Let’s examine our definition of marketing in a little more detail by looking at the key terms.
Strategies and Tactics
Strategies are best explained as the direction the marketing effort takes over some period of time while tactics are actionable steps or decisions made in order to follow the strategies established. For instance, if a company’s strategy is to begin selling its products in a new country, the tactics may involve the marketing decisions made to carry this out. Performing strategic and tactical planning activities in advance of taking action is considered critical for long-term marketing success.
Arguably the most important marketing function involves efforts needed to gain knowledge of customers, competitors, and markets (i.e., where marketers do business). We will see throughout this tutorial how marketing research is utilized in all decision areas.
Competition forces marketers to be creative people. When marketers begin new ventures, such as building a new company, it is often based around something that is new (e.g., a new product, a new way of getting products to customers, a new advertising approach, etc.). But once something new is launched innovation does not end. Competitive pressure is continually felt by the marketer, who must respond by again devising new strategies and tactics that help the organization remain successful. For marketers, no matter how successful, the cycle of continuous innovation never stops.
Today’s marketers work hard to ensure their customers return to purchase from them again and again. Long gone (see our discussion of the History of Marketing below) are the days when success for a marketer was measured simply in how many sales they made each day. Now, in most marketing situations, marketing success is evaluated not only in terms of sales figures but also by how long a marketer retains good customers. Consequently, marketers’ efforts to attract customers do not end when a customer makes a purchase. It continues in various ways for, hopefully, a long time after the initial purchase.
A key objective of marketing is to provide products and services that customers really want AND to make customers feel their contact with the marketer is helping build a good relationship between the two. In this way the customer becomes a partner in the transaction, not just a source of revenue for the marketer.
Value for Both Customer and Marketer
Value refers to the perception of benefits received for what someone must give up. For customers, value is most often measured by how much benefit they feel they are getting for their money, though the value one customer feels may differ from what another customer feels even though they purchase the same product. On the other side of the transaction, the marketer for a for-profit organization may measure value in terms of how much profit they make for the marketing efforts and resources expended. For a successful marketing effort to take place both the customer and the marketer must feel they are receiving something worth while in return for their efforts. Without a strong perception of value it is unlikely a strong relationship can be built. Throughout this tutorial we will emphasize value and show ways marketers build value into the products they offer.