Today’s central problem facing business is not a shortage of goods but a shortage of customers. Most of the world’s industries can produce far more goods than the world’s consumers can buy. Overcapacity results from individual competitors projecting a greater market share growth than is possible.
This, in turn, leads to hyper competition. Competitors, desperate to attract customers, lower their prices and add giveaways. These strategies ultimately mean lower margins, lower proﬁts, some failing companies, and more mergers and acquisitions.
Marketing is the answer to how to compete on bases other than price. Because of overcapacity, marketing has become more important than ever. Marketing is the company’s customer manufacturing department.
But marketing is still a terribly misunderstood subject in business circles and in the public’s mind. Companies think that marketing exists to help manufacturing get rid of the company’s products. The truth is the reverse, that manufacturing exists to support marketing. A company can always outsource its manufacturing. What makes a company prosper is its marketing ideas and offerings. Manufacturing, purchasing, research and development (R&D), ﬁnance, and other company functions exist to support the company’s work in the customer marketplace.
Marketing is too often confused with selling. Marketing and selling are almost opposites. “Hard-sell marketing” is a contradiction. Marketing is not the art of ﬁnding clever ways to dispose of what you make. Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value. It is the art of helping your customers be-come better off. The marketer’s watchwords are quality, service, and value.
Selling starts only when you have a product. Marketing starts before a product exists. Marketing is the homework your company does to ﬁgure out what people need and what your company should offer. Marketing determines how to launch, price, distribute and promote your product/service offerings to the marketplace. Marketing then monitors the results and improves the offering over time. Marketing also decides if and when to end an offering.
All said, marketing is not a short-term selling effort but a long-term investment effort. When marketing is done well, it occurs before the company makes any product or enters any market; and it continues long after the sale. Marketing management is the art and science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping, and growing customers through creating, communicating, and delivering superior customer value. Marketing’s job is to convert people’s changing needs into proﬁtable opportunities. Marketing’s aim is to create value by offering superior solutions, saving buyer search and transaction time and effort, and delivering to the whole society a higher standard of living.
Marketing is not restricted to a department that creates ads, selects media, sends out direct mail, and answers customer questions. Marketing is a larger process of systematically ﬁguring out what to make, how to bring it to the customer’s attention and easy access, and how to keep the customer wanting to buy more from you. Is marketing hard to learn? The good news is that marketing takes a day to learn. The bad news is that it takes a lifetime to master and in the coming decade, marketing will be reengineered from A to Z.
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