Critical Dimensions of Marketing
Expressing the Various Dimensions of Marketing in Terms of Every Day Life
Marketing is very diverse and can have many components, ingredients and elements. It is clear to the serious student that marketing does not have a constant definition. It is a concept that evolves with the situation and the environment.
To different people it means different things. To some it will be a philosophy of business. To others it will be a management function or a management process. Another group sees marketing as a social process or a social science.
According to the American Marketing Association the definition of marketing can be summarized as follows:
"Marketing is the process and execution of the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals"
Since around 1970 this definition has been in general use in countless text books and training manuals. It reflects different important concepts of marketing. This definition includes the double dimension of strategic and operational marketing, the 4P's of marketing, the different application of marketing that includes ideas, concepts physical goods as well as service and also reflects the marketing objective of mutual satisfaction between the customer and the marketer.
Extension of the Marketing Functions
In order to effectively integrate marketing functions three interdependent primary marketing functions have been identified as follows:
Companies need very specific marketing information in order to introduce products or services that will create value for both the customers and the companies. One need to clearly distinguish between market research that is specifically focused on the markets, while marketing research is paying exclusive attention to the processes involved in marketing. One would engage in marketing research to identify and solve marketing problems that may be encountered.
Marketing research includes conducting marketing studies in the form of surveys or focus group discussions for example. These methods can be either qualitative or quantitative in nature, depending on the situation and the specific need.
When conducting marketing research it is often the case that more than one research method and style is used to ensure a balanced view of the research results.
The purpose of this types of marketing research is often to establish the positioning of the competitors and to scientifically develop plans to control the effectiveness of the marketing effort.
The main aim of the strategic marketing function is to focus the often limited resources of an organization on the most suitable prospective marketing segments with the aim of increasing sales and reaching a position where a sustainable competitive advantage can be maintained.
The starting point is normally to choose a suitable target market for the product or range of products of the company. The strategic marketing function also includes defining the product concept or services as this will directly influence the strategic position of the company in the marketplace. In order to do this the marketing team needs to define the desired positioning of the company or the brand positioning of the specific products or services.
The pricing strategy will be informed by the strategic position of the company and can be different in different marketing segments.
The strategic function is responsible for choosing suitable distribution channels and determining the relationship with distributors in respect of the product or service.
The key components of the communication strategy will flow from the marketing strategy and should be utilized by the operational marketing team as a basis for marketing communications.
The relationship strategy should be determined as part of the marketing strategy to ensure that the strategic positioning is maintained during operational marketing activities.
Every element of the operational marketing initiatives is based on formal strategic marketing plan.
The operational marketing function normally includes the building of the promotion and operational communications campaign. It also includes close interaction with the sales team. Distribution and merchandising normally forms an integral part of the operational marketing function when the product line consists of fast moving consumer goods.
Other types of functions include some direct marketing activities and a strong focus on customer service.
In real life, marketing often revolves around the implementation and execution of a number of practical, logical and sensible actions that will address the defined marketing factors. One should remember that life is not a set of textbook perfect situations and marketing information can change in a very short time span. Normally real companies have limited resources that are further complicated by the uncertainties of market segments that are not perfectly homogeneous and timescales that is normally tough to deal with.
Under these real life situations the classical marketing techniques are often only implemented in an irregular and partial manner. The marketer who can make the necessary adjustments "on the fly" will be viewed as the marketing wizard, while the slow mover will be lost in the annals of marketing case studies when students are taught how not to react to market needs.