Marketing can be loosely defined as the complex process through which products and services are transferred from concept stage to the customer. It involves thinking about the business from the customer’s point of view and focusing on aspects such as customer needs and satisfaction. Marketing differs from selling in that selling is mainly about using different techniques to encourage the customer to buy a product or service. Marketing on the other hand, concentrates on defining, creating, stimulating and satisfying customer needs. Communication is thus an essential component of any marketing strategy. Holistic marketing entails four main elements, referred to as the 4 marketing Ps. These are:
- Product development, which is designed around customers’ needs and involves the development of a solution (which can be a product, a service or a concept), using different research techniques
- Price determination, based on demand, competition and place of sale
- Choice of the different distribution channels used in order for the product to reach the customer (place) and promotion of the product or service in order to reach the desired distribution outlets
- Choice, development and implementation of a strategy to promote the produce, including various types of advertising, such as website design and search engine optimization, and creating demand for the product or the service
Marketing also takes various other factors into account, such as the relationship between suppliers and customers and implements different strategies designed to build up customers’ loyalty. This is referred to as relationship marketing. Another aspect which has gained momentum in recent years is societal marketing, which focuses on the benefits to society of a particular product or service. These benefits can be ecological, ethical, etc. Branding is another, very popular and effective marketing strategy.
In order for any product or service to succeed, it is essential to implement a successful marketing strategy, adapted to the product or service, company budget and the targeted consumer market and to focus on a creative and original advertising campaign. Other factors can be crucial for marketing policies, such as timing, trends, fashion, etc. and in-depth marketing research is a fundamental part of any marketing strategy, to ensure that the product is launched at a propitious time.