Marketing and Marketing Management

Marketing and Marketing Management

Over the past 50 years people have witnessed at first a gradual and then an increasingly rapid recognition that effective marketing is the keystone of organizational success. Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Sometimes, it is assumed that marketing is just about advertising or selling, but it is not the whole story.

Marketing is a key management discipline which ensures the organization, which is producing of goods and services, to interpret consumer desires and match, or exceed them. The marketing process is central to the performance of the organization, since it addresses the most important aspects of the market. It is about understanding the competitive market-place and ensures the organization to tap into key trends, to reach the customers with the right product at the right price, place, and time. Efficient marketing has led several organizations to success.

In the present-day environment, since the competitive pressure has increased, marketing skills have become more highly valued. What has been once seen as a departmental activity, it is now regarded as a frontline attitude of the marketing personnel. In fact, the marketing personnel shape and implement marketing strategy and contribute directly to the organizational economy. Their skills attract and retain customers, build sales, and increase profits and hence generate wealth for the organization.

Marketing management is an organizational discipline which focuses on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of marketing resources and activities of the organization. It is the management of the marketing activities in the organization and includes management of the processes of planning, organizing, directing, motivating, coordinating, and controlling. It is the process of satisfying the needs and wants of the customers of the organization. It is an important function of the organization since it brings the organization closer to its customers and consists of establishing a marketing orientated organization where the emphasis is on the customer. It is a core component in the success of the organization.

Marketing has been described as (i) an organizational activity, (ii) a group of related organizational activities, (iii) a trade phenomenon, (iv) a frame of mind, (v) a coordinating integrative function in policy making, (vi) a sense of the purpose of the organization, (vii) an economic process, (viii) a structure of the organization, (ix) the process of exchanging or transferring ownership of products, (x) a process of concentration, equalization, and dispersion, (xi) the creation of time, place, and possession utilities, (xii) a process of demand-supply adjustment, and (xiii) several other things.

Ten rules of radical marketing are (i) the top management is to own the marketing function, (ii) to make sure the marketing department starts small and flat and stays small and flat, (iii) to get face to face with the people who matter most which are the customers, (iv) to use market study cautiously, (v) to hire only passionate people, (vi) to love and respect the customers, (vii) to create a community of customers, (viii) to rethink the marketing mix, (ix) to celebrate common sense, and (x) be true to the brand.

Marketing has been revolutionized in recent years with the arrival of new technologies such as digital marketing. Technology paved the way for a more innovative, participatory and connected kind of marketing, with the traditional tools now supplemented by new ones (the internet, social networks, mobile apps, and data analysis etc.).

Definitions – Marketing is a process by which the organization gets what it needs and wants through creating and exchanging products and value with its customers. In simple words, it is the delivery of customer satisfaction at a profit. It satisfies the needs of customers better than the competition. It focuses on the use of all the controllable influences to satisfy the customer. One of the shortest definition of marketing is ‘meeting needs profitably’. As a managerial definition, marketing has frequently been described as ‘the art of selling products’.

Peter Drucker has defined marketing as ‘marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered as separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view’. He has further said that ‘the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy’.

Philip Kotler defines ‘marketing management is the analysis, planning, implementation, and control of programmes designed to bring about the desired exchanges with target audiences for the purpose of personal and mutual gain. It relies heavily on adoption and coordination of the product, price, promotion and place for achieving response’.

A widely accepted definition is the one used by the UK (United Kingdom) Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) which is ‘marketing is the management process, responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably’.

The AMA (American Marketing Association) defines marketing management as ‘Marketing (management) is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals’. The AMA latest definition of marketing has been produced in January 2008 which is ‘marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large’.

Marketing deals with what the organization is going to produce, how much it is going to charge, how it is going to deliver products or services to the customer, and how it is going to tell its customers about its products and services. For the management of the selling activity of the organization, if marketing principles are applied, then it is known as marketing management. The goal of marketing management is to identify and satisfy the needs of the customers through managing stable relationships with them, and its basic task is to meet this goal as effectively as possible. Fig 1 gives the marketing process as per Kotler.

Fig 1 Marketing process as per Kotler

The marketing management is defined as the science of choosing target markets and creating profitable relationships. For doing this, marketing management involves (i) analyzing the situation (the market, the competition, and the environment etc.), (ii) planning the goals which the organization hope to reach, (iii) designing strategies to reach the goals of the organization, (iv) putting these strategies into practice through planned actions, (v) organizing the human and material resources available to perform the actions, and (vi) monitoring the results and making course corrections if necessary.

The planning and execution of any marketing activity is based on four basic elements, which are traditionally known as the ‘4Ps’ of marketing. The ‘4Ps’are (i) product, (ii) price, (iii) place, and (iv) promotion. As the marketing has become a more sophisticated discipline, a fifth ‘P’, i.e., people, has been added. More recently, two further ‘Ps’, i.e., process and physical evidence have been added.

During the 1990s, as experts realized that the organizations have become more customer-centric, an alternative ‘4Cs’ of marketing has been proposed. Correlating almost directly with the original ‘4Ps’ they are (i) customer, (ii) cost, (iii) convenience, and (iv) communication. The 7Ps model, however, has endured and more than adequately incorporates the present-day customer-first concept of marketing. The ‘7Ps’ of marketing are described below.

Product (P1) – There is no point in developing a product or service which a customer does not want to buy, yet several organizations decide first what to produce and then try afterwards to find a market for it. Successful organizations find out what customers need or want and then develop the rightproduct with the right level of quality to meet the present and future expectations of the customers.

A product does not have to be tangible. A service given to the customer can be a product. The perfect product provides value for the customer. This value is in the eye of the customer. The organization is needed to give its customers what they want, not what the organization thinks the customers want.

The organization is required to have a system in place to regularly check what the customers think of its product and its supporting services. The organization is required to find out what the needs of the customers are now and whether they believe these are going to change in the future. However, it is to be ensured by the organization that it does not fall in the product quality trap, i.e., it does not take it too far by trying to sell a very high quality product, when the customer really wants a lower quality product.

Price (P2) – A product is only worth what the customer is prepared to pay for it. The price needs to be competitive, but this does not mean the organization is not required to be the cheapest in the market. Small organizations can compete with larger rivals by offering a more personalized service, value-adds or better value for money.

The organization also needs to make a profit. Pricing is the only element of the marketing mix which generates revenue since everything else represents a cost to the organization. When considering the price of the product, it is important to look at it from the perspective of the customer which includes (i) product price is the element which positions the organization in the market-place, (ii) product price tells customers where to place the organization in relation to its competitors, (iii) the higher is the product price, the more value or quality is expected by the customers for their money, (iv) as a relative measure, if the organization is the most expensive provider in the market, customers expect the organization to provide a better service, (v) everything which the customer observes is to be consistent with the higher quality expectations such as packaging, environment, promotional materials, website, letter-heads, and invoices etc., and (vi) existing customers are normally less sensitive about price than new customers and hence the organization is to give high importance for retaining of the customers, which is a good reason to look after the existing customers well.

Place (P3) – The product is to be available in the right place, at the right time, and in the right quantity, while keeping storage, inventory, and distribution costs to an acceptable level. The place where customers buy a product, and the means of distributing the organizational product to that place, is to be appropriate and convenient for the customer. This applies to brick-and-mortar operations, but is even more important in e-commerce. Customer surveys show that delivery performance is one of the most important criteria when choosing a supplier.

Place also means ways of displaying the product to the customer groups. This can be in the plant, a stock yard, or website. It can also be on-line. E-commerce operations which sell exclusively on the internet are to place even more emphasis on the organizational website and other on-line activities, as there are fewer points where the customers interact with the organization. For the same reason, all the organizations which sell on-line are to consider how the product is delivered to the customer, even if it is handled by a third party.

Mobile phones are an increasingly important purchasing channel for the customers. Hence, the organizational website is to be optimized to conform to the latest standards. For example, Google search now penalizes websites which are not optimized for mobile phones, potentially making it more difficult for the customers to find the organizational website.

Promotion (P4) – Promotion is the way, the organization communicates with the customers about what it does and what it can offer to the customers. It includes branding, advertising, public relations (PR), corporate identity, social media outreach, sales management, special offers, and exhibitions etc. Promotion is needed to gain attention, be appealing, send a consistent message and, above all, is needed to give the customer a reason to choose organizational product rather than the products of the competitors.

Good promotion is based on two-way communication. It paves the way for a dialogue with customers, whether in person or on-line. Promotion is to communicate the benefits which the customer receives from a product, not just its features. Organizational website is frequently the first experience of the customer of the organization and the organization has only one chance to make a good first impression. Hence, the organization is to make sure that the information on the website is always kept up to date and the design is updated to keep it fresh.

Organization is required to explore new channels, i.e., from traditional print advisements to the latest social media trends, there is now a large number of possibilities to explore. The important principle is to always advertise where the target customers of the organizations are there.

Printed promotional material is required to grab the attention of the organizational customers. The material is to be easy to read and enable the customers to identify why they are to buy the product of the organization. A brochure is not necessarily the best way of promoting the organization and its products. Unlike the organizational website, the information is fixed once a brochure has been printed. A more cost effective and flexible option can be a folder with a professionally designed sheet inside, over a series of the organizational own information sheets produced in-house. These sheets can be customized by varying them to suit the target customers and / or changing them as needed.

Promotion does not just mean communicating with the organizational customers. It is just as important to communicate with the employees about the value and attributes of the organizational products. They can then pass on the knowledge to their customers.

People (P5) – Every organizational employee who comes into contact with the organizational customers makes an impression. Several customers cannot separate the product or service from the organizational employee who provides it. Hence, the employees have a profound effect on customer satisfaction whether positive or negative. In fact, the reputation of the organizational brand rests in the hands of the employees. They are to be appropriately trained, well-motivated, and have the right attitude.

All the employees who have contact with the customers are to be well-suited for the role. In the age of social media, every employee can potentially reach a mass audience. Hence, a policy is to be formulated for on-line interaction and it is to be made sure that everyone stays on-message. Likewise, happy customers are excellent supporters for the organization.  Good opinion on review sites is to be carefully chosen, arranged, and different items are presented in order to get a particular effect.

Superior after sales support and advice adds value to the offering of the organization, and can give the organization a competitive edge. These services probably become more important than price for several customers over time.

The products which account for the highest percentage of the organizational sales are to be given adequate after sales support, and the organization is not to become complacent with these products. Further, ways are to be found for improving the organizational support without adding too much additional cost.

Process (P6) – Several customers no longer simply buy a product or service, in fact, they invest in an entire experience which starts from the moment they discover the organization and lasts through to purchase and beyond. This means that the process of delivering the product or service, and the behaviour of those who deliver it, are crucial to customer satisfaction. A user-friendly internet experience, waiting times, the information given to customers, and the helpfulness of the employees are vital to keep customers happy.

Customers are not interested in the detail of how the organization runs, they are just interested that the system works. However, they can need reassurance that they are buying the product from a reputable or ‘authentic’ supplier. It is to be remembered that there is a value of a good first impression. Where the majority of the customers who initially come into contact with the organization is to be identified. It can be on-line or off-line and it is to be ensured that the process from first meeting to purchase is seamless. Also, it is to be ensured that the organizational systems are designed for the benefits of the customers and not for the convenience of the organization.

Waiting of the customers is to be avoided and they are to be kept informed. The website is to be fast enough and is to be available on the right devices. The employees are to be helpful and the services are to be efficiently carried out. The employees are to interact in a manner which is appropriate to the organizational pricing. Customers trying to reach the organization by mobile phone are an important source of income and returning value, but very frequently they are left on hold. Several customers give up, go elsewhere and tell their friends not to use the organization just because of the poor process.

Physical evidence (P7) – Choosing an unfamiliar product or service is risky for the customer, since they do not know how good it is going to be until after purchase. The organization can reduce the uncertainty by helping potential customers ‘see’ what they are buying. A clean, tidy, and well-decorated reception area, or homepage, is reassuring. If the organizational digital or physical premises are not up to the mark, the customer is not going to be sure of the organizational service.

The physical evidence demonstrated by the organization is to confirm the assumptions of the customer. Some organizations engage customers and ask for their feedback, so that they can develop reference materials. New customers can then see these testimonials and are more likely to purchase with confidence.

Although the customers cannot experience the service before purchase, they can talk to other people with experience of the service. Their testimony is credible, since their views do not come from the organization. Alternatively, well-shot video testimonials and reviews on independent websites add authenticity. Each of the ‘ingredients’ of the marketing mix is key to success. No element can be considered in isolation. Organization cannot, e.g., develop a product without considering a price, or how it reaches the customer. The process of considering the seven ‘Ps’ and together to form a cohesive strategy is called marketing planning.

Planning a marketing strategy – Marketing focuses on the fundamental practices which every organization has to carry out. These are identifying customers, studying their needs and preferences, analyzing factors which influence their purchasing decisions, and persuading them to buy products and services from the organization rather than a competitor. All this needs a strategy which is to be coordinated, considered, and realistic in terms of making the most effective use of the resources and budgets available. Fig 2 shows the marketing strategy.

Fig 2 The marketing strategy

Planning a marketing strategy starts with a detailed and ongoing investigation of the market and its sub-markets or segments. Organizations look at the social, political, economic, cultural, and technological trends which are shaping the market, their own position within it and the resources they can marshal to change or influence it. This is sometimes known as the marketing audit.

The defining objectives, targets and performance measures of the marketing plan is then developed, along with a financial budget. When specific goals have been defined, alternatives to the status quo can be discussed, and ways to achieve those alternatives can be chosen. The marketing strategy is then formalized within a specific plan of action, which is constantly revised and updated, and the marketing campaign progresses.

Planning an effective marketing strategy is intimately bound up with the planning process for the entire organization, since it is linked to the overall organizational strategy and needs endorsement from the top. The strategy also needs to be continually reviewed. Hence, collaboration between marketing and other corporate activities such as finance, research, development and production, is important to effectively implementing the marketing strategy.

Marketing is a team effort needing the orchestration of a range of different skills, outlooks, and personalities. Some aspects of marketing deal solely in facts and finance, while others explore the ambiguities and uncertainties of changing consumer styles. A coherent marketing strategy is necessary for managing change, as organizations everywhere operate in technological, legislative, corporate, and market environments of rapid transition and change.

The marketing process – The marketing process consists of five stages which are (i) understanding the market and the needs and wants of the customers, (ii) designing a marketing strategy aimed at creating customer value, (iii) creating a marketing programme / plan which provides better value, (iv) retaining customers, building stable, and profitable relationships which keep the customer happy, and (v) capturing customer value to earn profits.

Understanding the market and the needs of the customers – The first step of the organization is to understand the needs of the customers in the market. For this, it is important to understand some of the basic concepts of customers and the market.

The needs, wants, and demands of the customers – A need is the feeling of lacking something, a physiological or psychological state common to all human beings, regardless of ethnicity or culture. A want is how the desire to meet a demand is expressed, as per the personal characteristics of the individual, cultural, social, and environmental factors, and marketing stimuli. A demand is when a want becomes reality thanks to the resources available to the individual.

Need is unlimited, while resources are limited. For this reason, the purchaser allocates them as they deem most appropriate. This is where marketing comes in, since it affects demand. It identifies, creates and develops demand, making it possible for wants to become a reality. Organizations and marketing personnel engage in a lengthy process to learn about and understand the needs, wants and demands of the customer. For this (i) they study the market, (ii) they analyze customer data, and (iii) they observe how customers buy and interact, both physically and on-line. Fig 3 shows the needs, wants, and demands of the customers.

Fig 3 Needs, wants, and demands of the customers

Offerings of the products, services, and experiences – Needs and wants are satisfied by an offering which consists of a given combination of products, services, and / or experiences which the organization offers on the market for satisfying a need or want. The offerings consist of products which can be any material good, service, or idea which has value for the customer and can satisfy a need.

Material good is a physical object. It can be consumable (e.g., a lubricant) or durable (e.g., an equipment). Service is the application of human or mechanical force to people, or objects. Services are intangible, short-lived, and cannot be stored (e.g., maintenance). Idea is a concept, philosophy, opinion or image. Ideas are intangible (e.g., plan, study proposal, or budget). Marketing-oriented organizations focus on the advantages and experiences offered by their products or services.

Customer value and satisfaction – In any type of product or service, customers have a very wide range of offerings available in the market which consists of an excess of products and services which satisfy a given need. The customers choose the product and services from the several offerings available to him. Hence, the customers create expectations about the value and satisfaction of the various offerings on the market and buy as per them.

A satisfied customer buys again, while an unsatisfied customer buys from a competitor and criticizes the product to others. Hence, the marketing personnel are to be very careful when establishing the level of expectation for the products. If they define very low expectations, they can satisfy those who are already buying, but do not attract new customers. On the other hand, if they raise expectations too high, buyers can be disappointed. The value of a product or service for the customer, and the satisfaction they get from it, are key components in developing and managing the customer relationship.

Exchanges and relationships – Marketing personnel are trying to elicit a reaction to a given offering on the market. Marketing happens when people decide to satisfy their needs and wants through an exchange relationship. In other words, through the act of getting a desired object and / or service by offering something in return. Marketing consists of performing actions to create and to maintain exchange relationships with target audiences in relation to products, services, or ideas. Going further than attracting new customers, the goal is to keep them and have them increase their exchanges with the organization.

Markets – The exchange concept brings us to another new concept, the market which constitutes the set of present and potential buyers of a product or service. Marketing personnel manages these markets to create stable relationships with these customers.

Designing of a customer-oriented marketing strategy and plan – When the organizations know and understand the customers in a market, they can design a customer-oriented strategy. For doing this, they are to understand two fundamental things namely (i) the customers they are going to cater to, i.e., the target market of the organization, and (ii) the best way to serve the customers in the target market, i.e., the value proposition of the organization.

First, the organization is required to decide which customers it is going to focus on. It is not possible to serve all the potential customers well and, hence, it is necessary to select the customers the organization can attend well while also making a profit. For making this selection the market is to be divided into groups / types of customers, known as market segmentation. Meanwhile, the organization is to decide how it is going to serve its target customers. In other words, how it is going to differentiate itself and position itself in the market.

For establishing its market position, the organization is required to define its value proposition, i.e., the set of benefits or values it promises to provide to its customers to meet their needs. The value proposition is what differentiates one brand from another. A clear, strong value proposition enables the organization to gain a competitive advantage in its market, since it offers something, which others do not, or offers the same product or service in a different way.In short, the marketing strategy of the organization consists of defining which customers it is going to focus on and how it is going to create value for them.

Creating of a marketing plan – After deciding on the marketing strategy, marketing personnel of the organization develop the marketing programme or plan, i.e., turning the strategy into action. For carrying out this plan, they use the tools which make up the marketing mix. These tools are the famous ‘4Ps’ of marketing described earlier in the article. Fig 4 shows creating of a marketing plan.

Fig 4 Creating of a marketing plan

For concretizing its value proposition, the organization creates an offering (product) which meets a need. It decides how much to charge for that offering (price), how to make the offering available to its target customers (placement) and how to communicate the offering to its target customers and convince them of its benefits (promotion).

Retaining customers, building stable, profitable relationships which keep the customer happy – All the marketing process steps lead to the most important element which is building profitable relationships with the customers. For this purpose, it is necessary to manage customer relations consisting of customer capture, retention, and development. The key to creating long-term relationships with customers is to create more value and satisfaction for the customer, since a satisfied customer is a loyal one. Attracting and retaining customers is a hard task, since they normally have a large variety to choose from. Normally, they choose the offering with the highest perceived value, i.e., customers assess the difference between the cost and benefit obtained, comparing it with offering of the competitors.

Customer satisfaction depends on the perceived performance of the product in relation to the expectations of the customer, i.e., (i) if the product does not perform as expected, the customer is dissatisfied, (ii) if the product performs as per the expectations, the customer is satisfied, and (iii) if the product exceeds expectations, the customer has maximum level of satisfaction. Marketing-oriented organizations work to keep their customers satisfied, since a high satisfaction level can lead to higher level of customer loyalty and hence better returns for the organization.

Capturing customer value to earn profits – The final stage of the marketing process consists of receiving value in exchange for the product supplied or service provided to the customer. This value can be in the form of sales, market share, or present and future profits. Creating value enables organizations to retain customers, increasing (i) customer life-time value, (ii) customer share, and (iii) customer capital.

Customer life-time value consists of future purchases of a product or service of the customer through-out their life. Good customer relationship management means ensuring that the customer is delighted with the products or services, since happy customers are loyal, and speak well for the organization and its products to the people around them. Loyal customers spend more, while losing a customer means losing money.

Customer share is the share of the organization of all the purchases made by a customer in its product category. Organizations can improve this share with different marketing techniques such as cross-selling, a wider range of products, or improving sales so that customers buy more products and services.

Customer capital is the total discounted values throughout the life of all the present and potential customers. Hence, this is a measurement of the future value of the customer base of the organization. The more loyal is the profitable customers of the organization, the higher is its customer capital. Fig 5 shows the marketing process.

Fig 5 Marketing process

Analyzing the marketing environment – The first of the five stages of the marketing process is the analyzing and understanding the market and needs of the customers in an environment which is frequently complex and changeable. Apart from the customer, there are several players (suppliers, competitors, and intermediaries etc.) who can work for or against the interest of the organization, as well as elements in the environment which can present opportunities or threats (these elements can be economic, cultural, technological, and demographic etc.). All these aspects can affect the ability of the organization to attract customers and build a stable relationship with them. Hence, in order to develop an effective marketing strategy, the organization first needs to understand the environment in which it operates.

The marketing environment – The environment in which the organization finds itself comprises non-marketing agents and forces which influence the ability of marketing management to build and maintain stable relationships with the target customers. For this reason, the organization is to be alert to new developments and changes in its environment, take them into account, adapt to them, and even lead such changes.

Within the organization, the marketing personnel are to monitor trends and changes for threats and opportunities, with the help of the appropriate tools (market study and marketing intelligence), and are also to spend much of their time studying the environment of the organization and their competitors. Both the factors enable them to anticipate new challenges and opportunities in the market and be prepared to adapt them in the marketing strategy of the organization. The marketing environment comprises the micro-environment and the macro-environment.

The micro-environment – Agents close to the organization which influence its ability to serve its customers are the organization itself, suppliers, marketing intermediaries, consumer markets, competitors, and stakeholders. Marketing is successful if it builds effective relationships with the other departments in the organization, suppliers, and the other agents in the micro-environment, since all of them make up the value-creating network of the organization. When designing the marketing plan of the organization. the marketing personnel are to take into account other department of the organization, which make up its internal environment and influence the decisions.

Suppliers are important agents since they provide the organization with the resources it needs to produce its goods and services. Hence, any problems with the suppliers can affect the organization, especially its marketing department. Marketing intermediaries help the organization promote, sell, and distribute its products to customers. They include storage and physical distribution organizations, as well as marketing services (market study, advertising agencies, and graphic design studios etc.).

For achieving success, the organization is required to offer its customers higher value and satisfaction than its competitors. Hence, besides taking into account the needs of the customers, the marketing personnel are required to achieve a strategic advantage over its peers.

The marketing micro-environment is also influenced by the stake-holders. The stake-holders can be any group which impacts the ability of the organization to reach its financial, media, governmental, civil, internal, general or local goals. Customers are the most important group of agents in the micro-environment, since the entire organization revolves around them and the goal of establishing successful relationships with them. Here, customers also refer to a broader concept, which is the context within which the marketing department operates, i.e., the market. It is to be understood the ‘the market’ constitutes the set of people, individuals or organizations, who need a given product or service, who want to buy it, or want it in the future, and who have the financial and legal capacity to do so.

There are five types of customer markets from the marketing perspective, namely (i) consumer markets consisting of individuals and households who acquire products or services for personal consumption, (ii) industrial markets which buy goods and services for use in their production process, (iii) reseller markets which buy goods and services to resell for profit, (iv) government markets consisting of public bodies which buy goods and services to produce public services, and (v) international markets consisting of buyers in other countries. Fig 6a shows the micro-environment.

Fig 6 The marketing environments

The macro-environment – Fig 6b shows the macro-environment. The broader forces which affect the macro-environment are demographic, economic, natural, technological, socio-political and statutory factors. These factors make up the opportunities and threats which the organization can face. Some of them are unpredictable and uncontrollable, but others can be predicted and handled by skilled management. Organizations which can predict, understand, and adapt to their environment can remain successful, but those which cannot find themselves in difficulties, even in the case of big organizations.

Demographic factors are relevant for marketing personnel since they refer to the individuals who make up the markets. Hence, the marketing personnels are required to pay attention to trends, changes, and developments which can affect the organization. These factors include family structure, migrations, and ageing population etc.

A functioning market needs individuals with purchasing power. The factors which affect the purchasing power of the customers and spending patterns make up the economic environment. These factors have a major impact on buying habits and spending by the customers.

Natural factors refer both to the natural resources which the organization needs (e.g., the operation of the organization can be affected by a shortage of raw materials) and to the unexpected natural phenomena which can affect the organization (e.g., natural or climate disasters. The latter are unpredictable, but the organization is to be ready to deal with them if they happen, both to avoid problems and to respond to any which can represent an opportunity.

Technology can be the force which has had the most impact on the organizations and marketing in recent years. Technological factors are bringing major changes in the markets, enabling the development of new products and creating new opportunities (e.g., credit / debit cards, internet, mobile phones, on-line sales, and smart phones, etc.). Meanwhile, the impact of new technologies has led to a new way of understanding marketing such as digital marketing involves the use of digital tools and resources to reach customers more directly and in a more personalized way.

In several organizations, marketing decisions are very much affected by changes in socio-political factors. These factors include legislation, government organizations, and pressure groups. They are particularly relevant for the organizations operating in regulated markets, and to a lesser extent to all other organizations, as they are all subject to some degree to legislation, new regulations because of changes of government, and changes because of unstable political situations etc.

Finally, organizations can be affected by cultural factors, meaning the basic values, perceptions, preferences and behaviour of a society. Everyone grows up in a given society which shapes their belief system, basic values, needs and tastes, all these characteristics affect decision-making in marketing.

Managing the marketing environment – There is a significant saying in marketing about organizations and how they manage their environment. The saying is ‘there are three types of organizations namely those which make things happen, those which watch them happen, and those which wonder what happened’.

The first type is pro-active, i.e., they develop strategies and take action to change their environment, organize media events to get their message to the public, and work to encourage legislation which lets them operate etc. In other words, these organizations manage the information they have about their environment, which enables them to anticipate events and adapt the environment to suit their interests. These organizations and their products are the ones which normally create new industries and markets. Meanwhile, the other two are reactive, merely watching and reacting when things have already happened, and in the worst-case scenario by the time they realize what has happened they have no valid solutions.

Managing marketing information – For designing marketing strategies, marketing personnel need to know and understand the market, and to have relevant information on the important elements of it, such as customers, products, and competitors. Knowing these aspects means getting the data. Hence, it is necessary to analyze how organizations can get these informations and, more importantly, how these are managed. In other words, how the marketing personnel gain knowledge about the market to enable them to make the right decisions.

The marketing information system – Knowledge of the market and customers is important for the marketing personnel, since it enables them to design good marketing programmes and to make the right decisions. Information has no intrinsic value without analysis, the value is found in the knowledge people extract from it and how the marketing personnel use it for making decisions. These days it is easy to get market information because of the new technologies. Organizations can get information from several sources. Customers themselves generate a lot of data through their mobile phones, tablets, social networks, apps, ecommerce, videos, and geolocation etc. Fig 7 shows components of marketing information system.

Fig 7 Components of marketing information system

In fact, people have gone from market information being hard to find, to having too much of it. Hence, now the challenge is knowing how to extract the most relevant information and use it to produce useful knowledge. For managing of this information, organizations normally have a marketing information system i.e., people and procedures which look for information needs, get the necessary information and transform it into useful information for the decision makers of the organization.

The process of the marketing information system – The first step is to assess the formation needs of the organization; It is important to make an honest analysis of these needs in order to avoid casting the net too wide and ending up with an information overload. Once it has been decided what information is needed, the second phase of searching for that information begins. Marketing personnel can get data from different sources as given below.

First source is the internal data-bases such as electronic collections of information on customers and markets got from sources of data on the organizational own network. Second source is the competitive intelligence which consists of systematically monitoring, gathering and analyzing information in the public domain on customers, competitors, and market trends. This can be done by first-hand observation of customers, interviews in the sales network, comparative analysis of the products of the competitors, monitoring social networks, and talking to the suppliers etc. The third source is the commercial studies which consists of the systematic design, gathering, analysis, and presentation of information on a specific marketing situation / problem facing the organization.

When the organization has the information, the next phase is to extract value from it by information analysis. Information analysis is to analyze the information, for which marketing personnel can rely on their own expert knowledge or use analytical models such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, and big data. CRM software integrates customer information got from the points of contact of the customers with the organization (purchases, sales employees, customer services, and websites etc.). Big data is the tools which can find patterns in large quantities of data. All the obtained and analyzed information has no value until it is used for decision making and, hence, the marketing information is r-needed to bring this information to executives, normally in the form of reports.

Market study – As well as internal information and data got through in-house resources, marketing personnel normally need formal studies of specific situations and decisions, which is where commercial study comes into play. Market study is the systematic and objective search for and analysis of information of relevance for identifying and solving a marketing situation or issue. The information got by means of market study is required to meet several needs namely (i) reducing uncertainty, (ii) being a potential influence on decision-making, and (iii) justifying the cost. Some large organizations have their own market study departments, but it is more normal to outsource this task. The six steps market study process is shown in Fig 8.

Fig 8 Six steps market study process

Marketing study involves two types of analyses namely (i) quantitative analysis, and (ii) qualitative analysis. Quantitative analysis provides figures and statistics and is used to answer questions about potential market demand, sales quotas, and prices and sales analysis. It is normally conducted through surveys and panels. Qualitative analysis is used in analysis of trends, attitudes, perceptions and opinions. The most frequent techniques are in-person or phone interviews and group meetings.

The study methodology depends on whether representativeness or depth is the priority. In other words, choosing between gathering data which can be extrapolated quantitatively to a study population, or finding explanations for those data.

Marketing study normally draws conclusions on large groups of customers based on the study of a small group, the sample. This is a segment of the population selected to represent the entire population in the context of market study. The most important factor when selecting a sample is that it is to be representative.

Market study is useful for a wide range of applications. It provides market structure, market potential, market segmentation, customer behaviour, analysis of strategic plans, analysis of strategies of the competitors, and market tests. With respect to the product, it provides purchase and use, image, positioning, proof of concept, product testing, and sales model for new products. As regards price, it includes pricing structure, price elasticity of demand, and price perception of the buyers. For distribution, it provides selection of distribution channels, location of points of sale, design and decoration of points of sale. With respect to sales, it includes performance, motivation and compensation of sales employees, sales areas and quotas. As regards advertising, it provides message testing, selecting media, effectiveness of advertising, and organizational image.

Commercial research in small organizations – All organizations, whether large or small, need information on customers and markets in order to make decisions. They do not need a marketing information system or large-scale study, but there are several study techniques available for lower budgets such as (i) observation at the point of sale, (ii) informal polling of small samples, (iii) on-line surveys, and (iv) searching for information on-line which consists of analyzing the websites and social network presence of competitors, products, and customers.

Customer behaviour – The goal of marketing is to attract customers. For doing this, marketing personnel are to understand customer behaviour very well. Customer behaviour refers to the set of actions taken by a person or organization from the emergence of a need to the purchase and use of the product, as well as the factors influencing those actions. Hence, it is to focus on the ‘what, when and how’ of customer buying decisions. Understanding these aspects enable the organization to (i) identify present and future needs more efficiently, (ii) improve the ability of the organization to communicate with the customer, and (iii) earn their trust and ensure their loyalty, and plan commercial actions more effectively.

The customer behaviour model – People make several buying decisions over the course of a day. Influencing of these buying decisions is the main focus of marketing. For understanding the customer behaviour model, organizations need to answer several questions namely (i) what they buy, (ii) who buys, (iii) why they buy, (iv) how they buy, (v) when they buy, (vi) where they buy, and (vii) how much they buy.

With the answers got, marketing personnel can design the most appropriate actions to attract customers and establish a relationship with them. There are several different factors which influence customer behaviour and buying decisions. These are described below.

Cultural factors have the maximum influence. Culture means behaviour learned at a basic level which affects the behaviour of an individual.  Social factor is the behaviour of an individual which is influenced by several small groups. The groups which directly influence the behaviour of a person are called groups of belonging, i.e., those which the individual refers to and aspires to join are reference groups. The family is the most important buying organization in society. Hence, marketing is continually studying the roles of each member. Personal factor indicates that people are influenced by their own characteristics, such as their profession, age, stage of life, economic situation, life-style, personality and self-concept.

Psychological factor consists of four psychological sub-factors which influence buying decisions of the people. These are (i) motivation, (ii) perception, (iii) learning, and (iv) beliefs and attitudes. Motivation: is the general pre-disposition driving behaviour to get what is desired. Perception is the process of selecting and integrating sensory stimuli into a meaningful, consistent image. Perception is selective (people perceive what they are interested in). The same product can be perceived differently by different people, depending on the attributes which most interest them. Learning refers to changes in the behaviour of an individual behaviour caused by experience. Through learning, people acquire beliefs (thoughts describing something) and attitudes (value judgements, feelings and tendencies towards something) which also influence their buying behaviour.

Buying behaviour also varies depending on how the roles of buyer, customer, and payer are associated, in which the several situations are possible such as, (i) the three functions are performed by the same person, (ii) each function is performed by one person, (iii) one person is the buyer / payer and another is the customer, (iv) one person is the buyer / customer and another is the payer, and (v) one person is the buyer and another is the customer / payer.

The buying decision – Buying behaviour varies a great deal as per the product or service to be acquired. The process is longer for important purchases, becoming shorter for less important purchases or if the purchaser has higher experience of the product and awareness of existing brands. Tab 1 gives complexity of buying decisions.

Tab 1 Complexity of buying decisions
Low complexity High complexity
Repeat purchasesFirst purchase
Frequent buying Occasional buying
Impulse buying Rational buying
Low-involvement buyingHigh-involvement buying
Low-priced productHigh-priced product

Depending on the level of participation of the buyer and the difference between brands, people can distinguish several types of buying behaviour. Buying behaviour is complex, when the buyer is very involved in the purchase and perceives considerable differences between the brands. This normally involves a thoughtful buying choice. Dissonance-reducing behaviour is when the buyer is very involved in the purchase but does not see much difference between brands. It has a shorter decision-making process. Habitual buying behaviour is when the participation of the buyer is low and the differences between brands are not significant. Variety-seeking behaviour is when the participation of the buyer is low but there are large perceived differences between brands.

The buying decision process – The buying process begins well before the purchase itself and continues for a long time afterwards. Hence, marketing personnel are required to analyze the whole buying process and not only the buying decision. There are five stages in the buying process, which everyone goes through in a different way. The process can be fast or slow and customer can skip a stage or change their order.

The first is the recognition of a need in which the person realizes that they have a need, which can be triggered by an internal or external stimulus. The second is the searching for information. Customers can get product information from a wide range of sources such as personal (family, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances), commercial (advertising, sales-people, and websites, and samples) and public (mass media, customer organizations, and internet).

The third is the assessing of the options, by which the customers process the information to choose between different products and brands, sometimes thoughtfully, and sometimes buying on impulse. The fourth is the making of the buying decision. The buying decisions of the customers normally consist of buying the product or brand they prefer, but two factors can still enter into play between the intention to buy and the final decision which are the attitudes of other people and unexpected circumstances.

The fifth is the post-purchase behaviour. After the acquisition of a product the customer feels either satisfied or dissatisfied and behaves in a certain way depending on that feeling. This behaviour is determined by the relationship between the customer expectations and the perceived product performance. If the product does not fulfil expectations, the customer feels dissatisfied, if the product fulfils expectations, the customer feels satisfied, and if the product exceeds expectations, the customer is delighted. The higher the difference between expectations and performance, the more dissatisfied / satisfied the customer is going to be.

Customer satisfaction is a marketing priority, since (i) a satisfied customer buys a product again, talks about it positively, and pays less attention to the messages from competitors, and (ii) a dissatisfied customer talks negatively about the product, does not buy it again, and switches to the product of the competitors. Negative publicity travels much faster than positive. Hence, marketing personnel are required to assess the satisfaction of their customers, encouraging them to share their complaints, what they value about the product, and what the organization is doing wrong, and then look for solutions. Fig 9a shows the purchasing decision process.

Fig 9 Purchasing decision process and adoption rate for new products

The buying decision process for new products – A new product is a good, service, or idea which potential customers perceive to be something new. From the marketing point of view, it is important to know how customers discover a product for the first time and how they decide whether or not to adopt it. The adoption process is the mental process an individual goes through from first hearing about a new product to finally adopting it. During the process of adopting a new product, customers go through several stages as described below.

The first stage is the awareness by which the customers discover that a new product exists but have no information about it. The next stage is interest during which they look for information on the new product. The third stage is the evaluation during which they assess whether it makes sense to acquire the new product. In the fourth stage of trial, they try the new product on a small scale to further assess its value. After this, the stage of adoption comes, in which they decide to use the new product habitually. The person responsible for marketing of a new product is required to think about how they can help customers go through these stages and adopt the product.

The willingness of the people to try new products varies widely. There are five different types of new product adopters. The first are innovators. They are adventurous customers who risk trying new ideas. The second are early adopters who adopt new ideas quickly but cautiously, with some previous knowledge. They are opinion leaders in their industry. The third are early majority. They adopt new ideas later than the above, but earlier than average. The fourth are late majority. They are skeptical and adopt innovations only when they have already been tried by the majority. The fifth are laggards. They reject changes and adopt innovations only when the products have already become customary. The adoption rate for a very high percentage of new products or ideas follows a similar curve as given in Fig 9b.

Customer-oriented marketing strategy – The study of marketing strategy, tactics, and tools begin by analyzing fundamental strategic marketing decisions, which are the basis for all subsequent work by marketing personnel such as segmentation, selecting target markets, as well as differentiation and positioning.

Markets are made up of heterogeneous people and entities. Hence, the potential customers of the organization are very numerous, dispersed, and with very different needs and buying behaviour. For this reason, organizations are to identify the parts of the market they can serve best and most profitably. Meanwhile, the spectacular spread of new technology has generated global, connected markets where information flows constantly, thanks to which, organizations can get first-hand information from the customers. For all these reasons, majority of the organizations have abandoned traditional mass marketing approaches to focus on segment marketing i.e., identifying the market segments of interest to the organization, selecting one or more segments, developing products or services, and marketing programmes to suit each chosen segment.

There are two stages for the designing of a segment marketing strategy namely (i) the organization chooses the customers it is going to market the product, using market segmentation and target market selection, and (ii) the organization decides how it is going to create value for the target customers, using differentiation and positioning.

Market segmentation – In any market, there are a large variety of buyers, with different wants, resources, locations, and buying attitudes, etc. Using market segmentation, marketing personnel can divide these large, and diverse markets into smaller segments which can be reached more efficiently with products and services which meet the particular needs of that group. There are several ways to segment a market. Since each market is unique, with diverse characteristics, segmentation is to be based on those specific differences. Marketing personnel are to try different segmentation variables until they find the best way to reflect the structure of their target market.

The variables which can be used to segment a market include (i) geography which consists of dividing the market into different geographical units (countries, regions, autonomous regions, states, provinces, and cities), and (ii) demographics consists of dividing the market into groups based on variables such as age, gender, income, profession, family size, family life cycle, educational level, religion, race or generation. Some of these demographic variables are more relevant and described below.

Age and life stage is the dividing the market into different age groups or different stages in the life cycle in order to offer specific products or use marketing approaches designed for those groups. Gender form of segmentation is used a great deal in the markets for clothing, cosmetics, personal hygiene, and magazines etc. Income consists of dividing the market into groups based on income, as the resources available to customers clearly dictate their consumption type and level. Psycho-graphics is dividing the market into groups according to social class, lifestyle or characteristics of individual personalities. behaviour consists of division as per behaviour, attitudes, and how customers use and respond to a product or service.

Marketing personnel normally use more than one variable for market segmentation, in order to form an accurate picture of who their customers are, what they buy, and when they buy etc. In recent years, market segmentation has developed a big deal because of e-commerce and social networks, tools which enable marketing personnel to get information directly from customers, which they can then use to create profiles and market segments.

For effective segmentation, it is necessary (i) to use the relevant variables in each market, and to divide the market into useful segments, meaning they are measurable (measuring size, purchasing power, or profiles), substantial (large enough to be profitable), differentiable (they react differently to marketing stimuli), and actionable (effective marketing programmes can be designed to attract and serve the segment).

Selection of the target markets – The large value of segmentation is that, by dividing markets into groups, marketing personnel can discover opportunities which they are not be able to see taking the market as a whole. After segmentation, the organization is needed to assess each segment and decide which ones it can serve best. For an effective assessment of each segment, the organization is required to evaluate three factors namely (i) the size and growth of each segment, (ii) the structural attractiveness of each segment, and (iii) the goals and resources of the organization.

After evaluating the market segments, the organization is to decide which segments it is going to address, which is called its target market, i.e., the set of buyers with the same needs or characteristics which the organization can serve. Organizations can relate to their target markets with different marketing approaches as described below.

Undifferentiated or mass marketing disregards segments and their differences and presents a single offering to the entire market. The organization considers the elements the segments have in common to be stronger than their differences. Differentiated or segmented marketing focuses on different market segments and designs individual offerings for each one. Concentrated or niche marketing aims to get a large market share in one or more small segments (niches). The organization wants to have a strong position and be a point of reference in these small segments. Local, individual, or micro-marketing personalizes products and marketing programmes to suit the interests of specific individuals (personal marketing) or places (local marketing). The choice of approach depends on different factors, the economic and human resources of the organization, product life cycle, and market maturity etc.

Marketing approaches are not static, and part of the job of the marketing personnel is adjusting the strategy to what the organization needs at the time. Hence, the organization can begin with a concentrated marketing approach, and after reaching a strong position in a niche, work on other niches until it has a larger market, and then adopt a differentiated segment marketing approach, or even an undifferentiated approach.

Positioning and differentiation – While analyzing the market segments it is going to address, organizations have to decide what their value proposition is going to be, i.e., how to create a differentiated value for the target segments and what position they want to occupy in those segments. In short, they are to answer the question ‘how the organization is going to serve these customers’. Product positioning is the place a product occupies in the mind of the customers compared to competing products and how customers define it. In other words, how customers see the organizational product. Positioning is fundamental since it defines the strength of a brand. Products are made in plants, but brands are made in the minds of customers. Positioning is a set of perceptions, impressions, and feelings which the customers have about a product compared to the products of competitors.

Marketing personnel cannot leave to chance the way customers position a product or brand in their minds. They are to analyze the attributes which position their product better in the market and design a marketing mix to reach the desired position. For planning a differentiation and positioning strategy, marketing personnel use a positioning map which is a graph which allows them to analyze the place a brand occupies in the market as per the customer perception in relation to other brands or an ideal brand (Fig 10). The axes are the attributes of the product which customers consider most important. The position of each brand on the map indicates perceived positioning of the brand along the axes.

Fig 10 Positioning map of the brand

Depending on the markets, people frequently find several organizations striving for similar positioning. In this case, each one has to find a way to differentiate themselves from the others. Differentiation is the creation of a unique set of benefits which attracts a substantial group of customers within a segment. Positioning and differentiation strategies are created in three stages as given below.

The first stage is identifying a set of possible value differences providing competitive advantages which positioning can be based on. The second stage is choosing the right competitive advantages. The organization can offer higher value in its product, its services, its chosen channel, its employees, or its image. The third stage is creating a positioning strategy with a combination of the differentiating elements of the organization / product / brand is what is called the value proposition. It is the total sum of benefits differentiating and positioning a brand. The graphic below shows the possible value propositions the organization can use to position its products. Winning value propositions are shown in green and losing ones are shown in red in Fig 11.

Fig 11 The value proposition

Application and communication of the chosen positioning – Once the positioning has been decided, the organization has to convey its desired position to the target customers. The positioning strategy is not only communication but is to be backed up with actions. If the organization is looking for ‘more for more’ positioning, it has to produce high quality products, charge a high price, distribute through exclusive or high-quality channels and advertise on quality media.

Product, service, and brand – Marketing mix, and the tactical tools are used by the marketing personnel to implement their strategies.

Product, service, and offering – In the strict sense, a product is anything which can be offered on a market, acquired, used or consumed, and which can satisfy a need or want. More broadly, it can refer to services, events, peoples, ideas, places, organizations, or a combination of any of these. Because of their importance, services are also focused on by the people. Services are a type of product which consists of actions performed for sale. Services are intangible and their acquisition does not lead to any kind of ownership.

The set of products and / or services which the organization makes available to customers are the fundamental elements of the offering of the organization. The offering is the foundation on which the organization builds profitable relationships with its customers. The offering of the organization can be products, services, or both products and services.

Products and services are classified into two categories depending on who buys them. These are (i) consumer products, and (ii) industrial products. Consumer products are products and services acquired by the end consumer for personal consumption.  Industrial products are purchased for further processing or for use in conducting a commercial activity. Hence, the difference between consumer products and industrial products is based on the purpose for which they are acquired.

Product and service decisions – Marketing personnel have to make decisions about products and services in three areas namely (i) individual products, (ii) product lines, and (iii) the product mix.

Individual product decisions – Product attributes are defining of the benefits which the products offer through product attributes such as quality, features, style, and design. Product quality is one of the main positioning tools available to the marketing personnel. A product can be offered with different features and options. The starting point is a basic model. Based on this, the organization can decide to create upgraded models with added features. Another way to add value for customers is by making the product style and design different to the normal product or the products of the competitors.

A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements, identifying the producer or seller of a product or service. Customers consider brands to be an important part of products, since they add their own meanings and develop relationships with the brands. The brand name is the basis on which a story can be built about the qualities and distinguishing features of a product.

The brand offers the producer / seller a series of advantages, including product identification and legal protection (if it is a registered trade name). A brand consists of two elements namely the name and the logo. The name is the part of the brand which can be spoken. Choosing the name is vital, since it can have a positive or negative effect on a product. A good name is to be appropriate, not have any double meanings, be easy to recognize and remember, and straight-forward to pronounce. The logo is the graphic design which distinguishes a brand, product, or organization. A logo adds personality to the brand and helps in its positioning.

Packaging is the product container or wrapper. Product support services are normally known as customer services. These supplementary services help to strengthen the customer’s brand experience.

Product line decisions – A product line is a group of products which are closely related to each other since they work in similar ways, they are sold to the same group of customers and are sold in the same price band. The main product line decision concerns its length, in other words, the number of products in a line (a short line with a few products or a long line with several products).

The organization can expand a product line in two ways, namely (i) line filling means adding more items within the present range of the line, and (ii) line stretching means lengthening the product line beyond the present range, which can be downward, upward, or two-way stretching.

Product portfolio or product mix decisions – The product portfolio is the set of all product lines and items which the organization offers for sale. This is also called the product mix. The product mix of an organization has four important dimensions. These are (i) width which means the number of different product lines the organization carries, (ii) length which is the total number of items which the organization carries within the product lines, (iii) depth which is the number of types offered for each product in the product line, and (iv) consistency which means how closely related the product lines are in terms of end use, production requirements, or distribution channels. These dimensions help define the product strategy of the organization.

Organizations can increase their revenue using the mix in four ways namely (i) adding new product lines, or widening the product mix, (ii) lengthening the existing product lines for fuller lines, (iii) adding more types of each product to deepen the product mix, and (iv) making product lines more consistent. Organizations can also need to narrow their product mix by removing low performing lines and stream-lining their strategy.

Service marketing – A service is the application of human or mechanical force to people, or objects. Services are also products, but intangible, and hence with special marketing needs. Services have grown dramatically in recent years. Service industries differ significantly, both in terms of providers and in type. However, all services have certain special characteristics which include the (i) intangibility, (ii) inseparability, (iii) variability or heterogeneity, and (iv) perishability.

Intangibility services cannot be perceived by the senses and are difficult to define or visualize. Inseparability services cannot be separated from their providers. Services are first sold, then produced, and consumed at exactly the same time. Hence, service providers are part of their product. In case of variability or heterogeneity services, the quality of services can differ significantly, depending on who provides them and when, where and how. This makes them more difficult to standardize but they offer more personalization options. Perishability services expire and cannot be stored. If not used when available, they cannot be kept for later use.

These special characteristics of services make them more difficult to market as compared to the products and need design of specific marketing strategies. Service marketing needs internal and external marketing. Internal marketing means that the organization guides and motivates its employees (those in contact with the customer and all other employees) to provide customer satisfaction. External marketing uses the normal marketing tools to reach the customer, but focuses on three factors namely (i) differentiating the service, i.e., developing an offering, provision, or image which is very different from the competitors of the organization, (ii) service quality which is consistently providing better quality than the competitors, and (iii) service productivity, i.e., giving employees better training, motivation, or technology to help them to be more productive. Fig 12 shows service utility chain.

Fig 12 Service utility chain

Brand strategy, creating of strong brands – A brand is among the most powerful assets of the organization. It is the main way to identify a product and differentiate it from others, expressing its personality, the set of values which the people associate with the product or the organization, and everything a product or service means to the customer. A powerful brand has high brand equity, i.e., the positive differential effect of brand name familiarity on the customer’s response to the product or service, and the degree to which the brand can earn the customer’s preference and loyalty. For this reason, brand management is one of the most important tasks of the marketing personnel. The possible brand strategies are analyzed below.

Single brand means that the same brand is used for all the products of the organization. Advantages are that this creates an umbrella brand which covers all the products, saving on promotional and media budgets, and helping to market new products which reach the market with a degree of brand familiarity.

Multi-brand means that a different brand is used for each of the products of the organization. Advantages are that this allows for greater market segmentation and the possibility of reaching more buyers. It avoids cross-contamination between brands if one of them has a problem.

Second brands means that organizations with important brands create second-level brands in order to segment and expand their market to reach new customers, and test products and services before introducing them in their normal markets.

Brand alliances means agreements between supplementary brands in order to strengthen their image or quality perception in order to provide an image of positive quality to a less-known brand by associating it with a more prestigious one. One form of alliance is co-branding, using two different brands / products at the same time on a new product or service.

Distributor brands or own brands means that the brands which a distributor applies to the products made by a different organization, in order to improve the image of the distributor and give it more control over its market, as well as create customer loyalty.

Vertical branding means that organization brands with points of sale selling only their own exclusive products. This leads to a strong identification of the product with the concept / atmosphere of the area where it is sold.

With the right brand strategy, marketing personnel can create a strong brand, with the end goal of clearly positioning the brand in the mind of the customers. Good brand management involves working on it continuously. Customers are to be constantly reminded of the brand’s positioning to keep it top-of-mind. Three elements make a lasting brand namely (i) brand memory, (ii) customer commitment, and (iii) the brand experience.

New product development – Development of new products are is necessary for the organization. As products age and die, organizations are required to develop new ones to take their place. How new products are developed and managed through the various stages of their life cycle which is described below. Fig 13a gives product life cycle.

Fig 13 Product life cycle and development process for new product

Developing a new product – Fig 13b shows process of developing a new product. New product means original products, improvements to products, modifications and new brands which the organization creates through its own research and development (R&D). There are two ways the organization gets new products namely (i) acquisition i.e., buying an organization, a patent, or a license to make a third-party product, and (ii) development of the product by the R&D department of the organization.

New products enrich and add variety to the product portfolio, offer customers new solutions, and are a key source of growth for the organization. However, success is not guaranteed. It is estimated that a high percentage of new products on the market fail.

For developing new products with some assurance of success, the organization is required to know and understand its customers, its markets, and its competitors, and develop products for those customers and markets which offer higher value than the competition. Hence, the organization is required to analyze and plan rigorously, and establish a new product development process through the following steps

The first is the generation of the ideas which means a systematic search for new product ideas, going to different sources and using a variety of methods. Possible sources of ideas include present customers, employees, distributors, suppliers, scientists or inventors, production personnel, engineers, competitors, marketing consultants and trend analysts. Methods for getting ideas can be informal or formal. Formal methods include brain-storming, synectics, morphological analysis, and most recently, crowd-sourcing.

Brain-storming is a spontaneous, unfiltered meeting of all kinds of people who contribute ideas to the topic, with no criticism by those present, which are gathered for subsequent examination. Synectics is a more structured brain-storming session using two psychological mechanisms namely (i) making the strange familiar, and (ii) making the familiar strange. Morphological analysis is a method for stimulating creativity which looks for all the theoretical solutions to a problem and lists the necessary elements in all the solutions. Crowd-sourcing consists of inviting a very large group of people (customers, employees, researchers, and general public) to participate in the product innovation process.

Screening the ideas is a process of selecting the new product ideas in order to identify the good ones and discard non-viable or bad ideas. New product development is expensive and, hence, the organizations prefer to focus on ideas which can easily become products. Marketing personnel use three concepts for screening ideas namely (i) real, i.e., there is a real desire or need for the product, and the customers are going to buy it, (ii) win, i.e., the product is going to give the organization a real competitive advantage, and (iii) worth, i.e., the product offers enough potential profit.

At the stage of developing and testing the concept, an attractive idea is developed until it becomes a product concept, i.e., a detailed description of the product idea, normally in terms the customer can understand. Testing the concept involves finding out how customers interpret and evaluate the product concept. This is normally done in customer focus groups (qualitative study).

Designing the marketing strategy is carried out after the concept is tested. It is the next step for developing a tentative strategy for the product. To be as realistic as possible, it is to include elements like a description of the target market, the desired positioning, predicted sales, possible market share, profits, price, distribution and suitable promotion methods. This is a first strategy proposal which is changed as frequently as necessary throughout the process.

Business analysis stage consists of assessing the business attractiveness of the new product. This stage is to include an estimation of sales, costs, and predicted profits to see whether the new product meets the goals of the organization.

Until the product development stage, the organization has only had a verbal description, a drawing or a model of the new product., At this stage, a prototype, or preliminary type is produced. This enables testing of production viability, trouble-shooting, estimating costs, and testing functions, so the organization can decide if the initial idea can become a viable product. There is frequently a product test by means of which prototypes are tested by a selected group of customers.

During the stage of market test, the prototype goes on to a more realistic market environment. Normally the new product goes onto the market, but on a small scale. This gives a realistic estimate of how the product is going to be accepted by the market, and whether any changes are to be made to the planned marketing strategy. The major disadvantage is that competitors get alerted to the plans of the organization.

Commercialization is the last stage. If the previous stages have been satisfactory, the organization subjects the product to a final check and launches the product in the market, where its real marketing begins.

The product life cycle – All products go through a series of stages from their launch to their disappearance from the market. It is called the product life cycle (Fig 13a). The life cycle of a product can be tracked through its sales and profits, which normally increase at the beginning and gradually decrease at the end. Throughout its life, a product is influenced by market behaviour, environment, and competition. Hence, the marketing strategy and tools differ depending on the stage in the life cycle.

The product life cycle is divided into several phases namely (i) introduction, (ii) growth, (iii) maturity, and (iv) decline. The duration of these phases depends on the product itself, the market, and the competition etc. Tab 2 summarizes the marketing characteristics, goals, and strategies at each stage of the product life cycle.

Tab 2 Marketing characteristics, goals, and strategies
SalesLowRapidly risingPeakDeclining
Costs per customerHighAverageLowLow
CustomersInnovatorsEarly adoptersMiddle majorityLaggards
CompetitorsFewGrowing numberStable numberDeclining number
ProductOffer a basic productOffer product extension, service, warrantyDiversify brands and modelPhase out weak items
PriceUse cost plusPrice to penetrate marketPrice to match or beat competitorsCut price
DistributionBuild selective distributionBuild intensive distributionBuild more intensive distributionGo selective phase out unprofitable outlets
AdvertisingBuild product awareness among early adopters and innovatorsBring awareness and interest in the mass marketStress brand differences and benefitsReduce to level needed to retain most loyal customers
Sales promotionUse heavy sales promotion to entice trialReduce to take advantage of heavy demandIncrease to encourage brand switchingReduce to minimum level

Promotion, the communications mix – The product is the basis of the commercial strategy, while the marketing tool which helps to present the product to the customer with a clear, powerful, and attractive message is promotion. All the tools of integrated marketing need communications and the process of developing effective communications are described below.

Promotion or integrated marketing communications – Promotion is basically communication through which the seller transmits information about a product, product range, or organization to the buyer. Promotion uses a range of media and its ultimate aim is to stimulate demand for the product. Promotion has three objectives namely (i) to inform people of the existence of the product, its features, and benefits, (ii) to persuade potential buyers of the benefits of the products and to stimulate buying, and (iii) to remind present customers of the existence of the product.

The promotion concept includes a set of communications with the target market. The set of communication consists of (i) personal selling, (ii) advertising, (iii) public relations, (iv) sales promotion, (v) direct marketing, and (v) on-line marketing.

The marketing communications mix – The communications mix of the organization is the set of advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, direct marketing, and digital marketing tools which the organization uses to persuade customers of the value of its products and create relationships with them. Depending on the state of the market, the customers, the product, and the goals of the organization, marketing personnel use one or more of these tools in their promotion strategy.

Advertising consists of the transmission of paid, non-personal information through mass media in the form of advertisements or inserts, paid for by the seller, with a message controlled by the

advertiser, in order to present and promote ideas, products and services. Advertisements can be placed on the radio, television, print media, bill-boards, and all the new media which have arisen because of the internet etc.

Sales promotion activities using material or economic incentives directly or immediately to stimulate short-term demand for a product or service. These include discounts, coupons, point of sale displays, and product demonstrations etc.

Personal selling consists of in-person presentations given by members of the sales team of the organizations conveying information directly to a specific potential customer and simultaneously receiving feedback. Its purpose is to present and convince the potential buyer of the benefits of the product or service.

Public relations consist of creating a good relationship with the different audiences of the organization and gaining favourable publicity, creating a good ‘corporate image’ and resolving or eliminating rumours, unflattering information or unfavourable events. Public relations activities include press releases, sponsorships, and organization of events.

Direct marketing means direct contacts with individual carefully selected customers to elicit an immediate response and cultivate long-lasting customer relationships. There are two types of direct marketing tools (i) traditional media, and (ii) on-line marketing, which uses all types of internet interface (websites, blogs, e-mail, on-line media), smartphones, tablets, social networks and mobile apps.

Managing marketing communications – Marketing communications have been traditionally used to advertise mass market products, so the normal model used mass media to bring a message to a massive customer base. In recent decades, several factors have changed communication strategies of the organizations. On one hand, new digital technology is leading to surprising changes in the way organizations and customers communicate with each other. On the other hand, customers have more and more access to information and can compare what they are told by marketing departments with other information on-line or see reviews by other customers on social networks.

These factors have created a new marketing communications model which is more social, more focused, and more attractive, and open up a vast range of possibilities which marketing personnel are to take into account in their communication strategy and mix. They are to analyze all communication options (analogue and digital) and create the best mix for their needs and goals. The difficult part is grouping all the media in an organized and effective way. For doing this, organizations are adopting the integrated marketing communications concept. Fig 14 shows integral marketing communication.

Fig 14 Integral market communication

Stages of developing an effective integrated communications programme is given here. The first is identifying of the target audience. The marketing personnel analyze very carefully who they want their message to reach, as the message, channels or symbols they use differ depending on the selected audience. The target audience has considerable influence on decisions about what the marketing personnel are going to say, and how, when, where and to whom they are going to say it.

The second is the defining of the communications goal. It is deciding what response the marketing personnel want from the audience. Logically, the ultimate goal of all communication is to encourage buying of the product, but the customer can presently be at different stages in the willingness to buy process (awareness, knowledge, taste, preference, conviction, and purchase). The objective depends on where the audience is in the process.

The third is designing the message. Communicators are to develop an effective message to elicit the desired response from the audience. Ideally, the message is to draw attention, retain interest, create desire, and prompt action. When the message is created, the marketing personnel are to decide on the content, the structure, and the format.

The fourth is the choosing of media, i.e., preparing a proposal on the communication channels to be used. There are two main types of communication channel namely (i) personal, and (ii) impersonal. Personal means when two or more people communicate directly with each other. They can communicate face to face, or by phone, post, email, and mobile messaging apps etc. Impersonal means print media (newspapers and magazines), broadcast media (radio, and television), display media (billboards, posters, and panels) and on-line media (email and social networks websites).

The fifth is selecting the message source. The impact of the message on the target audience is affected by how the audience perceives the communicator. Messages transmitted by credible sources are more persuasive.

The sixth is gathering feedback which is assessing the impact on the target audience. This means asking the receivers of the message if they remember it, how many times they saw it, what they remember about it, how they feel about it, and their past and present attitudes to the product and the organization. Marketing personnel also have to measure the behaviour caused by the message, how many people bought the product, visited the website or shop, and talked to other people about it etc. Based on the information got, the marketing personnel can decide to continue with the communication as it is or make changes.

Advertising – It consists of all forms of non-personal communication paid for by the organization to present or promote ideas, products, and services. Organizations normally turn to advertising agencies for their advertising campaigns. These are marketing service organizations which help marketing personnel to plan, prepare, execute, and assess their advertising programmes. Agencies normally create the message, design the materials, and plan media buying. When developing an advertising campaign, marketing personnel need to take four important elements into account as described below.

The first is the goals of the advertising. Each advertising campaign has a specific goal or communication task and aims to reach a specific target audience in a specific time span. The goal of the advertising can be (i) informative, i.e., communicating value for the customer, creating a brand image, informing the market about a new product, explaining how the product works, reporting a change in price, describing the available services, and correcting a false impression etc., (ii) persuasive, which is creating a preference for the brand, promoting a switch to a brand, changing the perception of the attributes of a product, and persuading customers to buy now etc., and (iii) reminder which is reminding customers that they can need a product, reminding them where to buy the product, and keeping the brand top-of-their mind etc.

The second is the advertising budget which consists of deciding on the fund and other resources to be allocated to the advertising campaign. There is no specific method for deciding on a budget, but majority of the organizations are guided by their overall marketing budget. In any case, it is important to take into account market elements when deciding how much to spend advertising a product. These elements are (i) a new product needs a large budget to raise awareness and get customers to try the product (meanwhile, a mature brand does not need a lot of advertising), (ii) a brand in a highly competitive market needs a large budget to be noticed, and (iii) a product which is not differentiated from competing products need more advertising than one which can launch a message with a clear difference giving it a competitive advantage.

The third is advertising strategy, i.e., how the organization tries to reach its advertising goals. This consists of two elements namely creating the messages and choosing the advertising media. The message is the creation of an advertising message which begins with the marketing personnel creating the brief and delivering it to the agency. This document contains information on the product and the market, the campaign goals, the message to be transmitted, the target audience, the available budget, an estimated time-line, and any other relevant information.

Based on the brief, the agency creates the message which includes what the campaign is going to say, the combination of words, illustrations, images, sign, and signals which transmit one or more ideas. The words in the message are called copy. An important part of the message is the claim or slogan which is a short phrase summing up the message, like a headline. The message is going to be expressed on a specific medium with a specified size, duration, typography, colours, arrangement of the text, illustrations, and images etc., i.e., the advertisement layout.

Media or advertising media are the communication channels used to transmit a message (radio, television, print media, and digital media). No medium is intrinsically better than another. The job of the marketing personnel is to select the right medium or media for the campaign. This selection is normally done working with the advertising agency or media planning organization, i.e., organizations which specialize in choosing the right media for each campaign. The effectiveness of each medium is measured in terms of its audience, i.e., the number of people exposed to that medium. In other words, the set of people who watch a television channel, read a newspaper, and visit a digital medium etc. Media planning for a campaign is to take into account the following elements.

Coverage which means the number of people who are to be reached at least once by an advertisement on a medium. Frequency is the number of exposures which are to be received by the people reached by an advertisement on a medium. Total exposure is the result of multiplying coverage by frequency. The same number of exposures can be achieved with different coverages and frequencies.

The fourth is evaluation of results. Strictly speaking, the effectiveness of advertising is to be measured in terms of sales or changed behaviour, but in practice this is not possible and, hence, it is measured based on the extent to which the previously defined goals are met. Marketing personnel can also use commercial study to measure the effectiveness of advertising through two tools namely (i) pre-testing which is performed before the campaign to test whether the message has the needed persuasive value and is understood. (this is normally done with focus groups), and (ii) post-testing which is checking how well the campaign goals are achieved, focusing on finding out how many people remember the advertisement, whether the message is associated with the brand, or what brand attitude has been created by the advertisement (this is carried out by means of surveys).

Public relations – Public relations (PR) are the planned application of techniques designed to create reciprocal communication, knowledge, and understanding between the organization and its target audience. Public relations involve creating news stories and press releases, holding press conferences, presentations and demonstrations, sponsoring events and social occasions, holding conferences and other activities which attract the attention of the media and their audience, in order to convey favourable messages about the product or the organization. Public relations normally include aspects of the corporate image and, hence, the target audience is broader, including share-holders, suppliers, creditors, employees, unions, associations, and opinion leaders etc.

Public relations can be internal, i.e., for people who work within the organization, or external, i.e., for various audiences outside the organization. The differentiating characteristics of public relations are (i) seeking the trust of the target audience, (ii) addressing several different audiences, (iii) non-repetitive communication since in fact, repetition of the same news item creates mistrust, (iv) the message is to be more subtle than in other forms of promotion, and (v) the message is more credible, especially if transmitted in the form of news, reports, or comments by important people or institutions not connected to the organization. There are several different public relations instruments available to marketing personnel. The following are the most important.

The first is the external communications and relations with the media in which the organization generates information to be disseminated through the media in the form of news, reportage, comments, interviews, and reports. The medium, not the organization, controls and creates the message, essentially providing free publicity, which is also highly effective given the credibility of the source.

The second is the sponsorship and patronage which is the funding and supporting social and cultural events and initiatives in order to create a favourable image of the sponsor among the audience for those activities. Patronage centres on funding artistic and cultural activities. It is relatively altruistic, taking place over the long term and improving the perception of the value of the organization to the society. Meanwhile, sponsorship is linked to advertising practices for commercial purposes and to get a direct benefit.

The third is the internal relations, i.e., the norms, customs, and peculiarities of the organization system what is called the organizational culture. This can appear spontaneously, but when the organization wants to introduce a certain culture, it can apply public relations techniques in its relationship with its employees.

Sales promotion – It is a set of short-term activities using financial or material incentives or specific actions to stimulate short-term demand. Sales promotion uses instruments such as seasonal sales, discounts, free samples, coupons, gifts, prizes, competitions, point of sale advertising, demonstrations, expositions and trade fairs. Sales promotion is normally supplemented by advertising for higher effectiveness by publicizing the existence of the promotion and stimulating the customer participation. When planning a sales promotion, marketing personnel are to decide who is the target audience, since it determines the goals of the sales promotion.

In case of intermediaries, the promotion is designed to motivate them to make certain sales efforts, allocate more space to the product, or increase the number of points of sale. In case of sales-persons, they can be motivated by a promotion to intensify their efforts and improve their performance. In case of customers, the promotion is done by stimulating short-term demand, in the form of more frequent purchases or by attracting new customers. These methods are not to be used very frequently as they can have undesirable effects, such as reducing subsequent sales or encouraging customers to buy only in promotional periods.

For a sales promotion to be successful, it is required to meet a set of requirements such as (i) it meets specific needs or goals, (ii) it is short and easy, (iii) it is occasional, (iv) it is well-publicized, (v) it is aimed at a specific target audience, and (vi) it is in line with the product image.

Personal selling – It consist of a personal presentation of the products of the organization by its sales personnel in order to close a sale and create a relationship with the customers. Personal selling is the inter-personal branch of the communications mix, since it involves two-way communication between the sales-person and individual customers, whether face-to-face, by phone, email, or video-conference, or through any other means. It can be more effective than advertising when an item is difficult to sell, since the sales personnel can ask customers for more details about their problems, needs, and wants and then adjust their presentation to suit them.

The sales of the organization take place in the sales network, which is the main connection of the organization to its customers, and has a double function namely (i) representing the organization to the customers, and (ii) representing the customers to the organization. The structure of the sales network varies from organization to organization. Some organizations organize their sales network territorially, others by products or by customers. There are organizations with no sales network at all, but most have a sales network, which varies in size as per the product range.

Traditional and digital direct marketing – Direct marketing is direct communication with individual customers and customer groups to get an immediate response and establish long-lasting relationships with the customers. Organizations use direct marketing to personalize their offerings and content as per the needs and interests of well-defined market segments or individual buyers. The tools of traditional direct marketing are described below.

Direct mail marketing consists of sending an offer, an advertisement, a reminder, or other messages to a customer at a specified address. Direct mail marketing organizations use databases for market segmentation. Catalogue marketing consists of sending print, electronic, or video catalogues to the selected customers. Tele-marketing consists of using the telephone to sell directly to customers.

Digital marketing – The spread of the internet and advances in digital technology have generated a new form of marketing which is developing rapidly and which is called digital marketing. It consists of the use of digital marketing tools such as websites, social networks, mobile apps and advertisements, on-line videos, e-mail, and blogs to attract anywhere, anytime, through their digital devices (laptops, PCs, tablets, smartphones, internet-ready televisions and any other digital device). These days people can go on-line to find information, study brands and products, and communicate with other people whenever they want, and wherever they are.

The digital era has revolutionized how customers understand convenience, speed, pricing, product information, services, and interacting with brands. As a result, marketing personnel now have a totally new way to create value for customers, attract customers and establish relationships with them. Digital marketing can take different forms as shown in Fig 15. Managing digital marketing is complex and needs specific expertise and experience, hence organizations frequently take the help of experts in the different disciplines and tools.

Fig 15 Digital marketing experiences

Digital marketing – It consists of on-line marketing websites, on-line advertising, e-mail, on-line videos, and blogs, marketing on social networks, and marketing on mobile devices’

On- line marketing is the marketing which takes place on the internet, using websites of the organization, on-line advertising and videos, e-mail, and blogs. Social and mobile marketing also takes place on-line and is to be coordinated. The two have special characteristics.

The first step in on-line marketing is creating a website for the organization. Websites differ widely as per their purpose and content, but the two main types are (i) marketing website which is designed to attract customers and guide them directly to buy or to another marketing outcome, and (ii) on-line brand community which is designed to present branded content and create a virtual community linked to the brand. They normally have a large variety of information on the brand, videos and activities for establishing a closer relationship with the customers, creating a connection between the brand and the customers, and among the customers themselves.

Once the website has been created, the goal is to get people to visit it. Hence, there is need to direct traffic to the website with advertisements in print media, links from other websites, and interesting content. In the on-line world content is king, as well as a user-friendly site (visually attractive and easy to use), customers are looking for interesting information.

On-line advertising appears when customers are browsing the internet, and includes inter-active multi-media advertisements, search engine advertising, on-line classified advertisements, and other forms. The two main types of on-line advertising are (i) display advertising which can appear at any time on users’ screens, normally relating to the content they are seeing (banners etc.), and (ii) search engine advertising which is also called contextual advertising and which are text and image advertisements appearing before or next to search results in search engines like Google (e.g., a Google search for a reinforcement bar brings up several advertisements in the list of results).

E-mail marketing consists of sending highly personalized e-mails directed specifically to target customers, with marketing messages. This can be a very advantageous form of direct marketing since it lets the marketing personnels send highly personalized or customized messages to well-defined target customers and establish successful relationships. But e-mail has also a dark side which organizations are to be sure to avoid, i.e., spam, unwanted and annoying marketing e-mails which clog up e-mail accounts of the customers. For this reason, organizations are always to use opt-in e-mail marketing, i.e., sending e-mails only to the customers who choose to receive them.

On-line videos mean placing videos on-line on the organization’s websites or social networks (YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook etc.). These can be videos of assembly instructions, public relations items, brand promotions, or entertainment relating to the brand. A good on-line video can attract thousands of customers, and the idea is for a video to go viral. Viral marketing is the digital version of ‘word of mouth’, i.e., creating videos which are so attractive that the customers themselves choose to share them with friends and acquaintances.

Blogs and on-line forums are where people and organizations publish their own thoughts and other types of content, normally relating to a specific subject, hence attracting groups of people with shared interests. Marketing personnel can create a blog to generate a community around the brand-related content they publish or can be active on third-party blogs or forums on subjects relating to or of interest to their product.

Social marketing – Social-media are commercial and independent social networks where people gather to socialize and share messages, photographs, videos, and other content. In recent years their growth has been spectacular, and it is now hard to find anyone who does not use Facebook, X (previously twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram etc. Organizations can use social media in two ways namely (i) using existing media, or (ii) creating their own. The former is much more common, since it is hard for a private network to become as popular as the larger social networks. As an example, around 1.6 billion people use Facebook every month, and YouTube has over a billion users.

Using social networks for marketing has considerable advantages namely (i) immediate and timely, hence it is possible to reach customers anywhere, anytime, and transmit relevant, timely marketing content, (ii) efficient, i.e., several social networks are free or cheap to use, which means that the return on investment is very high compared with the traditional media, and (iii) capacity for attraction and participation, i.e., social networks are ideal for attracting customers, getting them involved in brands and encouraging them to share content.

But there are also disadvantages. Management of using social networks effectively is not easy and needs experts with specialized skills and experience, and several organizations are frustrated to find that after creating their own social network presence, they are not sure how to use them. Also, it is difficult access to results, i.e., being able to see the results of a social network campaign needs using tools like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Semrush, and Weloveroi etc. which are not part of the normal skill set of the marketing personnel. The other disadvantage is the lack of control which is the users control their own use of social networks. Hence, once their content is launched, organizations have little control over it, and a campaign can become a problem if users do not respond positively to it.

Mobile marketing consists of messages, promotions, and other marketing content sent to the customers through the mobile devices. This method is used to attract customers anywhere and anytime during the buying and relationship-building processes. The increasing use of mobile devices and internet access through mobile phones has made mobile marketing necessary for majority of the organizations. Organizations use mobile marketing for different goals namely (i) stimulating an immediate purchase, (ii) making it easier to buy, and (iii) enriching the brand experience.

Mobile marketing can offer customers information, incentives, and special options as soon as they express an interest, or when they are about to make a buying decision. Marketing personnel can propose that their organizations create websites adapted for mobile devices, or useful and entertaining apps which bring customers closer to the brand and help them make buying decisions.

Comments on Post (1)

  • Santhosh Hegde

    Nice article and informative

    • Posted: 06 May, 2014 at 14:30 pm
    • Reply

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