As a field of study, scholars have not always considered marketing from a management angle. At different stages in its evolution, marketing leaders have diversely emphasized products, institutions, functions, markets, consumers, management of entities, and society. However, change is occurring at a high rate. Marketing management has trended from the production to the marketing concept. Moreover, the marketing concept recognizes that the firm's knowledge and skill in designing commodities may not always be meeting the needs of customers. Marketing management entails the art and science of choosing target markets and attracting, retaining and growing customers through the creation, delivery, and communication of superior customer value (Armstrong, Adam, Denize, and Kotler 2015). Certainly, it is crucial to conduct marketing activities under a well-structured philosophy of efficient, effective, and socially responsible marketing. Mainly, this involves the use of marketing information systems to gather and store necessary information crucial in the attainment of quality for most profitable customers.
The Marketing Concept
The marketing concept posits that the key to attaining organizational goals requires the company to be more effective in creating, delivering, and communicating customer value to its target markets than its rivals (Armstrong et al. 2015). In particular, this concept assumes that the starting point for any marketing process is the customer needs and wants, and no longer the aggressive selling. This concept takes an outside-in perspective whereby it begins with a well-defined market, focuses on customer needs, integrates all the marketing activities that affect the customers, and yields profits by developing lasting relationships with the right consumers based on customer satisfaction.
Firms perform well when they select their target markets carefully and tailor marketing programs that uniquely fit each market. The target market can be individual consumers or other businesses (Armstrong et al. 2015). For example, Nike targets individuals between the ages of 15 to 40 while Boeing targets airline and defence organizations.
A firm may carefully define its target market but fail to understand the customers' needs and wants. Certainly, understanding customer needs and wants is complicated since some consumers have needs of which they are not entirely conscious while others cannot articulate the needs (Armstrong et al. 2015). Responding only to a particular need may short change the consumer and deny them the value or satisfaction.
Serving customers' interests take the collaboration of all departments in the company, which results in integrated marketing. The firm must conduct both internal and external marketing to promote teamwork among all departments. While external marketing focuses on the people outside the organization, internal marketing targets the company's staff. Certainly, internal marketing must precede external marketing since the organization's employees must be ready to provide excellent service and products before promising them to customers (Armstrong et al. 2015).
The overall aim of the marketing concept is to help firms attain their objectives, which majorly entails making profits (Armstrong et al. 2015). Such profits are a consequence of creating superior customer value, by meeting customer needs better than rivals.
Notwithstanding, marketing decisions cannot be made in the absence of marketing information. Moreover, multiple internal and external environmental aspects influence these decisions. Hence, marketing leaders need sufficient information regarding these variables to forecast their directions and their anticipated effects on the internal activities of the company and the market.
Marketing Information System (MIS)
Marketing leaders use MIS to identify, measure, and predict marketing opportunities, in addition to analyzing market segments, their needs, preferences, and behaviour. The firm's MIS should represent a link between what managers think they require, what they really need, and what is economically feasible. The most essential sources in gathering marketing information are the components of the marketing information system, which include internal records, marketing intelligence, and research.
Internal Records System (IRS)
Internal records refer to data obtained in the form of the database relating to the company's microenvironment (Armstrong et al. 2015). Mainly, it includes current performance in cost, sales, inventory, cash flow, and the scale of activity. Marketing managers rely on this data to spot vital opportunities and problems. The core of the internal records system (IRS) is the order-to-payment cycle. Today's businesses must perform the steps on this cycle quickly and accurately to retain customers who value the timely delivery of goods. The primary benefits of the IRS are that it supports managers in their marketing decision-making by availing them with internal linking and operational integration between departments. Besides, it increases the ability to respond to the internal dynamic environment and permits the most efficient handling of customer orders.
Marketing Intelligence System
Marketing intelligence is how marketing managers can keep in contact with new knowledge of the macro-environment, which is often publicly available (Armstrong et al. 2015). Companies can upgrade the quality of their marketing intelligence by training sales representatives, distributors, and retailers to spot and report new marketing information, by setting up customer advisory panels, through buying information from external suppliers, such as A.C. Nielsen Company, and by establishing marketing information centres. Marketing intelligence systems are a set of processes and sources that marketing managers use to gather everyday information concerning the developments in the marketing arena. Companies benefit immensely from the analysis of customer and competitors' data by improving their marketing support decisions. Furthermore, such intelligence helps them improve their competitiveness.
Marketing Research System
Market research is the process of obtaining and analyzing marketing information to identify and resolve issues related to firms' marketing services and opportunities (Armstrong et al. 2015). Marketing managers collect data through market surveys, sales forecasts, advertising evaluations, or product-preference tests. While properly designed, firms can use a marketing research system to solve many information problems, such as insufficient and wrong information. Nevertheless, in spite of the fast growth of marketing research, many firms still fail to use it adequately and correctly.
State of Equilibrium in Marketing
The state of equilibrium in marketing occurs when there is no incentive for quality to change. In particular, equilibrium quality is achieved when companies' products meet customers' needs and wants satisfactorily. Attaining this state of equilibrium requires the development and use of a fully integrated MIS, which is a crucial component of the marketing concept. The MIS enables marketing managers to gather and store necessary internal and external information, which enables it to develop better products and execute an improved marketing plan to attract and retain customers. Moreover, moving from focusing on transactions and exchanges to building long-term customer relationships ensure that today's companies focus on their most profitable products and channels that bring the highest customer value and satisfaction.
In summary, the evolution from production to the marketing concept facilitates the use of marketing information systems to gather and store necessary information crucial in the attainment of quality for most profitable customers. Such information, obtained both internally and externally, ensures that firms understand the unspoken customer needs, wants and preferences, and hence develop products that meet these needs satisfactorily. This creates value for customers, which builds lasting, profitable customer relationships.
Armstrong, G., Adam, S., Denize, S. and Kotler, P., 2015. Principles of marketing. Pearson Australia.
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