Small Business Marketing Concept
Marketing role for small business can be defined as offering customers products or services they need at an appropriate price and in the right place. The numerous functions of small business marketing, according to Longenecker et al. (2009), include: determination of demand, providing balance of demand, orientation of marketing activities towards developing demand in the right direction; sales motivation, trade development, increasing employment of the population; determining correlation between production recourses and distributing products and services. In addition, marketing aims at establishing, strengthening, and maintaining desired exchange between target customers, and obtaining personal or mutual benefits.
The marketing concept is a base of any business, and a marketing perspective that guides company’s market behavior. This essay will describe the following three parts to marketing concept: customer orientation approach, goal orientation approach, and use of systems approach. Developing an effective marketing concept, characterized by organization-wide customer orientation aimed at achieving long-term profitability, is the key to success of small business enterprises.
Contemporary highly customer-oriented small business marketing concept is a firm’s marketing philosophy, determining how its marketing activities are developed, reflected in the marketing plan, and used to achieve business goals (Longenecker et al. 2009). It presents the ways of influencing customer demand, acquiring new customers, and maintaining a profitable exchange with them in order to increase market share, sales level, and profit of the firm.
Customer Orientation Approach
Philip Kotler, “the father of marketing”, claims that: “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value” (Kotler 2003, p. 12). This definition shows customer focus of the approach, which is oriented toward pleasing customers by offering them something of value. It means that in order to achieve organizational goals, a firm has to concentrate on customer needs and satisfy them in the best possible way.
Customer orientation approach implies achieving desired goals by satisfying customer needs and wishes with the help of commercial and noncommercial marketing activities. Therefore, small business firms should be always customer-oriented, and must be able to answer questions such as: What to produce? At what quantity to produce? Where and when to produce? This approach is used by a small business to conduct marketing research and determine customer needs, develop competitive advantages, find specific target customers, satisfy their needs, and ultimately, analyze company’s marketing performance by measuring the level of customer satisfaction (Baird, Meyer & Green 1999).
Goal Orientation Approach
Baird, Meyer & Green (1999) claimed that the goal orientation approach of the marketing concept dictates that products and services available for purchase must be produced and promoted so as to meet organization’s long term goals. For the majority of small businesses this success-oriented approach means sales and profit increase, which are critical for the survival, success and development of business. Among the other objectives, a small business enterprise might have, are market share growth, or successful introduction of a new product. Therefore, goal-oriented approach makes small firms set their primary and secondary business objectives, and thoroughly plan their marketing behavior. It is important to highlight, that small businesses should focus on long-term objectives, rather than on short-term ones. Short-term objectives do not create a long-lasting result, but simply boost sales and increase profitability for an insignificant period of time.
Use of Systems Approach
The third part of the marketing concept is the use of systems approach, or a total company effort, which states that employees of all departments and organizational levels must be involved in the implementation of the marketing concept (Baird, Meyer & Green 1999). According to the systems orientation approach diverse units of a small business enterprise are united by the common goal of identifying and satisfying customer needs in the best possible way. They must undergo extensive training and motivation in order to achieve long-term organizational objectives.
Use of systems represents an advancement of the managerial approach, in which the top management of a small business coordinates the implementation of the marketing concept, and views all employees as a group of interdependent and interrelated elements, working together for a common goal.
The marketing concept and its three basic approaches have a strong impact not only on sales and profitability of small businesses, but also on management practice and decision-making, which is concentrated on the needs of a customer, rather than on sales goals or production schedule. Besides, all the employees are encouraged to participate in all business activities. Marketing functions and marketing activities are influenced by the marketing concept as well. Market research data is gathered in order to determine changeable customer wants and needs, analyze them, improve existing products and services, or create new ones. Thus, by developing effective marketing concept, in which customer is the utmost priority for every single employee, small business enterprises will succeed and achieve their long-term goals. Following this path, they will maintain high level of sales and enough profit for business growth and development.
Baird, T, Meyer, E & Green, W 1999, Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd edn, New York.
Kotler, P 2003, Marketing insights from A to Z: 80 concepts every manager needs to know, 1st edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
Longenecker, JG, Petty, JW, Palich, LR & Moore, CW 2009, Small business management: launching and growing entrepreneurial ventures, 15th edn, South-Western College Pub, Mason.