Understanding the Contemporary Marketing Function for Businesses and Organizations

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  • 5 years ago
  • Posted: February 13, 2015 at 8:30 am

You probably know by now that I like to take a very academic approach when it comes to my description of things in my attempt elaborating the intricacies therewith, a task for which I hope I do not fail; this article will not escape such scrutiny, my only hope that when you are done reading it, you will have gained more perspective towards its subject-matter. Over the years marketing has undergone through a process of evolution, similar to other fields in business. Although marketing principles were envisaged to serve organizations within the traditional business context, marketing principles have being increasingly accepted by organizations operating outside the traditional business context, including non-profit organizations. Marketing principles have become increasingly sophisticated as practitioners seek to develop efficient and effective strategies suitable for the increasingly complex and competitive global economy. Indeed, such continuous advancement has enabled marketing principles to provide numerous solutions suitable for almost all situations. Therefore, understanding the functions of marketing and application of its principles within an organization can have a significant effect in the performance of the organization. This article will discuss how application of these principles can affect the performance of an organization. Marketing as it is today traces its philosophic origins from early twentieth century.

Marketing historians identified the initial associations, articles, books with regard to marketing as we know it today. Scholars of the time did not take issue with who the early proprietors of marketing thought were or the intellectual efforts that resulted in the body of work that laid the foundation for the structures of modern-day study in marketing. However, what the scholars did is highlight the philosophical underpinnings of the development of marketing.

Natural developments in many of the principles of marketing are reflected in many of the activities of post-modern organizations. The technological developments of the post modern-era has rendered many of the earlier principles obsolete, being no longer relevant to the contemporary organization aiming to develop an effective strategy on how best to apply the marketing function. The relationship between the organization and individual has always been one of tension. On the one hand, spending enabled individuals to satisfy more of their needs but to a limited extent, therefore, turning to the market meant that there was always a gap between individuals’ needs and what could be supplied in the market to satisfy those needs. Furthermore, the difference that separated the marketing organization from its consumers always constituted a challenge to the individual in exercising free will with regard to satisfying their needs. Consequently, consumption is always evolving, thus the organization must adapt in order to satisfy its overall strategic goal.

The development of a positioning strategy will usually necessitate that an organization reviews its mission and vision statement. In this regard, flexibility is important in developing a sound marketing strategy. However, flexibility is limited by the organization’s historical development and the perceptions of individuals with regard to its service. Organizations need to grasp that there are generally two broad concepts of marketing: product-oriented marketing and consumer-oriented marketing. In the former type of marketing, emphasis is given to the product whilst in the latter type it is given to the consumer. Over the years, consumer-oriented marketing has gained wide acceptance as a more effective marketing strategy. It is highly important that an organization understands this difference, the paradoxes within and their converging points.

The product approach assumes that the marketing process comes after the production of goods, ending with their sale. Nonetheless, in the present-day, marketing begins long before production. This is why in consumer-oriented marketing studies the traits of the consumer before the actual production begins. Thus, marketing today contains all those activities concerned with determining the present and potential demand of the product or service, availing those products or services that will satisfy those demands, and creating the desired consumer behavior to achieve the organizational objectives. In other words, marketing covers all those activities that are intent on creating consumer satisfaction and in turn make a profit or achieve a social end. Marketing begins with the consumer-determining what the consumer wants-and ends with the consumer- giving the consumer what they want.

Marketing plays a highly vital role for the success of any organizational undertaking. It is the pulse of the organization considered as the most important operative function of management. Marketing is not only crucial in planning the production of a good or implementation of a service, but also in planning the organization and making various decisions of the organization. It helps in increasing the business profits or service outcomes by reducing the overhead cost of selling on the one side and augmenting the demand of the product, which could be a service, on the other side. Notably, it causes concern to competitors or vested-interest parties to alter their production, price, and action policies. This helps an organization frame its own policies and make the necessary adjustments therein accordingly. Marketing is the lynchpin that rotates the economy. An underdeveloped economy is a sign of underdeveloped marketing. It is the most important multiplier and effective engine in driving development, which it does by mobilizing latent economic energy. If an organization is to kick-start and boost its internal economy, then it should build its marketing engine effectively. It is important to note that marketing provides a high employment prospective because it requires a high number of people to perform its functions. Organizations need to understand this; otherwise they end up experiencing under-marketing, affecting the aggregate organizational goals.

Marketing creates essential linkages between organization and society. The relationship created therewith develops good will from both ends. It tends to remove the hindrances of knowledge, educating people by cultivating their minds, a key aspect in organizational success; because if consumers understand the organization and the products or services it is professing, then the marketing response function is positive. It emphasizes the inductive, statistical methodology advanced on a historical perspective with a concern on the pragmatics of knowledge and skills towards social ends, which essentially means it builds on the organization’s history, internal marketing staff and non-marketing staff development, and consumer knowledge. Organizations are rather geared to social objectives. The need to understand the nature of the marketing function in such regard helps organizations in finding how best to apply it building on historicity and institutional awareness.

Marketing tends to be blamed for its high cost. Although, oftentimes, it becomes quite difficult to accurately pinpoint the cost of employing marketing activities, but it’s fundamentally evident that marketing costs account for a substantial part in the ultimate price paid by consumers. Marketing cost tends to be high because of large scale production and the insufficiency of the marketing function that leads to a costly marketing response function. Large scale production and its many varieties has become the root cause of the high marketing cost. There is a huge gap between the points of production and consumption. This gap is plagued by middlemen who tend to be both merchants and agents that often drive up the prices for the end-user. The insufficiency found during the marketing processes leads to high cost. If organizations cannot mange this cost, then they risk curtailing their development. Nevertheless, it has become the concern of marketing personnel internally and outsiders such as educational institutions, governments, and producers to reduce the cost of marketing. Consequently, some business organizations have developed departmental stores, multiple shops, chain stores, and cooperative stores in committed to providing better services to their consumers. Educational institutions help by churning out talented and qualified marketing experts which can have a cost-reducing effect. Governments assist by providing infrastructure such as roads, communication systems, and others.
The modern marketing concept is essentially based on four principles. Initially, target-market focus treats that no organization-business or non-business, big or small, can operate in every market, satisfy each and every consumer. An organization tends to do better if it can define its boundaries of operation and follow a customization strategy. The target market is achieved through the organization’s application of the marketing concept with the definition of its target market. It also has to use market segmentation and targeting in a bid to define its target market. Finally, the value of the market needs to be analyzed by conducting market analysis. Secondly, customer-orientation is crucial to contemporary marketing as earlier stated; it calls for the organization to accurately and carefully define the customers’ needs from the customer’s perspective. Immediately an organization adopts this marketing concept, then customer satisfaction becomes its main focus. Organizations must use market research to understand consumer behavior. Thirdly, integrated marketing pushes for an integration and coordination of all the various marketing activities performed within the organization. This is achieved by first integrating and coordinating all activities such as marketing research, product development, pricing, distribution, sales-force management, and advertising and consumer relations. The marketing activities need to be managed and integrated with other departments of the organization such as personnel, purchasing production, and finance. Additionally, there should be essential linkages between the organization’s activities and external marketing intermediates, advertising agencies, transporters, market research companies, et cetera, whose activities must be integrated and well-coordinated. Fourthly, the principle of profitability advocates for the analysis of every business opportunity in terms of profitability and survival of the organization. The concept is applied with the realization that profit is a major goal in any business organization, perhaps even a non-business organization and it cannot be sacrificed in any situation. Also, organizations can grow by foregoing short-term profit potential in favor of long term profits through creation and retaining of satisfied customers. Especially, for non-profit organizations the quality of services becomes the tipping point that determines their survival factor, thus, the importance of marketing.

Marketing has been compared to the atomic theory as one of the greatest theoretical developments that the twentieth century had to offer and much research focused on deriving general principles of marketing. The first university course on Marketing was taught by Edward David Jones, though he is intriguingly overlooked by marketing historians. The man wrote extensively on the evolution of marketing methods, distributive justice, efficiency of the marketing process, and the functional approach of marketing. His belief was that the study of marketing was basic to instruction in business, along with administration, finance and accounting. Organizations would be better suited in understanding the fascinating historicity of marketing thought, especially in the development of current pragmatically sound aspects. Ely noted that for graduate research, one should take the historical and descriptive form. Since its inception in 1892, University of Wisconsin developed an institutional approach to the study of Economics, by extension marketing. Gay and Shaw trace the movements of the marketing function through various stages of economic period to derive various conceptual frameworks that weave into present-day Marketing Thought. Efficiency begins at the first principles, and as such, organizations should be at the helm of extolling the virtues therewith. One does not study the influences of marketing thought evolution without looking at the development of case-method pedagogy. It is often cited as a distinctive and significant contribution by Harvard Business School to the spread of marketing thought. The case method was one of the most vital techniques or concept in marketing. The vision of the method came from one Francis Gay, whose view of business as a science, art, and profession led him to think of a unique way of teaching it. Frank later surmised on the importance of historical emphasis on the development of business, and the case study is the historian’s Holy Grail from which much is inferred. Organizations, without studying the actions of the past marketing events, internal or external, cannot draw analogies from them to derive a sense of proportion, gaining of perspective, and realizations of complexities and interrelations.

Gay’s learning as an economic historian influenced his views on research methodology and led to the inception of the Bureau of Business Research under the patronage of Arch W. Shaw. Under the persuasion of Gay, Shaw, a philanthropist, dedicated a fund to the Harvard Business School, working on the premise that the firm would propel the investigation of business problems, specifically those concerned with the distribution of products. The field of research in marketing was extensive during the development of marketing as an intellectual discipline in its own right and even in the modern-day. Organizations set in improving their marketing function should reflect upon developing a Research and Development program for developing marketing ideals towards efficiency and creating space for sustainable concept-consumer convergence.

Organizations are given to the design and implementation of social campaigns as opposed to business, which can be either partially business-oriented or purely for a socialistic value. The involving process for an organization is how to move the concept from the internal confines and translate it into a Public Narrative. If this process is not clearly and efficiently mentored, then a breakdown towards the end result ensues. Organizations need to market their campaigns effectively and disburse them in a manner showing they understand the marketing function, which they should. Nonetheless, knowing marketing principles does not guarantee an efficient campaign without understanding the ‘convergence zone’ that provides for the right marketing mix and customer conscience for it to be reached.

To mount an effective campaign, an organization needs to assimilate the following concepts into its core organizational anatomy. Foremost, it needs to understand that, the philosophy of marketing is an exchange process where something valuable is exchanged. Organizations need to understand that mutual value recognition is paramount in the marketing function, which therefore leads to a meaningful exchange of value. The four “P’s” of marketing include product, price, promotion, and place, vital to the design and implementation of a campaign. There are echelons in communication effects. The notion being behavior change ensues when a prospective consumer moves from ignorance to knowledge. Effective communication, thus, is essential in creating a public narrative for the product or concept. Streamline of the audience. Seen that the audience is massive, it is more prudent to divide it into segmental homogenous sub-groups which helps in having a rational message relay regime. There is need to understand all pertinent markets. Knowledge of the operating ecology provides a platform on which to design, launch, and implement a social campaign. Having an Information assessment and brisk feedback analysis center is essential in maintaining relevance. Having a planned information acquisition analysis program sets an organization a notch higher towards positive maximization of the marketing function. Mass communication and interpersonal involvements serve to cement organization-consumer relationship. Nothing beats the ‘meet the people’ strategy, alongside mass communication interactions. The balance between the two must be effective. Commercial resources exploitation and utility creates the environment for success. Organizations need the tremendous benefits acquired of ad agencies, distribution companies, and marketing research firms.

The wisdom gained helps in developing the organization’s experience curve. Competitor Analytics should feature in the organization’s overall competitive intelligence regime which is ever evolving. Knowledge of the competitor is fundamental tenet in marketing, analyzing the capabilities sets you on a smoother course in developing a substantial concept. Organizations go a long way in constituting a Competitive Intelligence program which aids in evolving the marketed concept towards sustainability in the market eco-system. Lastly, but definitely not the least is managing expectation of success. The anticipation for success is necessary for the success of any program. If an organization does not believe in its own ability to succeed, then the intended target audience will not do so either.

Systematic consumer behavior research is highly essential in designing a marketing strategy that aims at capturing the maximum value it can from the consumer. It is the very craft of market researchers to probe deep into the workings of consumer behavior, extrapolating the information gained into captured-value. Globalization has brought in its wake the ‘fusion of nations’ leading to hybridization of concepts and behavior. Therefore, any study of marketing in regard to consumer behavior must consider this implication its induction. Currently, there are two general approaches to studying consumer behavior, the micro and macro. Micro-study involves trying to explain consumer behavior with regard to the individual, the myriad psychological and other processes that affect how the consumer acquires, utilizes and disposes of goods and services. The macro-study is contrary, employs the thinking of seeing consumers as a holistic structure with its indications.

Analysis of current ideological assumptions that underpin marketing activities is crucial to the organization of today and has to learn to explore the socio-spatial aspects of consumption to meet its goals. Inclusive of this is penetrating the utopian fantasy of retail environments and the points of intersection between fantasy and reality. In the past two decades, new fields of study have emerged in marketing, such as services marketing, relationship marketing with the networking perspective on business to business marketing. As such, the definition and terrain of marketing is altering.
Within the decade, scholars have expressed concern about the changing conceptual landscape of marketing. Especially, in this light, the 2004 remodeled definition of marketing has been subject to quite singular scrutiny, being viewed as being too weak to fit in new forms of consumer relationships. Subsequently, an array of scholars has cited the deterioration of marketing within the organization mentioning several reasons to this end; factually, the devolving of the marketing functions within the organization and the credibility loss of marketing and marketers at the board level. Organizations in any form, need to understand culture as key determinant of consumer behavior.

Any understanding of the marketing function highlights the assimilation of historicity and ‘contemporariness’. Contemporary organizations, building on several disciplines have to learn to take to the emic and etic approach towards achieving ‘fission of consumer behavior realities’ determining its eventual success. The two approaches offer the organization the holistic view of issues emerging in the marketing function since the former offers unique insights into consumer behavior while the latter the internal organizational insight in regards to consumers and the course of marketing to take in achieving their long-term strategic intent.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Stefan Wolf
Article Categories:
OPINION · SOCIAL MEDIA