Definition of Marketing
Many people consider marketing to be a general concept focused on advertising. However, as is evident from a publication by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (2017), marketing is a broad discipline that involves the process of providing the appropriate goods and services to the right people. Relative to its broad nature, the subject also encompasses different institutions, activities, and processes involved in the creation, communication, and delivery of products and services to the right customers. In this regard, marketing is beneficial to business success (American Marketing Association 2017).
Established in the 1970s, Apple has grown to be one of the world’s most respected and celebrated technology companies. The company’s core business is the sale of consumer electronics. Some of its most notable products include the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPod. Headquartered in California, the organization has grown from a small enterprise to be a public limited company, which is traded in Nasdaq and S&P 100 (Spark 2014). Even though the multinational operates in the technology industry, its operations are spread across different subsectors, including computer hardware, computer software, consumer electronics, digital distribution, semiconductor development, and corporate venture capital management (Spark 2014). Based on its widespread market outreach, the company now has a global footprint in more than 499 locations. Similarly, it has grown over the years to employ more than 123,000 employees in various market divisions.
Concept of Marketing
The main concepts of marketing are customer orientation, integrated effort, and goal achievement. They are discussed below:
The customer orientation concept stems from the quest by companies to provide goods and services that appeal to unique customer needs. Product, place, price, and promotion are key tenets of this orientation because they act as levers through which companies use to meet specific customer needs (Brassignton & Pettitt 2012).
An integrated effort framework is a key tenet of marketing, and it generally refers to the ability of employees to rally together to improve customer satisfaction standards. In other words, the framework premised on the principle that all employees are responsible for providing quality customer service. The integrated effort platform also shows how marketing concepts link with business objectives because they influence production, research and development, finance, and engineering operations in most organizations. Through this analysis, it is easy to understand how different departmental activities, such as information technology (IT) and human resource management (HRM) interact with marketing.
Marketing efforts are often designed to achieve a certain objective. These goals are considered the guiding principle of all marketing efforts. Attaining them denotes the success of a marketing plan.
Different Marketing Concepts
As highlighted in this paper, marketing is a broad concept. The production, product, selling, marketing, and societal concepts are pivotal to understanding the concept. These concepts are discussed below.
The Production Concept
The production concept is premised on the principle that most customers prefer to use products that are available and affordable to them. The premise behind this view is that people prefer to buy cheaper products at the expense of expensive ones. Companies that realize this principle exploit it to make the maximum profit (Brassignton & Pettitt 2012). Some studies have shown that the adoption of this production principle is the most effective way of growing markets. At the center of this concept is an understanding that most of them will focus on achieving high production efficiency standards, which are mostly realized through mass production and the minimization of production costs. Promoting production efficiency is a popular marketing concept in developing countries because many consumers in such markets often focus on obtaining a product, as opposed to buying those that have unique features (Brassignton & Pettitt 2012).
The Product Concept
The product concept is aimed at accentuating the features of a good or service such as its quality, performance, function, or even packaging (Chartered Institute of Marketing 2017). The idea that a customer will prefer a product that has the highest quality supersedes all other considerations in this context. Therefore, managers that exercise the product concept focus their efforts on making products with the highest quality standards and strive to innovate occasionally. Here, the general assumption is that customers can appraise their products for quality and performance. The downside is that some companies are often too engrossed in their products and fail to realize the need for incorporating market demands on their production plans (Chartered Institute of Marketing 2017).
The Selling Concept
The selling concept is defined by the quest by companies to sell what they believe is right for the market, and not necessarily what the people think is right for them (Kotler & Armstrong 2013). Common examples of this type of business are the sale of life insurance and the issuance of credit cards.
The Marketing Concept
The marketing concept highlights an inverse understanding of the selling model because it is market-oriented, as opposed to company-oriented. Therefore, companies that choose this marketing approach strive to develop products that match customer needs, as opposed to company needs (American Marketing Association 2017).
The Societal Marketing Concept
The societal marketing concept is premised on the need for organizations to balance their profit-making ventures with societal needs. Some research studies also draw attention to the need for the same companies to balance consumer satisfaction standards with the previously mentioned considerations (marketing, selling, and product needs) (American Marketing Association 2017).
Current and Future Trends
Various current and future trends in the marketplace influence the activities of many organizations today. Economic considerations are especially integral to the performance of businesses because they influence customer purchasing decisions and their perceptions of the value of money. Current trends, which have influenced the operations of many companies in the past decade, have been the creation of customer value, the onset of the digital age, rapid globalization, societal marketing, and relationship marketing. These aspects of operations are explained below.
Creating and Delivering Customer Value
In the last century, there has been a strong focus on creating customer value at the expense of most other considerations of product development. Indeed, most businesses today are preoccupied to make sure their customers get what they ordered for, and not what they think is right for the customers.
The Digital Age
The digital age refers to the heavy reliance on technological applications to carry out daily functions. This trend has influenced how companies like Apple manage their software businesses because they have to develop applications that are useful to the daily lives of their customers. This attempt has seen such companies introduce important applications to their software platforms. By extension, the innovations have given their customers useful tools for managing their lives.
Globalization has helped to open new markets around the world. This trend has changed how tech companies, such as Apple, Google, and Samsung design their marketing strategies because they are targeting a global audience with different tastes and preferences. Ideally, they should be able to develop products and services that appeal to a global audience. For example, Apple’s online platform gives users a choice of navigating through the website using multiple languages. Therefore, it is easier for the company to appeal to a wider global audience, especially from non-English speaking countries.
As highlighted in earlier sections of this report, societal marketing is an important concept for the sustainability of many modern businesses. Many organizations that subscribe to this principle try to fulfill this principle by engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Relationship marketing is a current trend in the global marketplace because it has proved to be a long-term and effective way of sustaining sales. The concept premised on the principle that long-term company success depends on the ability of organizations to forge long-term relationships with their customers. Therefore, customer loyalty is at the heart of relationship marketing. The goal of employing such marketing techniques is not only to develop a strong engagement with customers, but also to nurture an emotional attachment between the customers and the company, or its brands (Kotler & Armstrong 2013).
An Overview of the Different Marketing Processes
Segmentation. The process of market segmentation refers to the categorization of markets into different clusters. The process is informed by different considerations, including people’s economic potential, consumer tastes, consumer preferences, varying purchasing powers, demographic differences, and such attributes.
Targeting. After the identification of the different types of market segments, targeting is often the next process in marketing. It involves using the unique characteristics of each market segment to design the right type of products that would align with the features of each market portfolio (Kotler & Armstrong 2013).
Positioning. The process of market positioning involves attempts by companies to influence the perception of consumers regarding their products or services (usually favorably), relative to those of the competitors (Kotler & Armstrong 2013).
Marketing-Mix Planning (4Ps)
The marketing mix concept refers to the blend of four key concepts of marketing to create an effective strategic mix that would avail the right products to the right customers. This marketing mix strategy is defined by the variation of 4Ps, which include product, place, price, and place (Ferrell et al. 2014).
Product. “Product” is defined as the first tenet of marketing, and it refers to any tangible good or service, depending on the kind of business a company engages in. When formulating the right marketing mix, companies must understand the kind of products or services they are presenting to the market and how best to differentiate them from those of the competitors.
Place. Commonly, marketers say the essence of marketing is to deliver the right kind of product, at the right, time, at the right place, and within the desired quantities (Kotler & Armstrong 2013). Based on this statement alone, knowing the right location to present a product is critical in formulating the right marketing mix strategy. Today, the online marketplace is considered a critical location where potential clients are converted into paying customers. Such is the case for Apple.
Price. Price refers to a set denomination of currency that companies are willing to sell their goods or services. It is a key part of the marketing strategy because price communicates many features about a product, including its perceived quality and market acceptance. Pricing is instrumental to marketing this way certain price points are not within the grasp of specific market segments.
Promotion. Promotion is concerned with the dissemination of information to the right customers. There are different options available in the market to support this principle. Some of the common ones include search engine optimization, advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing. However, the value that could be derived from one brand greatly depends on how well a company positions its products or services.
Marketing control involves the review of key steps in the marketing plan to determine whether they are working towards the achievement of the intended goals, or not. Different organizations have unique types of controls. However, for purposes of this paper, the annual plan, profitability, efficiency, and strategic controls are discussed.
Annual-Plan Control. As its name suggests, an annual plan control refers to the yearly review of marketing plans. Most of the strategies adopted within the period have a lead-time of one year. Thereafter, they are evaluated within this period to understand how they apply to the achievement of organizational plans (Jobber & Chadwick 2012).
Profitability Control. Profitability controls refer to the assessment of how marketing plans contribute to an organization’s profitability. Usually, those plans that do not yield tangible or monetary gains are dropped for those that do. Similarly, those that have little profitability gains are improved to yield better gains.
Efficiency Control. Efficiency controls refer to how effective marketing plans are, relative to the resources used to implement them. Those that do not have a proper resource-reward balance are often redesigned to be more effective (Kotler & Armstrong 2013). For example, many companies today use social media as an inexpensive marketing platform compared to traditional marketing modes, such as television and print media.
Strategic Control. The strategic control of marketing plans largely refers to how well they fit within the wider organizational plan. At times, some marketing plans may be formulated with the good intentions of promoting organizational success, but during the implementation phase, they deviate from this goal. Marketing plans that have such distortions are often controlled for more desired results.
The Role and Responsibilities of a Marketing Manager
Marketing managers have many responsibilities. The scope of their work and the nature of their responsibilities depend on the kind of business they are engaged in. Although different researchers highlight a plethora of roles and responsibilities for this group of professionals (Ferrell et al. 2014), for purposes of this paper, four roles and responsibilities are identified.
One of the key roles and responsibilities of a marketing manager is to undertake proper market research (Groucutt & Hopkins 2015). This task is important in providing feedback to the research and development team, which would use the information for purposes of developing better and more superior products and services for consumers.
The role of the marketing department is also to make sure the brand promoted has a unique name and image in the minds of its customers. Part of the role of the marketing manager may be to develop advertising campaigns that have a unique theme, which accentuates the targeted brand (Hill 2012).
Pricing the Product
The role of the marketing manager also includes developing a workable pricing strategy for a company’s products. The responsibility of the marketing manager is to figure out the best pricing plan that would be acceptable to the target market as well as management.
The marketing manager is also supposed to figure out the best distribution strategy for a company’s products and services. Here, distribution refers to the modes or infrastructure, which customers would use to access products or services.
How Marketing Influences and Interrelates With Other Functional Departments of the Organization?
Marketing is not an isolated concept of organizational operations. It has a strong connection with other aspects of a business, including research and development (R&D), production, and purchasing.
Marketing + R&D
Marketing and R&D share a close relationship because the concept could help R&D personnel to know what to look for, or what they should be striving to achieve in the processes of carrying out their duties. Its importance also stretches to the implementation phase of R&D processes because evidence exists of marketing personnel being integral players in the implementation of R&D goals (Spark 2014). The role of marketing in R&D stems from the fact that marketers could give R&D personnel important information, such as unique product features, that they would incorporate in their conception of the final product.
Marketing + Production
Different researchers, including McDonald and Wilson (2011), highlight the link between marketing and operations management or production. They say that the concept is synonymously associated with proper research, as companies strive to meet current and future market needs (McDonald & Wilson 2011). This is the case for Apple because it has invested many resources in developing newer products and services that would appeal to the modern consumer. Based on this mantra, the organization always strives to produce products and services that conform to their customers’ expectations. At the same time, the volume of product generated in the business is adequate to meet the time or schedule of production stipulated by the company’s management.
Marketing + Purchasing
Marketing decisions are often interlinked with purchasing decisions because both concepts represent two ends of one continuum. On one end of it, there is the marketing concept, which dictates or defines market characteristics; on the other end is the purchasing process, which is supposed to meet these needs by supplying the inputs needed to mirror the information received from the market. Evidence of the link between marketing and purchasing decisions has been highlighted at CNC Japan, where marketing concepts have been instrumental in guiding the company’s purchasing process (Spark 2014). The company’s managers have also admitted that without incorporating the marketing concept in such processes, it becomes difficult to understand how the purchasing process should work in the first place (because decisions relating to it could be misguided) (Spark 2014).
The Value and Importance of the Marketing Role
Traditionally, the 4Ps of marketing has defined the field. However, because marketing is an evolving discipline, some theorists have found it more practical to expand the scope of the concept to include three more. In sum, they argue that marketing is comprised of the 7Ps as opposed to the 4Ps. The three additional Ps are people, processes, and physical evidence. These three Ps combine with the four initial ones that included product, place, price, and promotion to form the 7Ps of marketing. This section of the paper explains how Google and Apple have applied the 7Ps of marketing to achieve different levels of success.
Google’s product strategy has been hinged on making multiple products that appeal to the same user base. The goal of doing so has been to realize the maximum probability of success during new product launches (Spark 2014). For example, at one point, Google had four instant messaging services, including Google Messenger, Google Talk, Messaging (based on the Android platform), and Google Voice. Through the launch of the multiple product strategies, the company has gathered enough information that would allow it to focus on only one platform.
Comparatively, Apple’s products have been designed to redefine how people interact with technology. This attribute has been partly informed by the company’s mission, which highlights the importance of influencing how people interact with technology (Spark 2014). Apple’s key objective has been to make revolutionary products. This strategy explains why its product line is comprised of “revolutionary” gadgets, such as the iPod, iTunes, and iPad. Most of these products did not exist before they were made and were meant to serve functions that were previously untapped in the market.
Google, being an online business, has adopted a place strategy akin to its nature of business – virtual operations. In other words, the company (largely) relies on the internet to market its products. Apple has a similar place strategy because it also has a virtual marketplace strategy where customers simply make purchases and have products delivered to them. However, the organization also has a brick-and-mortar business, which allows customers to enter physical locations and buy products (Spark 2014).
Google has a diverse pricing strategy that is hinged on the application of different models, such as the Freemium, market-oriented, penetration, and value-based pricing strategies. The type of marketing strategy to use largely depends on the type of product in question. Comparatively, Apple has one pricing strategy – premium pricing – because its business model is not meant to appeal to the low-end markets (Spark 2014).
Globally, Google is a household name. Therefore, it spends little resources on its promotion strategy. This approach leaves it with adequate resources and time to focus on other aspects of its business, such as research and development. The same is true for Apple because it also allocates minimum resources to its promotion strategy. This plan is partly informed by the fact that the organization is also a household name in the technology industry.
Google uses the e-commerce model to deliver its products to its customers. Within this platform, the company allows users to access its products or services after using them for a while. Comparatively, Apple uses a multipronged process strategy for its marketing plan, which includes both traditional advertising and virtual marketing (Spark 2014).
Since Google is a virtual company, the physical evidence of the company’s products and services is indirectly seen. However, the company’s products are commonly realized online, as the basic platform where consumers use the company’s products. Apple’s consumers have the option of visiting physical stores where they can experience the company’s products or services (Spark 2014).
People are at the center of Google’s operations. The company has been regarded as one of the most progressive organizations in terms of creating a conducive work environment for its workers (Spark 2014). This attribute of marketing has helped it to attract the best talents in the business, thereby contributing to its success. The same is true for Apple because the company lays a lot of emphasis on nurturing its employees to be the best in the market. It has a vibrant sales team that comes up with innovative products that appeal to its target market.
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