Meaning and Features of Marketing

What is marketing? Producers say the activity of production of goods or services is marketing. Sellers say the activity of selling of goods or services is marketing. Similarly, buyers say the activity of purchasing goods or services is marketing. Advertisers say the activity of promoting sale of goods or services by making effective advertisement is marketing. Most of the
general public says the promoting of sale and advertisement is marketing. According to them, promoting sale of goods or services through effective advertisement is called marketing. But any one of these definitions cannot give satisfactory meaning of marketing.

Sale and advertisement are the two activities among many of marketing. Nowadays, marketing is understood not from the old concept ‘Telling and selling’ but it is understood from the concept of ‘Satisfying customers’ needs’. This means the modern concept does not accept the marketing is to collect as much profit as can be by selling goods or services through effective advertisement and influencing customers. The modern concept of marketing gives first priority to customers’ satisfaction. It accepts profit as the gift of customers’ satisfaction.

The age of today is the age of marketing. All types of organizations need marketing to exist and develop. It helps to produce goods or services by identifying wants and needs of customers. So, marketers should at first identify wants of customers and produce goods or services accordingly. Many writers and experts have defined marketing, but some of the important ones are given as follows:
According to William J. Stanton, Michael J. Etzel and Bruce J. Walker, “ Marketing is total system of business activities designed to plan price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products to target market to achieve organizational objectives.”
According to Prof. Philip Kotler and Gray Armstrong, “Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others.”
According to American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfies individuals and organizational objectives.”
According to Prof. Pyle, “Marketing comprises both buying and selling.”
In conclusion, the whole activity of providing goods or services to satisfy targeted market in order to achieve organizational goal is called marketing. This includes planning, pricing, promoting, selling and distributing. Various activities are included in marketing. All these activities are related to product, price, place and promotion. The activities of marketing satisfy the wants of customers. Besides, the activities help to achieve organizational goal. The above mentioned definitions of marketing have given emphasis to market research and customers’ satisfaction. Marketing conducts its activities by focusing on customers. Different activities such as selection of goods or services, planning, production, development of goods, packaging, labeling, advertisement etc. are performed to satisfy the customers.

Features of Marketing

According to the above mentioned definitions, the features of marketing are as follows:
  1. Satisfying customers’ needs: Marketing begins from human wants, needs and demands. Marketing satisfies customers’ wants, needs etc. by producing goods and supplying them to the customers’ according to their needs, wants and demands.
  2. Helps to achieve organizational goal: Organizations are established and conducted with certain objectives. Marketing helps to achieve such objectives.
  3. Marketing consists of various activities: Marketing consists of various activities. They are related to product, place, price and promotion.
  4. Facilitates exchanges: Giving and taking between buyer and seller is called exchange. Marketing facilitates such exchange. As a result, exchange becomes effective.

Core Concepts of Marketing

The following figure makes the core concept of marketing clear:
Core Marketing Concept

1. Needs, Wants and Demands

Needs

The necessity of something is need. Food is needed when one is hungry; water is needed when one is thirsty. Human needs are of complex nature. When one want is fulfilled, another want is felt. There are different types of human wants, which the human tries to fulfill one after another. They are physical needs (food, shelter, and clothes), security needs (free from fear, security of job etc.), social needs (giving importance by society, involvement in social activities etc.), need ego (respected post, honor, praise etc.) and self actualization needs (creativeness, expectation of challenging task, expectation to take part in decision making etc). Such needs were not found out by marketers. They are basic aspects of human life.

Wants

Expectation of the things for meeting the need is called want. There are various types of wants of human being. Such wants are directly influenced by level of income, family, education, friends, school, personality, life style etc. wants are also affected by religious, cultural and social elements. For example, a hungry Nepalese wants to eat bitten rice, curry, momo, water etc., but a hungry American wants Hamburger, Coke, and French fries etc. Here needs are same but wants are different.

Demands

The want with willingness and ability to pay price of things is called demand. If a poor man wants to buy a car, it is not a demand, because he cannot have ability to pay the price of car even if he was willingness. Similarly, if a rich but miser man wants to buy a car, he does not become ready to pay the bill of the car. So, it is compulsory to the both willingness and ability to pay the price to be a demand.

2. Product

The thing which satisfies human wants and needs is called products. Product may or may not have physical existence. Machines, tools, foods, clothes, etc. have physical existence but service, experience, ideas, personality, etc. have no physical existence. The broad meaning of product includes characters, form, quality, diversity, branding, packaging, color, price, dignity of seller, etc.

3. Value, Satisfaction and Quality

Value: The capacity of the goods to satisfy the want of customers’ as expected is called value. Cost of the goods is taken as the basis to estimate its value. Although wise customers can measure the value and cost of the goods but cannot measure it with accuracy. They select goods on the basis of their perceived value. Value may be in the form of status, image, benefit, beauty, attractiveness, confidence etc.

Satisfaction: The customer feels satisfied from the value of the goods what he/she expects to get from. Satisfied customer becomes brand loyal. He or she tells his friends and neighbors about the value of the goods that full satisfaction can be got from the goods. As a result, advertisement of the goods is done automatically. So, the goods should be produced according to the expectation of the customers to satisfy their wants.

Quality: Customers’ satisfaction depends on the quality of the goods. In the recent years, most of the companies are found to have followed the total quality management – TQM. They are trying to improve the quality of goods, services and the process of marketing. Quality should be looked through customers’ satisfaction not through absence of defects. The quality of goods or services starts from wants of customers and ends in their satisfaction.

4. Exchange, Transaction and Relationship

Exchange: Giving something and taking any other needed thing from others is called exchange. In simple words, the task of giving and taking things to fulfill mutual interest is called exchange. Giving things for things is called barter system and giving money for things is called exchange money. In the ancient marketing (before the invention of money), the whole part of exchange was taken by barter system. But not it has been taken by money-exchange of money. Exchange is the main concept of marketing. The following conditions should be fulfilled to be called exchange:-
  • At least there should be two sides (parties),
  • Each side should have some value/ utility, which each other side should like,
  • Each side should agree to exchange,
  • Each side should be free to accept or reject the proposal of one another side, 
  • Each side should be able to communicate and handover.
Transaction: Trade between two or more sides is called transaction. In other words, the result of exchange is transaction. Transaction can be made in barter system or in money exchange. For example, taking rice by giving any thing is called barter transaction. Taking (buying) a television by giving money is monetary transaction.

Relationship: The transaction taken place between two or more parties/sides establishes relationship among them. A marketer should establish good and long lasting relationship with customers, distributors, dealers and suppliers. There is also a saying – Build good relationship and profitable transactions will follow. So, good relationship should be established with the concerned sides. Confidence should also be given to strengthen such relationship.

5. Markets

The process of buying and selling of goods or services is called markets. Some concepts have been developed about markets. They are: place concept, product concept, area concept, demand concept and exchange concept. Market has been defined on the basis of all these concepts. Goods, buyer, seller, price and area are necessary to be a market.

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