Marketing plays fundamental role in economic growth in the present global world. It is therefore basic reason for studying marketing. Marketing stimulates research and new ideas resulting in new goods and services. Late Peter F. Drucker considered marketing to be the responsibility of the managing leadership within a business, not a separate function; he believed that sensible marketing strategies ensure planned economic growth in the developing economy where the scarcity of goods, services, ideas and excessive unemployment create hurdles in the growth of society. Good marketing efforts are needed for mobilization of economic resources for additional production of ideas, goods and services resulting in greater employment. The fundamental objectives of most companies are survival, profits and growth. Marketing contributes directly to achieving those objectives and is in fact seen as a key to profitability.
Marketing strategies represent the plan by which the firm delivers its value to the customers. In Michael Porter’s value chain, Marketing & Sales function occupies the core functions of business after inbound logistics and operations. In today’s business environment marketing is considered crucial – all functions such as sales forecasting, advertising, appointing sensible marketing channels, distribution and CRM are prioritized. Developing marketing strategies and implementing them will only help organizations to get sustainable results in our businesses.
The marketing function requires flexibility and imagination; it cannot remain stagnant, it needs subtle changes as per the environment. Here is an example – Technology maverick Michael Dell founded Dell Computers in 1984. The company was based on the direct-to-consumer model, which eliminated the retailer, allowing for price discounts and constant customer feedback. In 1988, spurred by growing investor interest in technology stocks, the company went public. But it wasn’t until 1991, the height of the 1990-1992 recessions, that Dell chose to make its most aggressive marketing move up to that time, and take on the established computer giants. The campaign coincided with the introduction of its first notebook computer. In 1991 when advertising in the entire computer hardware category was down by 17.5% over the previous year. Apple, Digital, IBM and Tandy – some of the category’s leading spenders went on investing and pouring money in their promotional efforts. Contrary to this, Dell instead kept its pace on eliminating the middleman while offering superior customer service. This and other few innovative strategies put Dell for the first time in the Fortune 500 roster of the world’s largest companies.
Marketing is speaking the consumer’s language; reaching out to them the way they want and communication with them in their fashion. These days the tech savvy consumers turn to online sources for information, which requires a company to establish an effective web presence to reach them, with an interactive site. Using Facebook or Twitter for marketing is one of the latest marketing trends. Many marketers have taken it well and therefore invest a lot of money into twitter advertising, knowing that it is particularly easy to gain the attention of a younger generation through advertising. Digital marketing is the in-thing. World recognizes Procter & Gamble (P&G) as the biggest advertising champion; hence any move by Procter & Gamble (P&G) is closely watched. A lot of attention has been paid to its recent announcement that it will cut $10 billion from its marketing budget over the next five years. Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a smart brand builder. At one of its big events in USA, Procter & Gamble (P&G) declared that it does not intend to focus on digital marketing but it recognizes that it exists in a digital world. Procter & Gamble (P&G) believes in adapting to the consumer behavior and it flexibly redesigns its promotional strategies. Procter & Gamble (P&G) has adopted digital marketing in markets like Brazil, China, and India where digital marketing offers the best way to engage with consumers. In urbanized markets like the US, Tide and Bounty will continue to rely on TV commercials along side with digital integrated promotion as part of a multichannel brand-building plan. P&G will look for opportunities to drive smaller brands with smaller budgets like Aussie and Old Spice through digital.
A good marketer can sell a comb to a bald man. Here’s how Coca-Cola’s COO, Steven J Heyer very elegantly describes the aerated drink as “Coca-Cola isn’t black water with a little sugar and a lot of fizz anymore that one of your movies is celluloid digital bits and bytes, or one of your songs is a random collection of words and notes. Coca-Cola isn’t a drink. Coca-Cola is an idea. Like great movies, like great music, Coca-Cola is a feeling.” This says it all. Marketing does the job of a dream merchant.
You can be a copy cat if required; everything fair in love and war when it comes to marketing. Since marketing evolves effective delivery of information to a targeted market which stimulates a demand for a product or service, the ability to effectively identify and reach that market is crucial. ITC in last few years filled it soap product line with products like Essenza Di Wills at the top end, followed by Fiama Di Wills in premium segment, Vivel in mid-segment and Superia at the entry level. ITC followed in the footsteps of HUL by offering each segment a product which suits the customer’s wallet. The retail shelves consist of a dozens of soaps from like Lux, Dove, Pears, Hamam, Breez, Rexona and Ayush and dozens of soaps from ITC. You have the Vivel with its variants like Sandal Sparkle, Sheer Crème and other variants priced at Rs 17 onwards seems to be in competition with Lux’s variants. These marketing wars are so fizzy and at times self-indulgent too.
A study by Harvard researchers several years ago found that in many product classes, consumers “lack either the ability or motivation to conduct a price comparison.” Their conclusions are still true today. We either can’t – or won’t – scrutinize a product price.
And how would you view this piece of advice from Robert G. Allen – the famous author of Multiple Streams of Income, and Nothing down “No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never-ending improvement in their lives.”
The market consists of aware, alert, vigilant and watchful customers and also of gullible, trusting, naïve customers; God knows whether marketer are teaching the customers or customers are teaching the marketers??