, 1996
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