by Jeff Bartlett

In a nutshell

1. What is marketing?

Marketing is more than just advertising and promotion; it’s a process that puts the customer and consumer at the heart of an organisation and drives the behaviour of the organisation. A good definition of marketing is, ‘Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer and consumer requirements profitably.’ The marketing mix embraces

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical evidence.


2. A brand is not a logo!

A key purpose of marketing activity is to build strong brands, as they are able to command a price and presence above that of weaker brands and give you a competitive advantage.

  • A brand can be created both by accident or design, but to sustain one requires considerable research, planning, management and investment.
  • Organisations are increasingly valuing their brands financially and including those valuations as assets in their balance sheets.


3. Corporate strategy and marketing

In the most successful organisations there is an indivisible link between corporate strategy and marketing strategy.

  • Successful strategy development starts with looking at consumers and customers in the different markets in which the organisation operates (or plans to operate).
  • The planners then, in detail, work through what it is they have to do to satisfy those consumers and customers.


4. Understanding customers and consumers

An understanding of the changing needs and requirements of an organisation’s customers and consumers is vital. This is gained through the use of market research techniques, which can be quantitative or qualitative.

  • Quantitative research is used where you need to generate numbers, such as likely sales volume, market share and percentage of consumers preferring model A to model B.
  • Typical quantitative research techniques include surveys and questionnaires
  • Qualitative research is used when you need to understand what people do, why they do it, how they do it and their reactions to different ideas and concepts.
  • Qualitative research usually takes the form of focus groups (also known as group discussions), and personal in-depth interviews.


5. Translating needs into action

Having decided which customers and consumers to serve, and with which products, you now need to look in detail at the marketing mix, often referred to as ‘the 7 Ps’, which is the combination of marketing inputs that affect customer perception, motivation and behaviour.

  • Product – this may need to be developed to produce what the consumer wants at a selling price that is acceptable to consumers and customers, and that also enables you to make a profit.
  • Price decisions are crucial in determining sales levels and profitability.
  • Promotion includes all those activities in your promotional campaign and covers advertising, direct marketing, packaging, personal selling, public relations and sales promotion (including point-of-sale activity).
  • Place – where your product is sold (in other words its distribution channels) – can be vitally important.
  • People – whenever and wherever you are providing a service (including customer service), the attitude and behaviour of your people are vital.
  • Processes should do more than just make life easier for you – they should also help your customers get what they want.
  • Physical evidence includes the appearance your premises as well as the look of corporate or brand logos and so on.


6. What does the marketing department want from me?

At a high level, they want you to be aware that everything you do eventually has an impact on a customer or consumer, and that this affects the brand.

  • They want your help in protecting and enhancing the brand by ensuring that what you do is oriented towards customer and consumer satisfaction.
  • In essence, everything you do is at some level a marketing act.