Ultimate Guide To Learning Marketing7 mins - Introduction
Have you ever wondered why you feel enticed to pick up certain things while you’re shopping for groceries at the store? What is it about that label that caught your eye, compelled you to pick it up, briefly read about it, and then drops it into your shopping cart? Perhaps you liked the color of it. Perhaps you liked the new flavor that a long-time favorite beverage company just implemented. The answers to these questions will be numerous, but there’s one key term that can harbor all these questions, and that’s marketing. That product in your hand was designed for you to find it appealing. It was, what is called in the business world, marketed towards you. Marketing is by far the most important part of selling a product, service, or a business, but how much do you know about marketing? This guide will help give you a brief understanding of what marketing is.
Introduction to Marketing
Many people would consider marketing to be a fairly new concept, but it’s as old as civilization. Some people have even considered the exchanged between the various figures from different creation stories to have been the first instance of marketing. It’s considered by some to even be the oldest profession because, at its fundamental understanding, marketing is the exchange of ideas and the exchange of communication. The actual evolution of marketing came much later though in the 20th century. The first seminal work of marketing happened in the late 1960s early 1970s thanks to Philip Kotler who published his book on marketing management. Marketing is constantly confused with selling, though they both have their respective differences. Marketing is a much more common term and is widely used in comparison to selling as well.
In the past, people first started producing something and then realized that they needed something else from somebody else. This is how bartering came to be. Subsequently, as the Industrial Revolution came into being, many goods started to get produced and people found out that they had much more then what was required or demanded. The concept of selling items came from this surplus. This interaction gave birth to marketing, as sellers began to understand what other people wanted and didn’t want. The first salesman appears and thereafter, around the 1950s and 1960s (the Golden Age), marketing and advertising became a mainstay in many societies. It wasn’t until the 1970s though that marketing took flight. By the end of the 1980s, people realized that the oldest of the marketing concepts needed revision. Today, in the Technological Age, there is a new marketing theory that has taken over.
What is Marketing?
There are two definitions: the American Marketing Association definition and Philip Kotler’s definition.
American Marketing Association definition: This definition is quite old and continues to get revised. A past reiteration of it said that marketing management is “the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user.” Many people find this concept of marketing to be very limited. It only talks about things which are produced, and it only seems to focus on the physical distribution of things from one producer to another consumer. This is why many people prefer Philip Kotler’s definition.
The Philip Kotler definition: This definition considers marketing to be a societal process in which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and freely exchanging services and products of value between one another. Marketing is an ongoing process full of discovering and translating the consumer’s desires and needs into services and products, serving the consumer and their demand through a network of marketing channels and expanding the market base when faced with competition from other marketers. This definition covers a broad spectrum of businesses, which is important to keep in mind in the modern world. Marketing isn’t merely a business exchange; there is a whole spectrum of aspects, emotions, feelings, desires, wants, fulfillments and so forth that this definition can describe. There are people like influencers who are constantly reshaping how we see marketing and business acts.
The next big question becomes “what is a market?” For many people, a market is a physical place. It’s a place where people meet, they exchange goods, products, or services. But now thanks to the internet, the spaces we fill are no longer just in the physical form. Digital spaces, such as social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are also market spaces. eBay is another example. It’s a marketing space that is open to virtually anyone and rarely involves a physical experience or exchange between the two parties. This is why the new definition of a market is considered a potential set of buyers and sellers who offer some value to consumers. A modern example of this definition would be professional YouTubers and Twitch streamers. These individuals offer the value of entertainment by creating recorded or streamed content readily consumed by their viewers. It’s become one of the top merging professions and marketing platforms in the modern-day.
The Marketing Concepts
Now we find ourselves at an important aspect of marketing, the concepts behind it. The concepts underline the previous definitions of marketing. Many people don’t understand they have different assumptions and the following set of concepts will give you a better understanding of the different assumptions that people work from.
People still believe in what is called the production concept. This concept indicates that all you need to do is produce and then somehow there will be customers who need what you are producing and the focus, therefore, is on producing more and more with the assumption that the more you produce, the more profitable your business will be.
There is also the product concept. The focus on this concept is to develop a superior product to that of the competition. Unfortunately, there are dozens of examples of companies who built far superior products but failed in the marketplace. One example of this comes with Microsoft’s operating systems. To many tech-savvy people, Microsoft’s OSs aren’t the best OSs out there; however, consumers still flock to them. A majority of today’s computers use them.
The third concept is the selling concept. Some people believe that a lot of customers won’t buy on their own accord and need to be persuaded to buy something. It’s a common concept found among businesses and individuals who have a transactional and trading mentality.
The fourth concept, which is gaining the most acceptance in the modern world, is the marketing concept. This concept puts the pressure of success on you. Your success as a company lies in your ability to distinguish yourself from your competition by offering an improved value proposition to your customers. The main focus of this concept is in comparing yourself with what your competitors are offering and doing a better job of it.
The final concept takes into account certain things like environmental consciousness and being more socially aware. It’s called the societal marketing concept. This concept explains that not only should you have a better value proposition than your competitor, but you must also be socially relevant and desirable. This is by far the most visible and sought-after concept in today’s society. It’s become common to hear about a certain group of people becoming upset because a company has created an advertisement that they consider to be offensive. We live in a world that’s becoming more and more socially conscious, and therefore marketing and advertising are being forced to adjust to this demand. One example is recently when Nike, the shoe company, presented a sneaker that displays the Betsy Ross version of the American flag on it. Known as the USA-theme Air Max 1 sneaker, it was marketed as a celebration of the Fourth of July. It was pulled after criticism of the shoe claimed that the flag (an early reiteration of the American flag), was found offensive. The backlash included former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who endorsed Nike and appeared in previous advertising campaigns. According to him and other opposers, the flag was an offensive symbol because it has a connection to the slavery era.
This situation isn’t unique to Nike. Almost every week a company or other entity who is involved in marketing find themselves at either the positive or negative side of the internet’s opinion. This is why the societal marketing concept has become so important. Companies must take into consideration the larger good of society when they are marketing. Though ironically speaking, there have been companies that have marketed against the common mindset and have done successfully. But these are arguably the outliers of the marketplace.
When it comes down to it, all of these marketing concepts are still being implemented around the world. There are different assumptions in each of the concepts. It would be wise for you to consider what concepts many companies that you see around you are using when they are marketing or selling their products. This is especially true if you are considering becoming an entrepreneur or starting your own business. What will your ads say? Which concept works for you? It starts with a conversation between you and another person. Will it be a great conversation that leads to understanding the needs of your potential client or customer? Do you understand their problems, dreams, and needs? On the other side of the proverbial coin: do you need to understand these aspects of them? Marketing comes down to asking many of these difficult questions and accepting that the answer to be something one day, and then the next it’s something completely different.