WHAT IS MARKETING?
Marketing Focuses on Exchange
One popular conception of marketing is that it primarily involves sales. Other perspectives view marketing as consisting primarily of advertising or retailing activities. For some of you market research, pricing, or product planning may have come to mind.
While all these activities are part of marketing, it encompasses more than just these individual elements. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.
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The Marketing Mix
Marketing facilitates the exchange process by carefully examining the needs and wants of consumers, developing a product or service that satisfies these needs, offering it at a certain price, making it available through a particular place or channel of distribution, and developing a program of promotion or communication to create awareness and interest. These four Ps—product, price, place(distribution), and promotion—are elements of the marketing mix. The basic task of marketing is combining these four elements into a marketing program t ofacilitate the potential for exchange with consumers in the marketplace.
The proper marketing mix does not just happen. Marketers must be knowledgeable about the issues and options involved in each element of the mix. They must also be aware of how these elements can be combined to provide an effective marketing program. The market must be analyzed through consumer research and this information utilized in developing an overall marketing strategy and mix.
The primary focus of this course is on one element of the marketing mix: the promotion. However, the promotional program must be part of a viable marketing strategy and coordinated with other marketing activities. A firm can spend large sums on advertising or sales promotion, but it stands little chance of success if the product is of poor quality, is priced improperly, or does not have adequate distribution to consumers, Marketers have long recognized the importance of combining the elements of the marketing mix into a cohesive marketing strategy. Many companies also recognize the need to integrate their various marketing communication efforts, such as media advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, and public relations, to achieve more effective marketing communication.
INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
In past decades, many marketers built strong barriers around the various marketing and promotional functions and planned and managed them separately, with different budgets,different views of the market, and different goals and objectives. These companies failed to recognize that the wide range of marketing and promotional tools must be coordinated to communicate effectively and present a consistent image to target markets. From the 1990s, many companies are moving toward integrated marketing communications (IMC), which involves coordinating the various promotional elements along with other marketing activities that communicate with a firm's customers.
TheAmerican Association of Advertising Agencies defines integrated marketing communications as:
"a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines—for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion,and public relations— and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum communications impact."