Marketing is often misunderstood. Ask the average person how they would define marketing and a majority would reply with something along the lines of commercials, ads, brochures, and other items used to market a business. Marketing is complex. It is a process, a practice, and a philosophy. As a process, it moves goods and services from an idea all the way through to the customer. As a practice, it embodies the elements of product, price, place, and promotion. As a philosophy, it is the basis of how customers’ needs and satisfaction are met by the business’ product or service. According to Perreault, Cannon, and McCarthy (2011), “marketing is the performance of activities that seek to accomplish an organization’s objectives by anticipating customer or client needs and directing a flow of need satisfying goods and services from producer to customer or client”.
In 2007 the American Marketing Association (AMA) completed its periodic review of the definition of marketing. The new definition reflects marketing’s broader role in society as more of an activity, as opposed to a function, with a presence throughout the organization, not just a department. The “American Marketing Association Marketingpower” (2007) definition reads “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” (New Definition of Marketing).
Importance of Marketing in Organizational Success
Firms face many challenges and such challenges can affect the life span of the organization. Some of the most recognized and profitable businesses struggle to maintain their market share. Marketing is an essential component to ensure prosperity in an organization. Marketing strategies exist to encourage sales to obtain new and maintain current customers. Targeting specific populations is typical in marketing and the targeting depends on the type of merchandise or service. For example, Coca-Cola soda beverage company is based in the United States and the global society is its target market. That market encompasses everyone. Alternately, Huggies diapers are specifically targeted for new parents and caregivers. Whether the marketing focus is on large or small groups, it is important to understand who the buyers are to create a successful marketing plan. If marketing focuses on customer needs and specific audiences, the product will sell itself.
Another reason marketing is important for organizational success, is that marketing is a broad topic. It covers a wide variety of aspects from advertising, promotions, and sales to public relations. Marketing must not be confused with sales as is frequently done. Marketing involves putting products into their market, promoting the product, encouraging sales, and influencing consumer behaviors. Sales are actually the transaction that takes place when the purchase is made by the customer. Strategies in marketing have changed and are constantly changing. Because so many messages are in the face of consumers today it is increasingly difficult to get products and services noticed. That requires marketing professionals to be more creative.
A marketing mindset will give companies the competitive edge required to succeed in their industry. Product-focused organizations are destined to fail. Customer-focused marketing plans are the best way to focus financial resources in a firm. Knowing and exceeding customer expectations will build the reputation that will lead repeat customers and greater success. Well-run marketing campaigns will lead to good profits and sustainability.
Successes in Marketing
Nike is a large, profitable company that has a reputation of success with marketing. Actually, Nike has sometimes been referred to as the “Goddess of Marketing” for its growth from humble beginnings to one of the most successful marketing stories in the world of business. Nike uses successful and famous sports figures to endorse their products. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices for items that they view to be superior in quality, reliability, and style. Brand management is one of Nike’s greatest strengths. For example, basketball-great Michael Jordan’s success on the basketball court led to hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of sales of Nike’s Air Jordan line of products. Tennis, golf, and soccer are other sports where the Nike brand has made a large impact on fashion, style, and sports equipment.
McDonald’s is another company whose marketing success has made it the world’s largest food service retailer. It serves millions of customers around the world and has franchises in more than 100 countries. McDonald’s reaction to consumer trends and expectations is what has risen this empire to the top. The consistency of the restaurant’s product maintains its customer base and meeting social consumer needs by sharing nutritional information and providing healthy menu options continues to grow its customer base as well.
Last but certainly not least, Apple is quite possibly the world’s best marketing company. Steve Chazin, former Apple marketing executive and consumer marketing expert currently maintains a blog and has published and eBook highlighting Apple’s five secrets of marketing to become the world’s most valuable company. He condensed the secrets from what he learned throughout his 10 years of employment with Apple. Chazin has discovered ways that a company can use consumers’ desire to share their passion for products and essentially sell the products for the organization. To highlight the five secrets from Marketing Apple: 5 Secrets of the World’s Best Marketing Machine (2007):
“1. Don’t sell products. People buy what other people have.
2. Never be first to market. Make something good greater.
3. Empower early adopters. Help your customers help you.
4. Make your message memorable.
5. Go one step further. Surprise and delight your customers.”
Apple’s company-wide understanding and adoption of its marketing strategy has allowed it to grow into the empire it is today.
American Marketing Association marketingpower. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.marketingpower.com/Community/ARC/Pages/Additional/Definition/default.aspx Chazin, S.M. (2007), Marketing Apple: 5 secrets of the world’s best marketing machine, Retreived from http://www.marketingapple.com/Marketing_Apple_eBook.pdf Perreault, W. D. Jr., Cannon, J. P., & McCarthy, E. J. (2011).Basic marketing: A marketing strategy planning approach (18th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.