Introduction- What is marketing?
In today’s fast moving world, nothing seems to be constant. The market is changing at a constant pace, and strategies that worked in the past are not applicable any more. We can say that the present is not like the past and future will be different from the present! It is essential that organizations accept this fact and start formulating strategies which can guide them in these uncertain times. Marketing is that part of an organization’s long term efforts which highlights its unique selling propositions to its potential customers. Marketing tries to bring out the positives and the benefits that customers can derive from an organization’s products or services. Marketing deals with identifying and satisfying the needs and wants of the customers and its desired result is long term profitability. Whether it is Apple Inc’s iPhone promotions or P&G’s marketing campaigns, all these companies try and convert a private or personal need into a profitable business with the help of marketing.
In context to society, Marketing is a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products and services of value freely with others. As a managerial definition, marketing is described as an art of selling products (Kotler, 2001). Another definition of marketing is that it is the process of planning and executing the conception, promotion, pricing, and distribution of goods, ideas, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals (American Marketing Association, 1995). The main purpose of marketing is to know and analyse the needs of its customers in such a way that the product or service would suit its customers and sells itself. The ultimate aim of a successful marketing effort is to create such an environment where its customers are delighted and ready to purchase their product or service.
Importance of Marketing in organizational success
- The final product usage: What is the final product or service going to be like? It is the marketing department that decides on the final market offering by conducting a proper market research and conducting survey and interviews with focus groups and potential customers.
- Branding: Branding is one of the most crucial parts of marketing, wherein a product or a service is given a brand name and promoted based on its attributes.
- Final users of the product or service: An organization cannot effectively sell its products or services till it identifies a particular segment which it needs to target. After all, you cannot sell anything to everyone! Marketing helps the organization find its target markets.
- Segmentation: Once the target audience has been decided, organizations need to sort those markets that are going to be the main markets for selling their products or services. This is done by segmenting the market based on factors such as age, gender, demographics, etc.
- Positioning and selecting the product USP: As described earlier, marketers try to identify the unique selling propositions that will distinguish their brands from others. By identifying the brand USP, marketers try and position their brand in a specific way.
- Pricing: Once the brand is positioned in the market, the next step that marketers take is price their product based on factors such as supply, demand, trends and market conditions. Marketers apply different pricing strategies based on the external environment of the market and internal environment of the organization. Price skimming, loss leader pricing, etc are some of the pricing strategies that marketers apply.
- Develop a comprehensive IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) campaign: Integrated marketing communications stands for the development and distribution of the intended marketing message to the target audience, with the help of selected media vehicles such as television, internet, newspapers, social media and sales promotion. IMC is a part of a marketing communications planning that emphasizes the enhanced value of a comprehensive plan (Kotler, 2011).
These are the functions that are handled and executed by the marketing department of any organization that is operating in local or global markets. Without these functions, it is not possible for any organization to flourish and sell its products or services to its customers. Every organization needs to develop its unique ‘marketing- mix’. In other words, an effective marketing program is the back bone of any organization. Let us look at some examples that highlight the importance of marketing activities:
Apple’s Marketing Strategy for its products
Apple Inc is famous known for using its marketing programs very effectively and has won several awards and recognitions for it over the past several years. One of the most prominent marketing campaigns of Apple was the introduction of its 1984 Super Bowl advertisement. The commercial was created by Ridley Scott and was played only for once, but it created a huge impact on its potential customers.
In case of marketing its popular iPhone brand, Apple Inc focused its efforts on creating an integrated marketing campaign that would create curiosity, anticipation and excitement in the minds of its potential customers. The company has made use of media vehicles such as print, television and press conferences to promote its iPhone during the past several years and paid attention to its various brand-customer touch points. Although Apple has newer invented any products, today, it has become the most valuable company in the world!
McDonald’s Marketing Strategy
McDonald’s is probably the biggest food chain in the world. With outlets in more than 122 countries, McDonald’s is an iconic brand. McDonald’s invests heavily in its marketing programs and one of the most famous marketing campaigns for the company was McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” marketing campaign, which proved to be a major turning point for the burger giant. The campaign was run in more than 120 countries and was promoted by icons such as Serena Williams and Justin Timberlake. Thanks to that campaign, “I’m lovin’ it” has become synonymous with McDonald’s!
Coca Cola’s Marketing Strategy
Coca Cola is one of the biggest players of soft drink market in the world. It is one of the most iconic brands in the world. Forbes has listed Coca Cola as the world’s third most valuable brand (World’s Most Valuable Brands, 2014) right after Apple and Microsoft. It is one of those companies that invest heavily in its marketing programs by concentrating on market research, new market trends and introducing new products based on its target markets. This can be attributed from the fact that in 2013, the marketing spend of the company stood at $4 billion!
Marketing is one of the most crucial phases for the development of a product or a service, and organizations that intend to succeed need to take cognizance of this fact. They need to develop their marketing programs with an aim of satisfying the needs and wants of their target customers and to make handsome profits at the same time!
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Kotler, P (2001). Marketing in the 21st Century 10th ed. Washington. Pearson. Print.
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Forbes. World’s Most Valuable Brands. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.forbes.com