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The Centrality of Marketing

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Read the text below and give your explanation of its title.

Most management and marketing writers now distinguish between selling and marketing. The ‘selling concept’ assumes that resisting consumers have to be persuaded by vigorous hard-selling techniques to buy non-essential goods or services. Products are sold rather than bought. The ‘marketing concept’, on the contrary, assumes that the producer’s task is to find wants and fill them. In other words, you don’t sell what you make, you make what will be bought. As well as satisfying existing needs, marketers can also anticipate and create new ones. The markets for the Walkman, video games, personal computers, and genetic engineering, to choose some recent examples, were largely created rather than identified.

Marketers are consequently always looking for market opportunities – profitable possibilities of filling unsatisfied needs or creating new ones in areas in which the company is likely to enjoy a differential advantage, due to its distinctive competencies (the things it does particularly well). Market opportunities are generally isolated by market segmentation. Once a target market has been identified, a company has to decide what goods or service to offer. This means that much of the work of marketing has been done before the final product or service comes into existence. It also means that the marketing concept has to be understood throughout the company, e. g. in the production department of a manufacturing company as much as in the marketing department itself. The company must also take account of the existence of competitors, who always have to be identified, monitored and defeated in the search for loyal customers.

Rather than risk launching a product or service solely on the basis of intuition or guesswork, most companies undertake market research (GB) or marketing research (US). They collect and analyse information about the size of a potential market, about consumers’ reactions to particular product or service features, and so on. Sales representatives, who also talk to customers, are another important source of information.

Once the basic offer, e. g. a product concept, has been established, the company has to think about the marketing mix, i. e. all the various elements of a marketing programme, their integration, and the amount of effort that a company can expend on them in order to influence the target market. The best-known classification of these elements is the ‘4 Ps’: product, place, promotion and price. Aspects to be considered in marketing products include quality, features (standard and optional), style, brand name, size, packaging, services and guarantee. Place in a marketing mix includes such factors as distribution channels, locations of points of sale, transport, inventory size, etc. Promotion groups together advertising, publicity, sales promotion, and personal selling, while price includes the basic list price, discounts, the length of the payment period, possible credit terms, and so on. It is the job of a product manager or a brand manager to look for ways to increase sales by changing the marketing mix.

It must be remembered that quite apart from consumer markets (in which people buy products for direct consumption) there exists an enormous producer or industrial or business market, consisting of all the individuals and organizations that acquire goods and services that are in the production of the other goods, or in the supply of services to others. Few consumers realize that the producer market is actually larger than the consumer market, since it contains all the raw materials, manufactured parts and components that go into consumer goods, plus capital equipment such as buildings and machines, supplies such as energy and pens and paper, and services ranging from cleaning to management consulting, all of which have to be marketed. There is consequently more industrial than consumer marketing, even though ordinary consumers are exposed to it.



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