The word marketing means different things to different people. A salesman understands by marketing his selling activities of oral presentation with a view to effectuate the exchange of money for the benefits offered by his product. To an advertising man, It means advertising media selection and a host of actively related to the advertising function. However, advertising Is much more than these activities and along with the work of the salesmen no doubt constitute part of the selling effort.
High sounding definitions have been advanced for marketing such as "the delivery of a standard of living to society'. A factual or descriptive definition Is provided by the American Marketing Association which defines marketing as "the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user. " However, these definitions are both incomplete. For example, the American Marketing Association's definition is still "production-oriented" as it starts with a product and talks about Its flow from the producer to the consumer.
Marketing thinking must start even before there is a product. It is concerned with identifying existing needs and then converting them into a product or service. Besides, even after the product has reached the consumer or user, the marketing effort does not necessarily come to an end. There is a question of follow-through to ensure that the customer gets maximum satisfaction out of his purchase. In case of some products, after-sales service Is essential to keep the consumer satisfied and eager to buy again later from the same company.
Besides, all these activities must result in profit or a difference between the output and input, I. E. , a surplus. Again, In the Indian context, It Is very essential that the efforts must be most productive and that an optimum use Is made of the resources available to the organization. Thus marketing can be defined as- "the process of ascertaining consumer needs, converting them into a product or service, and then moving the product or service to the final consumer or user to satisfy such needs and wants of specific customer segment or segments with emphasis on profitably ensuring the optimum use of the
It will thus be noticed that marketing thinking must start with a crystallization of the needs of the consumer segment at which the effort will ultimately be aimed. In terms of the needs, the product or service must be developed or improved so that ultimately the product satisfies such needs of the customer segments involved. The goods have to be moved towards the consumers. This is where the function of distribution enters the arena. Whilst performing all these mental exercises, the marketing man must be ever conscious of the profitability of the overall operations. The word profitability has in cent years assumed an unhappy image.
Without debating on this aspect, it is obvious that the resources available to an organization are necessarily limited and in any case can be used in other activities. Therefore it is in the organizations and the national interest to ensure that an optimum use is made of such resources. If one emphasizes this aspect of marketing, it becomes clear that marketing is important not only for business undertakings but also for non-profit organizations such as hospitals, museums, etc. All these organizations have resources which must be used in an optimum manner and wastage avoided.