People often get confused between the marketing of a product and the selling of a product. Marketing is concerned with identifying, anticipating and meeting the needs of customers in such a way as to make a profit for the organisation. Market research is thus an important element of marketing because this is the process involved in finding out what customers want. Meeting customer requirements then involves applying a relevant marketing mix i.e. providing the right product, at the right price, through the right distribution channels (place) and supported by the most suitable promotional and advertising activity.
Strategic and tactical marketing
Marketing operates at two levels within the organisation.
1. At one level marketing is a strategic discipline - it is concerned with major long term decisions that affect the whole organisation. In particular strategic marketing involves seeing marketing activity as being essential to everything the organisation does. Given this strategic approach everyone in the organisation has a responsibility for meeting needs of internal and external customers.
2. As well as strategic marketing, marketing activity is also concerned with tactical marketing. Tactical marketing is all about applying the marketing mix in the most appropriate way. Tactical marketing involves such activities as:
- organising relevant promotions,
- setting prices, and adjusting price in line with customer expectations, what the competition is doing etc.
- positioning the product, and periodically organising relaunches and adjustments to the product in line with changing market conditions.
- organising the most appropriate channels through which to distribute the product.
- The most appropriate marketing model is one that combines marketing strategy with tactics to create a totally customer facing organisation.
The modern approach to marketing outlined above contrasts with models used twenty years ago where the organisation focused more on selling existing products rather than finding out about customer needs and requirements. In those days businesses would seek to use marketing tools which marketers saw fit rather than finding out what the customer wanted and giving priority to this.