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Marketers: Get in touch with your audience

Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have...

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Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “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.”[4] The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to market with goods for sale. From a sales process engineering perspective, marketing is “a set of processes that are interconnected and interdependent with other functions” of a business aimed at achieving customer interest and satisfaction.[5]

Philip Kotler defines marketing as Satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process.[citation needed]

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”[6] A similar concept is the value-based marketing which states the role of marketing to contribute to increasing shareholder value.[7] In this context, marketing can be defined as “the management process that seeks to maximise returns to shareholders by developing relationships with valued customers and creating a competitive advantage.”[7]

Marketing practice tended to be seen as a creative industry in the past, which included advertisingdistribution and selling. However, because the academic study of marketing makes extensive use of social sciencespsychologysociologymathematicseconomicsanthropology and neuroscience, the profession is now widely recognized as a science,[8]allowing numerous universities to offer Master-of-Science (MSc) programs.[9]

The process of marketing is that of bringing a product to market, which includes these steps: broad market research; market targeting and market segmentation; determining distribution, pricing and promotion strategies; developing a communications strategy; budgeting; and visioning long-term market development goals.[10] Many parts of the marketing process (e.g. product designart directorbrand managementadvertisingcopywriting etc.) involve use of the creative arts.

Concept

The ‘marketing concept’ proposes that in order to satisfy the organizational objectives, an organization should anticipate the needs and wants of potential consumers and satisfy them more effectively than its competitors. This concept originated from Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations,  but would not become widely used until nearly 200 years later.[11]Marketing and Marketing Concepts are directly related.

Given the centrality of customer needs and wants in marketing, a rich understanding of these concepts is essential:[12]

Needs: Something necessary for people to live a healthy, stable and safe life. When needs remain unfulfilled, there is a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food, water, and shelter; or subjective and psychological, such as the need to belong to a family or social group and the need for self-esteem.

Wants: Something that is desired, wished for or aspired to. Wants are not essential for basic survival and are often shaped by culture or peer-groups.

Demands: When needs and wants are backed by the ability to pay, they have the potential to become economic demands.

Marketing research, conducted for the purpose of new product development or product improvement, is often concerned with identifying the consumer’s unmet needs.[13] Customer needs are central to market segmentation which is concerned with dividing markets into distinct groups of buyers on the basis of “distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors who might require separate products or marketing mixes.” [14] 

Needs-based segmentation (also known as benefit segmentation) “places the customers’ desires at the forefront of how a company designs and markets products or services.” [15] Although needs-based segmentation is difficult to do in practice, it has been proved to be one of the most effective ways to segment a market.[16][13][17] In addition, a great deal of advertising and promotion is designed to show how a given product’s benefits meet the customer’s needs, wants or expectations in a unique way.[18]

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