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What are the various Functions of Marketing?
What is Marketing?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society. Over the years, marketing has transformed from being print and TV media-dependent to relying more on the internet because of the reach and scope of the latter. The primary objective of marketing is to take a product or service, identify the ideal/target customers or consumers, and draw their attention towards the product/service.
The overall marketing strategy depends on consumers’ perception or understanding of the product, quality, durability, availability, and price point.
What is a Market?
The market is the place or set-up where potential buyers and sellers meet to exchange their products or services. In short, it is a medium that allows transactions that include products, services, and information, in complete adherence to legalities and rules of the land where the transactions happen.
Markets can be broadly classified into physical markets and virtual markets. It can further be classified based on the products it transacts with (For example, cotton market, book market, etc.), location (For example, local, international), types of buyers (For example, consumers, traders), and quantity (For example, retail, wholesale, etc.). However, in the age of e-commerce, the term market is no longer confined to a limit. Instead, it now operates or functions in greater scope and span, making almost everyone a potential customer.
On the other hand, marketing encompasses every activity in a product’s life cycle, starting from designing to production and from production to consumption. Often, marketing is wrongly described as a post-production activity. Marketing usually begins before the production starts, as it is integral to understand the customer’s needs before a product is launched. This lead generation often is the first stage of marketing for a product.
Functions of Marketing
Different functions of marketing are as follows −
Identifying Consumer/Customer Needs
This generally is the first step where the companies gather information and market insight to understand the need of the customers. This helps them to present products or services that closely match the demand.
It is crucial as everyone involved in marketing needs to have a clear idea about the company’s objective and then chalk out the following steps to achieve the same.
Based on the inputs from market research, this step helps the company build products for the consumers. Essential factors to be considered here are product design, durability, and cost.
This is the process of ensuring that each product developed by the company has the same quality, design, and standard for every consumer.
Packaging often helps create the first impression of a product and thus it is a vital step in the process. Good packaging and labelling help a product achieve some amount of success in the market.
Branding happens when consumers tend to associate a particular product with a certain brand name (or producer’s name). This also helps build goodwill for the producers and products from the same brand name tends to gather some trust.
Another vital cog in the wheel is the customer support that an organization must offer to its consumers. This can be offered both pre-and post-sales.
This again is a vital process for an organization. A product’s success or failure often depends on its pricing, besides other factors like demand and necessity. Fluctuations in the price of a product can be detrimental to its success.
Promotion of Products
Product promotion is the process of making consumers aware of a certain product by showcasing it to them through various channels and platforms. Advertising, media, personal selling, and publicity are some common mediums of promotion.
Distribution of Products
Product distribution is the process of moving the products to the consumer touchpoints or the points of consumption/sale.
Relationship between: Needs, Wants and Demands
Needs, wants and demands are essential terms in marketing. No matter how similar they appear in meaning.
Needs can be defined as the state of self-deprivation in an individual, which is often the starting point of marketing. Without human needs, both markets and marketing would probably not exist.
Wants can be defined as the desire to satisfy the needs of an individual. Human needs are unlimited, and this endless need requires satiation through many products, services, and methods. Wants depend on culture, socio-economic backgrounds, and individual personalities.
Demand is human need, backed by the ability and willingness to buy. Demand can be influenced by marketers by offering different products at different prices and qualities. It is also created by producers to motivate the consumers. Demand is of two types: Primary and Secondary.
Relationship between: Products and Services
Products and services must exist in the market to fulfil customers’ needs.
Products are items that are tangible and easier to market because they can be touched, displayed, and demonstrated to a targeted audience.
For example, a potential TV buyer usually checks the product in a showroom and tests the different features before deciding on purchasing the TV.
Services, on the other hand, are intangible in nature because one cannot feel or touch them. Consumer is often not sure of what they are getting until they receive the service. Services are also highly perishable which means that they are short-lived. Services cannot be kept aside for later use and must be availed and used when offered.
Relationship between: Value, Satisfaction and Quality
Value, satisfaction, and quality are interrelated when it comes to marketing. These are attributes to consumer behaviour, and most consumers look for these while buying a product or service from the market.
Value can be defined as the ratio between what the customer pays and what the customer receives in return. Marketing provides value by increasing the customer’s benefits (functional as well as emotional) and reducing the price (money, time, and energy).
Satisfaction can be defined as the extent to which a product’s perceived performance matches a buyer’s expectations. A customer is dissatisfied if the performance doesn’t match the expectations; delighted if the performance exceeds expectations.
Quality is how the customers perceive the product excellence, and it is linked to the customer’s need satisfaction. To continuously improve their products’ qualities, most organizations adopt Total Quality Management (TQM).
Relationship between: Exchange and Transactions
Exchange can be defined as the act of obtaining a desired product from someone by offering something in return. To carry this out, there must be two parties with each party having something of value to the other. Each of the parties should be able to communicate and deliver effectively and must have the right to accept or reject the offer at any point.
A transaction involves several dimensions: at least two things of value, agreed-upon conditions, and a time and place of the agreement. Usually, a legal system arises to support and enforce compliance on the part of the transactors. Without a “law of contracts”, people would approach transactions with some distrust, and everyone would lose.
In the end, relationships are mainly built from transactions in marketing. Every marketer tries to build up long-term, trusting, relationships with customers, distributors, dealers, and suppliers. And this is possible when one party continuously delivers high-quality products and services to the other. Eventually, this helps in cutting down transaction costs and time. In the best cases, transactions move from being negotiated each time to being routinized.
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