Think Marketing

WHAT IS MARKETING?

Marketing is a vital business function as it is the means by which an organization connects with customers. Marketing is defined as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

In terms of implementation, marketing is divided into two key areas. First, marketing attracts customers and encourages them to buy a good or service for the first time. Second, marketing programs encourage customer satisfaction and loyalty to maximize the lifetime value of customers.

The nature of marketing practice has evolved. It has moved from a production orientation to a sales orientation to a true marketing orientation. Contemporary marketing practice now revolves around social responsibility practices and new social media technologies. The manner in which an organization reaches and influences potential customers continues to change how marketing is practised.

HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION ATTRACT AND SATISFY CUSTOMERS?

Marketing in practice embraces many activities that culminate in an overall plan to develop and manage long-term relationships with customers. Marketing can be described as a process that involves several key steps: assessing customer needs, identifying and selecting target markets, developing the marketing strategy by using elements of the marketing mix, developing customer relationship management programs that encourage loyalty, and, finally, evaluating marketing mix and customer relationship management strategies for effectiveness. A strategic marketing plan involves decisions on four variables: product, price, marketing communications, and distribution.

HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF ITS CUSTOMERS?

To get full value from existing customers, marketing managers devise loyalty programs, customer relationship management programs, and partnership marketing programs. Loyalty programs offer customers incentives to maintain a good relationship. Customer relationship management programs consider the individual needs and behaviours of their customers. Information about customers is harnessed in a database that marketing managers access and analyze. Marketing today—and in the future—will depend upon how well an organization manages the relationship between itself and its customers. Technology is the driving force behind customer relationship management programs.

Marketing today is also about forming partnerships with other companies in order to grow a business. Partnerships involve collaboration among member organizations when planning marketing strategies so that mutually beneficial objectives are established and achieved.