Introduction to Marketing
Marketing is an ancient art and has, since the day of Adam and Eve, been practiced in one form or the other. In the modern world, Marketing is everywhere; most of the task we do and most of the things we handle are linked to marketing. Marketing is an activity. Marketing activities and strategies result in making products available that satisfy customers while making profits for the companies that offer those products. Your morning tea, your newspaper, your breakfast, the dress you put on for the day, the vehicle you drive, the mobile in your pocket, the quick lunch you have at the fast food joint, the PC at your desk, your internet connection, your e-mail ID almost everything that you use and everything that is around you, has been touched by marketing. Marketing has its imprint on them all depending on the product and the context/experience the imprint may be visible or subtle. But it is very much there. Marketing permeates most of your daily activities. Marketing is an omnipresent entity.
Meaning of Market and Marketing
A market is any such person, group or organization which has existing or potential exchange relationship. It starts with customers and ends with customers. Creation of superior customer value and delivering high levels of customer satisfaction are at the heart of present day marketing. Companies today, needs to understand customer needs, study completion, develop and offer superior value at reasonable price, and make the product available to customer at convenient place. Only then their products will be in demand and sell consistently.
Marketing deals with customers. It is delivery of customer satisfaction at a profit. The twofold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and to keep current customers by delivering satisfaction.
Definition of Marketing
The concept of market has undergone significant changes over the years, commensurate with the changes in the structure and scope of markets.
Kotler (1) defined market as
“A set of all actual and potential buyers of a product.”
This definition implies that wherever there is a buyer of a product or service, there is a market. It succeeded in changing the view that market is a place. Further this definition also indicates that market refers to the existence of buyers of a product or service, that when these things get exchanged, the marketing process commences.
Kohl‟s and Uhl (2) characterized market as
“an arena, wherein all buyers and sellers were highly sensitive to each other‟s transactions, and where what one did affected the other.”
This concept of market focuses on a situation where all buyers and sellers would be able to communicate with one another; they would also be capable, of exchanging products with each other. It could also be inferred from the definition that buyer-seller interaction is crucial to market.
According to Cochrane (3)
“a market is some sphere or space, where certain physical and institutional arrangements could be seen, and the forces of demand and supply are at work to determine prices with a view of transferring the ownership of some quantity of good or service.”
This definition brings to light that the exchange takes place in a market for a consideration, i.e., price. Apart from that, the exchange takes place with certain physical and institutional structure, there by the role of various facilities required to facilitate transfer of ownership are indicated.
Marketing refers to the various groups of activities that take place in a market. These activities are either planned or spontaneous. For example, production, assembling, distribution and storage could be planned, consumption is often spontaneous.
The American Marketing association (4) defined marketing as
“Market is an organizational function and a set of process for creating, communicating value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders."
According to Dahl and Hammond (5)
the purpose of production, assembling, storage, and transportation was consumption. All these steps from production to ultimate consumption were included in the term marketing. Hence, marketing is a set of activities without which what is produced cannot reach the ultimate consumer. Hence it might be said that the importance of these activities is the study of marketing.
Kotler (6) says
“Marketing is a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and freely exchanging products and services of value with others.”
Evolution of Marketing
Marketing is as old as human civilization. Even in the earliest stage of human civilization exchange was taking place, though, without any consideration. The evidence of this could be noted from the anthropological studies. The number of excavations that have taken place around the world has also confirmed this. However in those days, the exchange was not so well organized or structured. This was because, there was very little surplus and efforts to create surplus was not even realized. When groups of human beings started living in batches, there arose the need for exchange within the group or among the groups. Historical evidence indicated that this took place in a very crude barter term. This was the earliest seed for modern marketing.
Another convincing evidence is the number of ancient literatures of Indian origin. All of them referred to the classification of the society in to four groups viz., Brahmins, shathriyas, vysyas and sudras. Of these four groups, was mainly indulging in exchange activities. They were governed by ethical practices and considered it as sin to violate such practices.
As years rolled, the approach to marketing also changed. From a stage of household exchange of goods and services, exchange started taking place between families and households. Such an exchange always took place through barter system. But when exchange took place between different groups in the society, the need for a medium of exchange was felt. Originally stones were used which was replaced by anything which commanded social respect was accepted. But in due course, precious metals like gold and silver were used as a medium. It is interesting to note that till very recently, the value of many was linked to the value of gold. When man invented money, exchange became very smooth devoid of all the problems associated with the barter exchange system. While exchange was getting perfected, the world stated looking at marketing in different ways.
Till the mid 1940‟s it was thought that the producers should produce what is possible and then make efforts to sell what is produced. In this approach, marketing was viewed from producers/sellers side. But this was proved to be a fatal mistake by Levitt through his historic article. Levitt brought sense to the world of marketing. He proved that market should be facing customer rather than the customer facing the market. In other words, manufacturers should contently look at the market to capture signals and translate that into acceptable products or services. Hence, marketing became customer focused and customer centered. So the approach now turned out to be „Produce what the consumers want‟. This automatically made every producer to identify his consumer and study his requirements so that what is produced is what is wanted.