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Generally, marketing is understood as a means to sell and purchase goods and services but it is too narrow a view to understanding it so. The term ‘marketing’ is much broader in nature and scope. It is not limited only to the needs, sale or purchase of goods and services. It means the whole process of satisfying the needs of consumers. It starts with the discovery of the needs and wants of the consumers, and it continues till the wants are satisfied and the customers are delighted.
Marketing is not only about providing services or products but also about providing benefits to the changing needs and demands of the customers. Marketing is thus the total of all the activities and processes including creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
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 Prof. Malcolm McNair, “Marketing is the creation and delivery of standard of living to the society”.
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 organisational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organisation and its stakeholders.”
The Nature and Scope of Marketing are given below:
Nature of Marketing
The nature of marketing is as follows:
1) Marketing is an Integrated Process: Trade is not a single activity. It is rather a coordination of many interrelated activities. The interaction between different activities gives a unique character to marketing. Marketing is a managerial process in so far as it involves planning and control functions. Marketing is also a social process as it is concerned with the satisfaction of human needs and this is one of the most important characteristics of marketing.
2) Marketing is Customer Oriented: Marketing exists to identify and satisfy the wishes of present and potential consumers. The main focus of all marketing activities is the customer.
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3) Marketing is a System: Another important feature of marketing is its function as a system. Marketing is a system comprising several sub-systems. Under marketing, inputs are drawn from society and transformed into outputs that are supplied to society.
4) Marketing is Creative: Marketing creates time, possession and place utilities. Time utility is created by keeping goods for use in future. Place utility is created by carrying goods to places where they are required the most. Marketing creates possession utility by transferring services and products from producer to customer. The exchange process between buyer and seller is an important element of marketing.
5) Marketing is Goal Oriented: Of the many vital characteristics of marketing, one essential aspect is it is goal-oriented. Marketing seeks to achieve benefits, for buyers and sellers. It results in a mutually beneficial relationship by fulfilling the wants of customers and by generating revenues for customers.
6) Marketing is Pervasive: Marketing is needed in business as well as in social and other organisations. In other organisations, marketing is necessary for spreading socially useful ideas and programmes, adult education, family planning, communal harmony, environmental protection, national integration, etc. Such marketing is called social marketing.
7) Marketing in Science as well as Art: Marketing has evolved from economics but it has a closer relationship with social and behavioural sciences. Marketing is closely associated with streams of science and humanities and subject lines such as Economics, Law, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Information Technology, etc. Marketing heavily depends upon the demographic features of the target market, philosophy, political environment, mathematics, statistics, etc.
8) Exchange is the Essence of Marketing: Marketing revolves around the commercial exchange. This also involves the exchange of technology, exchange of information and exchange of ideas.
9) Marketing is a Continuous Process: Marketing is not an isolated, static process but is a complex, continuous and interrelated process. It involves continuous planning, implementation and control. It is a significant functional area of management.
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10) Selection of Target Markets: No marketer can satisfy everyone in the market. A marketer has to select target markets rather than a quixotic attempt to win every market and be all things to all people. Therefore, marketers start with market segmentation, choosing a target group(s), identifying target group needs and requirements and meeting these needs in a better way than the competitors through a suitable marketing mix.
The primary thrust of marketing is on coordinating activities that satisfy customers’ needs and fulfil the organisational goal. It has a broader scope because the activities are all-pervasive.
The scope of marketing can be explained with the following points:
1) Study of Consumer Needs and Wants: Goods are produced to satisfy consumer needs. Therefore the study is done to determine consumer needs and wants. These needs and wants motivate the consumer to purchase.
2) Study of Consumer Behaviour: Marketers perform a study of consumer behaviour. Analysis of buyer behaviour helps marketers in targeting the market and also in market segmentation.
3) Production Planning and Development: It starts with the generation of a product idea and ends with product development and commercialisation. Product planning includes packaging and branding to product line contraction and expansion.
4) Pricing Policies: Marketer has to determine pricing policies for their products and services. Pricing policies differ from product to product. It depends on the product life cycle, level of competition, marketing goals and objectives, etc.
5) Distribution: Study of distribution channels is essential in marketing. For maximum profit and sales, goods are needed to be distributed to the ultimate consumers at minimum cost.
6) Promotion: It includes sales promotion, personal selling, and advertising. The right promotion mix is important in the accomplishment of marketing goals.
7) Consumer Satisfaction: The product or service offered must satisfy the consumer. Consumer satisfaction is the main purpose of marketing.
8) Company Analysis: In company analysis, the marketers highlight the cost structure and the constrained resources of the company to the competitors. Marketing managers can work with the accounting department to analyse the profit that the firm is generating from various offerings and different groups of customers. A brand audit can also be done to know the strengths of the different brands offered in the market.
9) Competitor Analysis: This is done to build a detailed profile of each player operating in the related field. Marketing managers analyse the competitors’ cost structure, sources of profits and resources, competencies, product positioning and product differentiation to ascertain the relative strengths and weaknesses of the players operating in the market.
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