In a narrow view, marketing is an activity of selling and purchasing of goods or services. But, the nature and scope of marketing is a much wider perspective. Along with the fulfillment of needs and wants related to the sale and purchase of goods and services, it encompasses the entire process of customer satisfaction. Hence, the process involves the identification of consumers’ needs and wants and fulfilling it to the extent until the customers are pleased and contented. With the changing marketing environment, the taste and preferences of the customers are also changing. Therefore, marketing also considers the changing requirements of the consumers apart from providing them with basic products or services. In totality, marketing comprises of all activities like producing, interacting, distributing and exchanging products/services which offer value to the customers.
Definition of Marketing
According to William J. Stanton, “Marketing is a total system of interacting business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products and services to the present and potential customers”.
According to Cundiff and Still, “Marketing is the business process by which products are matched with the market and through which the transfers of ownership are affected”.
According to American Marketing Association (new definition), “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders”.
Functions of Marketing
Different tasks of marketing are as follows:
1) Market Information: The basic task of marketing is to identify market information in the form of consumer needs, wants, and demands. The study of market information enables marketers to design effective marketing strategies. This analysis helps to determine the internal strengths and weaknesses of the firm and evaluate the macro-environment of the target market. Further, this information is used in the segmentation of the market.
2) Research: Another important task of marketing is research. This enables the target market to collect the required information for decision-making. The research process involves identification of size, culture, genders, beliefs, behavior, needs and wants of the target market. This forms the basis of product development to fulfill the consumers’ needs.
3) Buying Function: Buying is also a significant task of marketing to procure quality raw material for production function. This function is accomplished by the purchase and supply department of the organization. But the description and specification of the material are directed by the marketer. Hence, while designing the product for the target market, the marketer must buy all materials essential for the production.
4) Market Planning: This task of marketing involves planning for production decisions, promotion decisions, and other relevant activities. The main purpose of market planning is to achieve the desired goals of the organization through capturing the targeted market, expanding market presence or through increasing market share.
5) Exchange Function: Exchange task of marketing involves the buying and selling activities. It makes sure that the required products and services are available to consumers in adequate quantities. The measures like sales promotion, personal selling, and advertising assist the exchange function to sustain in the market.
6) Product Designing and Development: The purpose of product design and development is to make the product better and more attractive. In accordance with the changing market environment and consumers’ preferences, the product should be cost-effective along with high-end quality, style, appearance, suitability, and design. All these factors influence the consumer’s buying decision. Hence, product development is very crucial in marketing. The product development process comprises various stages where the consumers’ needs and wants are identified and accordingly the product is developed. The product can also be maintained by conducting its performance evaluation. All this is done to capture a large share of the target market.
7) Production: This task is managed by the production department. Even though, many associated production activities are undertaken by the marketing department like product testing, techniques used, packaging, etc. All this is done to assure that the product meets the needs and wants of the target market.
8) Promotion: Promotion is one of the key tasks of marketing. After production, the final product is launched in the target market for sale. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to promote its final products and communicate with its target market about the product. This requires the marketer to adopt certain promotional methods to reach its consumers such as advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, etc.
Also Read:- General Research Process
9) Standardization and Grading: Marketers also perform standardization and grading functions. In standardization function, products are developed under specific guidelines that meet the set quality and quantity throughout the production. This helps to maintain the consistency and homogeneity in the product. In the grading function, the final products are grouped into various categories on the basis of their characteristics. The standard measures used for grading depend upon the size and weight of the product. Marketers may also use grading for the pricing of products.
10) Pricing: Pricing is the process of determining the value which, the company will receive in return of its products and services. Marketers am responsible for designing of pricing policies and systems. The price of the product is usually based on the product life cycle and performance of the product.
11) Distribution: The distribution system plays a significant role in marketing. It helps to move goods from the production house to the final destination in stipulated time. Different modes of transportation are used to reach the target market like air, water, rail, road, etc. Marketers also decide the type of intermediary being used in the distribution channel along with their motivation and incentive plan.