To describe the importance of marketing, one need not look further than
this quote from Regis McKenna,
“Marketing is everything,
and everything is marketing.”
Everyone is exposed to marketing everyday, even when they don’t know
it. Billboards surround the nation’s roads. Logos appear everywhere from
t-shirts to the center field of the “Tostitos” Fiesta Bowl. When a teenager
is begging his dad to use the family car, he is in fact, marketing himself
to his father for the exchange of the keys. And that is what marketing
is about. Trying to create exchanges that satisfy and benefit both parties.
No consumer can escape from marketing campaigns, and no business should
be operating without a marketing plan to identify potential customers,
meet their needs and wants, and keep them coming back for more. This section
gives you an introduction into the world of marketing and the different
aspects of it. You will hear about the 4 “P’s” of the marketing mix. The
important elements of a marketing plan. How your future customers are identified
and place between the cross-wires with marketing research and target marketing.
To get a specific message to a specific customer, one must be familiar
with direct marketing. Internet marketing is one of more recent trends
that many organizations are looking at. Overall this section should help
you learn about the importance for small businesses to implement marketing
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There are many text book definitions of marketing. It is very difficult
to find two that are the same. The one constant in most of them are
that marketing is a process that’s ultimate goal is to create exchanges
that will satisfy and benefit both the customer and the organization. Marketing
is the function of an organization that identifies their current and potential
customers, creates products or services that meet the needs and wants of
customers, informs and persuades the customers to purchases these products
or services, and reinforces the customers confidence in the purchase that
It is important for marketing efforts to be customer-oriented. When
marketing a product or service, the organization must be certain that the
product or service that they are providing is one that the customer wants.
Quite often marketing efforts fail when the organization developed the
product/service first, then tried to convince it’s customer to buy it.
One of the greatest marketing flops of all time was when the Coca-Cola
Company decided to change it’s formula in 1985 and introduced it as “New
Coke.” It was a disaster. Sales of the New Coke were very low and the Coca-Cola
Company was receiving many phone calls and letters from angry customers
who demanded the old formula back. The Coca-Cola Company brought back the
old formula two months later. Reintroduced as “Coca-Cola Classic,” it was
sold along with New Coke and outsold it by two to one in supermarkets.
The Coke case is a classic example of what happens when an organization
fails to conduct proper marketing research.
The key for a successful marketing effort is maintaining a level of
customer satisfaction while at the same time, creating a profit for the
organization. Profits must be made in order for the organization to continue
to do business.
Marketing is a concept that is always evolving. New definitions of marketing
are being written everyday. You’ll find trends in marketing at the end
of this page.
Majaro, Simon. (1993) The Essence of Marketing. Prentice
Hall; New York
Hindle, Tim (1994) Field Guide to Marketing.
The Economist Books Ltd; Boston
Kotler, Philip (1991) Marketing Management. Prentice
Hall; New Jersey
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The Marketing Mix is known the elements that make up the marketing process.
They are also known as the 4 “P’s.” It is important for an organization
to have a good understanding of the marketing mix. Each element is important
when developing a marketing plan.
Price: What is the highest amount that the customer will pay for the
product or service? Many times setting the incorrect price level is the
beginning of the end for an organization. An organization must be sure
that the price is not too high or too low. Mistakes either way will hurt
the organization’s income. When an organization is starting out, it is
important that they focus their price levels on breaking-even. A break-even
analysis is necessary to determine the price to set to avoid a loss.
Product: What you are trying to sell to the customer. An organization
needs to have an in depth understanding about what it is they are marketing.
Development of the product’s size, quality, design, brand name, packaging
are important when trying to match with customer’s needs and wants. An
organization should explain how their product’s features benefit the customer.
Place: Where the customer meets the product. The question is how does
the customer get to that place? An organization needs to make sure the
product or service they are offering is in the appropriate location where
its target markets can reach it. An obvious example of poor placement is
developing a ski resort in Houston, TX. It is also important to look at
the transportation that could be necessary to reach its customers and the
geographical barriers that might exist. A B&B will not get many visitors
if they have to travel on a poorly lit, gravel road.
Promotion: The method in which the customer will gain knowledge about
the product and be persuaded to purchase it. There are many different types
of promotional activities that can be used to help gain knowledge, exposure,
and desire to purchase
When planning these different activities, it is very important to estimate
what they will cost and factor that into the organization’s operating budget.
When working from a small budget, it is important to take advantage of
all opportunities of free publicity. Having a working relationship with
the local media will be very useful when trying to generate publicity.
Instead of having to spend money on a print ad in the newspaper, you can
have an article written about your organization for no charge. It is also
important for small budget organizations to create their own personal promotions.
An organization can gain exposure by wearing a T-shirt with their logo
on it around town.
Personal Propaganda: creating and distributing your own brochures, newsletters,
Promotional Activities: coupons, give-aways, sponsorships of community
events, trade shows.
Professional Organizations: being involved with a professional organization
or association in your field.
Media Relations Campaign: a plan to develop contacts and relationships
with the local media.
Advertising: Print ads (newspapers, yellow pages), Outdoor ads (Billboards),
Broadcast ads (TV and radio), Direct mailings.
A recent trend focuses the marketing mix directly on the customer. Instead
of the 4 “P’s”, there is the 4 “C’s.”
Many organizations that offer services struggle when trying to apply the
4 “P’s” concept to their marketing plan. They are missing one of the “P’s,”
product. Services are intangible, produced and consumed at the same time,
rely heavily on the organization’s personnel, and the performance of personnel.
Marketing services require a complete dedication to understanding the customer.
Everyone on staff in the organization must have a complete understanding
of the customer, a relationship with the customer. Relationship marketing
is an important concept for service-based organizations, and is discussed
in more depth in the Marketing Trends section.
Kotler, Philip (1991) Marketing Management.
Prentice Hall; New Jersey
Customer value: how much the customer values the product.
Cost to the customer: also includes customer’s time and energy, along
with price of the product.
Convenience for the buyer: similar to place.
Communication: similar to promotion.
Crawford, Walter (1997) Industry
Week. “The Mix Makes the Difference.” Vol. 247
Goncalves, Karen (1998) Services
Marketing: A Strategic Approach. Prentice Hall; New Jersey
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Marketing plans are an inessential component for all businesses. All businesses
that are successful have followed a plan. Their success did not happen
because of luck, it happened because the success was planned. A marketing
plan helps establish, coordinate, and direct marketing efforts. It forces
the organization to take a good, hard look at the market of your field
and what is currently happening to it. It’s a time to establish marketing
goals and objectives, which can be later used for benchmarking yourself.
Marketing plans helps keep the organization on the right track by following
the guidelines it sets. It is also critical when trying to borrow money.
When an organization plans to allow you to borrow money or invest in your
organization, they require to examine your business plan. The marketing
plan is a critical part of the business plan.
Marketing Plan Elements:
It is important to regularly update your marketing plan. The market changes
almost by the hour. The first marketing plan you create probably will not
be effective in the future.
McNamee, Patrick (1998) Strategic Market
Planning. John Wiley & Sons; England
Executive Summary: brief explanation of what the organization does, its
mission statement, the management’s infrastructure, and a short summary
about the marketing objectives and the proposed plan.
Current Marketing Situation: provides information about the current location,
the target markets, and competitors in the market.
Competitor and Issue Analysis: a more detailed description about the competition.
Also includes potential challenges that could arise in the future due to
Marketing Objectives: where the marketing goals and financial objectives
are set. Objectives should be challenging, yet attainable for the organization.
Marketing Strategy: plan for meeting the marketing objectives. Incorporates
the marketing mix.
Action Programs: an explanation of the different tasks of the marketing
strategy. What will be done? When will it be done by? Who will do it? What
will it cost?
Budget: A more detailed look at the cost of the proposed marketing activities.
Measurements: sets levels to measure if objectives are being met. Sets
timeline to meet these measurable objectives.
Supportive Documents: references to support the marketing plan. Includes
the marketing research report.
Controls: monitoring system for the marketing plan. Monthly or quarterly
checklists to insure that the plan is operating effectively. Also included
contingency plans. Plans of action in the event of a crisis.
Kotler, Philip (1991) Marketing
Management. Prentice Hall; New Jersey
Winchester, Jay (1997) Sales and
Marketing Management. “So What’s the Plan?.” Vol. 149
Berry, Tim (1997) American Demographics.
“Where Good Plans Go Wrong.” Vol. N/A
Bade, Nicholas (1994) Marketing
Without Money! NTC Business Books; Illinois
Thompson, Harvey (1998) Journal
of Business Strategy. “Marketing Strategies: What Do Your Customers Really
Want?” Vol. 19
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One of the overall themes of marketing is customer-oriented. Target marketing
is the process of identifying the consumers whose needs and wants you can
satisfy the best. This focused, planned approach allows you to allocate
your resources to market that offer the best opportunity for a high return
on marketing investments. There are three major elements involved with
target marketing, marketing research, market segmentation, and market targeting.
Single-Segment Concentration: focusing on only one segment. It could thrust
you into the lead of that market, but at the same time, if the market goes
bad, you would be left in the cold.
Marketing research: the gathering, analyzing, and reporting of data that
is relevant to the target market. Conducting marketing research is very
beneficial for an organization. It can help you predict potential problems
that could effect your market. Open the door to discovering markets that
have the potential for financial success or failure. Marketing research
can give you personal information about your customers. Therefore you can
create your marketing efforts to cater to their personal needs. Marketing
research allows you to compare yourself to the competition and helps you
determine how you can differentiate your product or service. There are
six steps in the marketing research process: 1) Defining the problem and
research objectives. 2) Developing the research plan. 3) Developing the
research tools. 4) Collecting the information. 5) Analyzing the information.
6) Presenting the findings.
Market segmentation: identifying different groups (segments) in a population.
It is more beneficial for an organization to focus its marketing efforts
on a group who have similar characteristics, needs, and wants, than it
is to a group of undifferentiated people. There are many different ways
a group can be segmented. The most common characteristics included: demographic
(age, income), geographic (state, city), psychographic (social class, lifestyle),
and use (frequency, user status). An organization can increase their revenues
and decrease their expenses by focusing their efforts on a market segment.
Market Targeting: evaluating each market segment and selecting the appropriate
segment that will be profitable. When analyzing a segment there are many
factors to consider. The segment needs to be the right size. A common mistake
is large companies marketing to a small segment. This is probably an unprofitable
situation for the company. The opposite is true with small companies marketing
to a segment that is too big. They simply don’t have enough resources to
meet the demands of the large segment. A sure miss when trying to target
a market is when a segment is in an environment where a number of competitors
already exist. When selecting a target market an organization has to consider
the different patterns to chose from:
Selective Specialization: focusing on a number of different segments.
Much less risk than single-segment concentration, because an organization
will have other options if one of their markets goes bad.
Product/service Specialization: focusing a specific product/service
to market to a specific segment. An example of this would be how Odyssey
only produces and markets putters to the golfing segment.
Market Specialization: focusing on the many needs of a specific customer
group. These are where your specialty shops fall in. Nevada Bob’s focusing
golfers. Suncoast Video focusing on movie buffs.
Full Market Coverage: trying to cover all segments with the products/service
they might need. The only organizations that are successful at this are
the large corporations.
Majaro, Simon (1993) The Essence of
Marketing. Prentice Hall; New York
Cook, Kenneth (1993) AMA Complete
Guide to Small Business Marketing. NTC Business Books; Illinois
Bade, Nicholas (1994) Marketing
Without Money! NTC Business Books; Illinois
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In order to stay competitive, an organization needs to keep up, and take
advantage of, the new technologies that surround them. The latest and greatest
marketing tool is the information superhighway, more specifically, email
and the internet. Web pages are an excellent way to allow your customers
to reach you. Your organization can be accessed at any time and any place
in the world. Customers can order goods or services, see examples of your
products, ask questions, find the location of your organization, all at
the click of a button.
The Online Women’s Business Center has many good ideas
for using the internet as one of your marketing activities:
Bayne, Kim (1997) The Internet Marketing
Plan. John Wiley & Sons. England
Krauss, Michael (1998) Marketing
News. “The Web is Taking Your Customers for Itself.” Vol. 32
Hardin, Terri (1998) Successful
Meetings. “Web Marketing 101.”
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Organizations need to keep update with all the latest business trends
to keep up with the competition. Two of the important trends in the marketing
world are Relationship Marketing and Guerrilla Marketing.
Relationship Marketing: The tradition concepts of marketing focus on
making the sale or transaction. Relationship marketing’s goal is to enhance
the relationship with the customer. It recognizes the customer’s complete
value, a value that the organization can benefit from throughout the lifetime
of the customer. Relationship marketing takes that benefit, and shares
in back with the customer to create both customer and organizational satisfaction.
Relationship marketing does not only focus on the customer; it also should
be applied to other publics such as the local community, suppliers, and
even the competition. An organization should use relationship marketing
to create an understanding with all these publics.
Guerilla Marketing: This is a rather new concept that is designed specifically
for the small businesses that want to compete with the big corporate world.
Guerrilla marketing uses unconventional methods to accomplish conventional
goals. Organizations can do this by maximizing all their resources in their
marketing efforts. Guerrilla marketers look for opportunities for free
advertisement and free publicity. When they spend money on marketing techniques,
they dissect every aspect of the technique to get the most out of the money
Marketing today is moving a lot closer to the customer. Organizations
are no longer asking for the customer’s input after they have made the
product or completed the service. They are asking well in advance, and
the customer is noticing. Customer value and relationships must be the
focus of an organization’s marketing campaign. There are so many options
out there for the customer, if they do not appreciate how they are being,
or not being treated, there will be another organization ready to give
them what they want in a heartbeat.
Levinson, Jay (1984) Guerrilla Marketing.
Houghton Mifflin; Boston
McIntyre, Susan (1998) Direct Marketing.
“Cataloging for Entrepreneurs #3: ‘Guerrilla Operations.’"
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This page written by Ben Chulick
Dept. of Park, Recreation &