“Introduction to Marketing”
Marketing is the business function that identifies an organization’s customer needs and wants, determines which target markets it can serve best, and designs appropriate products, services, and programs to serve these markets. However, marketing is much more than just an isolated business function—it is a philosophy that guides the entire organization.
The goal of marketing is to create customer satisfaction profitably by building value-laden relationships with important customers. The marketing department cannot accomplish this goal by itself. It must work closely with other departments in the company, and with other organizations throughout its entire value-delivery system, to provide superior value to customers. Thus, marketing calls upon everyone in the organization to “think customer” and to do all that they can to help create and deliver superior customer value and satisfaction. As Professor Stephen Burnett of Northwestern puts it, “In a truly great marketing organization, you can’t tell who’s in the marketing department. Everyone in the organization has to make decisions based on the impact on the consumer.”
Many people see marketing only as advertising or selling. But real marketing does not involve the act of selling what you make so much as knowing what to make! Organizations gain market leadership by understanding consumer needs and finding solutions that delight customers through superior value, quality, and service. If customer value and satisfaction are absent, no amount of advertising or selling can compensate.
Marketing is all around us, and we all need to know something about it. Marketing is used not only by manufacturing companies, wholesalers, and retailers but by all kinds of individuals and organizations. Lawyers, accountants, and doctors use marketing to manage demand for their services. So do hospitals, museums, and performing arts groups. No politician can get the needed votes, and no resort the needed tourists, without developing and carrying out marketing plans. Principles of Marketing is designed to help students learn about and apply the basic concepts and practices of modern marketing as they are used in a wide variety of settings: in product and service firms, consumer and business markets, profit and nonprofit organizations, domestic and global companies, and small and large businesses.
People throughout these organizations need to know how to define and segment a market and how to position themselves strongly by developing need-satisfying products and services for chosen target segments. They must know how to price their offerings to make them attractive and affordable and how to choose and manage middlemen to make their products available to customers. And they need to know how to advertise and promote products so that customers will know about and want them. Clearly, marketers need a broad range of skills in order to sense, serve, and satisfy consumer needs.
Students also need to know marketing in their roles as consumers and citizens. Someone is always trying to sell us something, so we need to recognize the methods they use. And when students enter the job market, they must do “marketing research” to find the best opportunities and the best ways to “market themselves” to prospective employers. Many will start their careers with marketing jobs in sales-forces in retailing, in advertising, in research, or in one of a dozen other marketing areas.