Marketing And Its Environment
Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably ---(CIM, 2001)
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchange and satisfy individual and organizational objectives. -----(AMA, 1985)
To understand these definitions let us focus on keywords. Common keywords are satisfying customer and meeting organizational objective. Then both definitions talk about planning and execution of processes to meet these objectives. It can be said that marketing starts with need identification and anticipation. Product planning follows after that. Once a product or a service has been conceptualized then planning to deliver it to the end users comes in the picture. In other words marketing is about planning to make a win-win situation for both; organization as well as customers.
Customers And Markets
Customer and Consumer
A consumer is the end user of the product, while a customer can be either an end user or an intermediary between the end user and the product provider. To further clarify it can be said that all consumers are customers but vice versa is not true. For example a doctor can be a customer and his patients can be consumers.
B2B and B2C
If the prime focus of marketing is the retail customer then it comes in the domain of B2C. If the prime focus of marketing is some business house or a group of individuals then it comes in the domain of B2B. Let us once again take the example of a doctor. A doctor having his own nursing home may purchase drugs in bulk. So for a pharmaceuticals company that doctor is a B2B customer.
The behaviour of a consumer depends on his/her categorization from B2B and B2C. Apart from that it also depends on the type of product. While buying decision for a chocolate can more often than not be an impulse decision, buying a car cannot be so. Usually in B2B buying decisions there are many stakeholders who take a group decision to buy a certain product or service.
The segment also decides the buying behaviour of consumers. Segmentation can be chalked out on various parameters. They can be based on socio-economic profiling.
Marketing Information and Research:
To understand the current need or to discover future need it is important to gather marketing information by proper research. Frontline sales people are an important source of marketing information as they are in touch with the end user day in and day out. Apart from them regular marketing research assignments can be carried out by research specialists. They can be in house or can be outsourced. Apart from giving information about consumer needs marketing research also gives timely feedback on what is working and what is not working. This is important for required change of course in the original marketing plan.