Marketing is an organizational function or process that is essential for any organization to include in their organizational structure. A lot would go wrong without a marketing department; its functions depends so much on the day to day operations of the organization, it promotes the image of the company by communicating to the public the mission or purpose of the organization and its reason for existence. Businesses and companies in domestic or global markets rely on a marketing department that is reliable, innovative and effective.
Having an effective marketing department requires a process which has a broad and in-depth study of the different stages, however discussed in this essay will be the basic idea of the process in marketing – Understanding the market place & Customer demands, Designing customer driven strategies that lead up to constructing integrated plans & programs and Building customer relationships. Rapid changes in modernization has influenced companies to shift from traditional forms of marketing such as displays on windows and shelves, advertising on newspapers, magazines, television and the radio to the emergence of advanced technology, the use of internet (social networks, websites, email, etc.) and smart phone applications.
Information technology has improved company performance in carrying out market research, developing strategic market plans and communicating constructive programs through promotional tools like that of digital or direct marketing which is the most effective form of communications in this millennium. For an organization not to adapt to positive changes and to lack information about its marketing environment, can result in the business shutting down or ceasing operations.
In a marketing environment, it is important for organizations to know their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities to progress and the treats that may hinder their progress (SWOT Analysis). Domestic companies are aware of their internal environment (day-to-day functional areas), competitors, suppliers, distributors, marketing intermediaries, the public and the different customer groups (consumer, businesses, resellers, government and international markets) but it is also advisable to be aware and responsive to foreign, international or global marketing environments because domestic companies may face competition with foreign imports and foreign companies that set up operations in a domestic market.
While companies in domestic markets experience internal and some external environmental forces, international companies in global markets face challenges by dealing with different currencies, legal systems, cultures and the availability of resources for their businesses (Wong, Cronk, Kitching, Carroll, Ridings, Chittick & McDonnell, 2000, p. 5).
There are also external forces known as Macro environmental forces that have a negative impact reducing the chances for growth and expansion for many companies and such happenings are due to political and legal influences on codes of practices, trade regulations, tax laws on imports and exports, economic factors such as the current state of an economy due to recession and inflation, unfavorable interest and exchange rates, high tax, natural disasters and political instability.
Despite whatever marketing environmental forces that surrounds organizations, an effective marketing department in any organizations should be open to information and allow for positive changes as well as use opportunities for planning and executing strategies to achieve organizational objectives. Many organizations that have survived marketing environmental forces and adapt to modern changes still operate in domestic markets while others have expanded and ventured into global markets and have become successful and profitable as a result of effective marketing. Companies today in the global market are competitive.
The demand for fashion, style, beauty and quality have forced companies to be innovative and develop effective marketing strategies and approaches in the development of their products and services. Companies want to create value for customers and build meaningful, lasting relationships with their customers (Armstrong, Adam, Denzie & Kolter, 2015, p. 102). Therefore, the first and foremost thing that companies should do is having reliable information about their customers.
“In today’s hypercompetitive world, states a marketing expert, the race for competitive advantage is really a race for customer and market insights” (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 102). Advanced technology has allowed companies to carry out Market Research by identifying, collecting, analyzing, and reporting relevant data on customer insights. This data is stored in large quantities and generated as useful information needed for planning and strategizing. With relevant information collected, companies are able to plan, strategize and implement the concept of the marketing mix (the 4 P’s),
- product – what the company would sell,
- place/distribution – where products and services are made available to customers,
- price – how products and services are priced and paid for,
- promotion – how products and services are made known to customers so that they are motivated to purchase (Donavan & Henley, 2010, p.
282). When companies know their target audience, they are able to create products and services of value for customers. Products and services must benefit customers and customer satisfaction depends on the quality, features, style and design of a product or service. A products attributes are based on its branding, packaging and labelling, every company tries to be unique in the way their products are packaged and delivered.
The delivery of products from manufacturers to the end user refers to the place of distribution of products. Large companies doing business at a global scale would ship their products long distances. Some may build warehouses or storage facilities to store all their shipment and then have them distributed by transport to various locations.
The process of getting the desired good to the end user gets more complex when networking between companies, suppliers, distributors (wholesalers & retailers) and customers. To improve efficient delivery services, information systems are set up to manage the supply chain of final goods. Information technology has made marketing logistics (physical distribution) manageable.
Developments such as satellite tracking of transport, radio frequency ID tags, electronic data interchange, electronic funds transfer, point-of-sale terminals and the internet, has had a positive effect in the performance of companies in the supply chain management and marketing logistics (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 298). Pricing is that component of marketing mix that brings revenue into the company while the other components of the marketing mix produces costs, pricing is also flexible and quick to change. “Pricing is often the most significant factor affecting buyer choice, but it’s a doubled edged sword. If a price is too high, buyers may turn away, if it’s too low, they may sense something is wrong” (Scott, 2013, p.207).
Pricing is a problem when not handled well by many companies. Cutting prices just to make sales for the day is often not the best solution to make fast revenue because the risk would mean losing huge profits for the company. As mentioned by Scott, 2013, to have very high prices may not attract customers and to have prices so low will send customers away with the impression that the item is expired or damaged. Finding the right price for the product is creating value for the customer. Consumers want quality and if they find value in a product that benefits them a great deal, they will return to buy again, therefore it is wise to set prices that are customer-oriented.
Once price is set or put on a product or service, companies need to communicate to customers the value of the product or service and this is done through Promotion. With the fast changing environment in communications, there is also the need to integrate techniques in marketing known as promotion mix or the marketing communications mix. Promotion involves advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, direct and digital marketing (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 342). It is the last marketing mix that communicates to the customer the product brand, design, packaging shape and color, its price and the place where the product is sold.
Large companies incur millions of Kina or dollars in expenses through mass media communications for one basic reason and that is to reach billions of customers with a single advertisement. Competition among companies in global markets today is at its peak due to advanced technology, each organization is in the race to reach as many customers as possible. What use to be mass media advertising on televisions, magazines, newspapers, radios, prints, etc., has changed considerably, marketing communications is now focused on direct and digital marketing that is said to be very cost effective, allowing companies to target their customers more accurately and save in promotional expenses (Wong et al., 2000, p. 272).
The use of internet, smart phones, tablets and other technologies has improved marketing communications whereby companies connect easily and quickly with consumers to exchange product or service related information. Direct marketing has changed the approach of marketers (marketing department), to strategize and develop integrated plans and programs that will narrow down their search to a target audience.
Consumers are able to share their experiences on the use of a product or service, this also gives them the advantage of being in control of what they choose to buy and whom they wish to communicate with when purchasing a product or service. Organizations now use Market Segmentation to help them identify specific needs of particular groups of buyers, keep closer track of their needs and make offerings of a product or service that is appropriate for the intended group of customers. In conclusion, if there is no marketing department; then there is no market research, no planning for promotions, no sales made because there are no customers to purchase products and the company will suffer losses.
In another scenario, if there is a marketing department within an organization but it is ineffective or the company fails to apply basic marketing principles then this company will spend more money on mass produce, transportation expenses and unattractive costly advertising which is an indication of very poor public relations.
Organizations with an ineffective marketing department are incapable of defending themselves from marketing environmental forces and will easily go out of business because they are not able to adapt to changes and cope with challenges. Organizations therefore need a marketing department when applying the marketing process, whether just a small trade store to a global firm, the marketing process is applied depending on the size and complexity of the organization.
Global firms and large companies have a more complex structure and therefore a marketing department is a vital function which includes the whole process of planning, research on the market place and its customers, understanding their needs and wants, designing customer driven marketing approaches that are effective and constructing integrated marketing programs that will deliver greater value to customers.
It is building profitable relationships that will create customer delight and as customers return to buy the same products by a particular company or firm, it is indicating that companies have captured customer value and customers will remain loyal to that company’s brand at the same time it is a gain for companies.
- Wong, S.M., Cronk, T., Kitching, B., Carroll, P., Ridings, S., Chittick, G., & McDonnell, J. (2000). Marketing and international business. Australia: Pearson Education Australia Pty Ltd
- Armstrong, G., Adam, S., Denzie S., & Kolter, P. (2015). Principals of marketing (6th ed.). Australia: Pearson Australia (a division of Person Australia Group Pty Ltd)
- An online journal article Donavan, R., & Henley, N. (2010). Principals and practice of social marketing: an international perspective (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from Divine Word University, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com
- An online journal article Scott, J.T. (2013). The concise handbook of management: a practitioner’s approach. Taylor ; Francis Group. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from Divine Word University, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com
- An online journal article Sherlekar, S.A., Prasad, K.N., ; Victor, S.J.S. (2009). Principles of marketing. Global Media. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/divineword/detail.?docID=3011125
- An online journal article Hundekar, S.G., Appannaiah, H.R., ; Reddy, P.N. (2009). Principles of marketing. Global Media. Retrieved April 24, 2018, from Divine Word University, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com