Marketing Orientation: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Susan Fenner

Susan has an MBA in Management from the University of North Alabama. She teaches online and campus-based Business courses.

What do you think of when you hear the term 'marketing?' Many people think that marketing is just another way of saying 'advertising.' But, as we will learn, advertising is just one facet of marketing. Let's take a look at the bigger picture and explore some examples of marketing.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is the name given to a collection of business activities that are used to make potential customers aware of an organization and the benefits of its products or services to the public. It includes the planning, pricing, packaging, and promoting of goods or services. In order to be successful, a marketing campaign must communicate the value offered to consumers over and above the value offered by the competition. But, where do we start?

Examples of Marketing Activities -- The Four Ps

In 1960, Michigan State University professor Dr. E. Jerome McCarthy published Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. In his book, McCarthy proposed a system known as the Four Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. This marketing mix model can help you decide how to start a new business, or how to launch a new product or service from an existing business. By systematically evaluating each of the four areas, and answering key questions, you will be on your way to launching a successful marketing campaign.

Product Strategy

If you want your business to succeed, you are going to have to do your homework! You should begin by carefully researching and identifying peoples' unfulfilled needs and wants. You may have plans to offer the public the world's best square basketball, skillfully crafted from the finest leather, but if nobody needs or wants a square basketball, your business is doomed to fail.

After you have conducted your research and settled on a product or service to offer to the public, you will need to make strategic decisions regarding the product. What will be your brand name? What image do you want your product to present? How will you make your product stand out from the competition? What will your packaging look like? What kind of warranty will you offer? All of these important business decisions fall under the umbrella of 'marketing.'

Pricing Strategy

Pricing is another important part of marketing. Obviously, you are in business to make a profit, and your goods must be priced to generate a profit, but there is more than one way to go about it. What will be the suggested retail price for your products or services? Will you give volume discounts? How will your prices compare with your competition?

You might opt to compete on the basis of price, attracting a large share of the market because you offer the lowest prices in town. Wal-Mart's 'Everyday Low Prices' strategy is a good example of the high-volume approach. Or you might decide to compete on the basis of quality, offering better construction, or service, or perhaps an image of prestige, such as the valuable Rolex brand. In that case, you will sell fewer units, but you will reap a greater profit on each unit sold.

Promotion Strategy

There are many ways to promote your brand to the public in order to attract new customers and retain existing ones. One obvious strategy is advertising. This can include traditional means such as television and radio ads, magazine ads, direct mailings, and phone books. It can also include social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Other creative ways to make your product known to the public are contests, product giveaways, branded promotional gifts, customer appreciation events, charity sponsorship, and even airplane banners. When it comes to clever ways to market your business, the sky is truly the limit!

Place Strategy

McCarthy's final category is also known as Distribution Strategy. It outlines the how and where you will place your products in order to reach your customers and efficiently transfer goods and services to them. Will you sell directly to the public or will you distribute your merchandise through wholesalers and retailers? Will your business have a Web site, and, if so, will customers be able to place their orders online? Or will you set up a bricks and mortar location and let the customer come to you? Will you ship the merchandise to your customers using the Postal Service or perhaps UPS? What about international customers? All of these decisions and activities concerning the logistics of transferring merchandise or services to the customers are examples of marketing.

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