Marketing Creates Value for Customers
According to the influential economist and Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt, the purpose of all business is to “find and keep customers.” Marketing is instrumental to helping businesses achieve this purpose. It’s a way of thinking about business, rather than just a collection of techniques. It’s much more than just advertising and selling stuff and collecting money. Marketing generates value by creating the connections between people and products, customers and companies.
How does this happen? Boiled down to its essence, the role of marketing is to identify, satisfy, and retain customers.
Before you can create anything of value, first you must identify a want or need that you can address, as well as the prospective customers who possess this want or need.
Next, you work to satisfy these customers by delivering a product or service that addresses these needs at the time customers want it. Key to customer satisfaction is making sure everyone feels they benefit from the exchange. Your customer is happy with the value they get for what they pay. You are happy with the payment you receive in exchange for what you provide.
Effective marketing doesn’t stop there. It also needs to retain customers by creating new opportunities to win customer loyalty and business.
As you will learn in this course, marketing encompasses a variety of activities focused on accomplishing these objectives. How companies approach and conduct day-to-day marketing activities varies widely. For many large, highly visible companies, such as Disney-ABC, Proctor & Gamble, Sony, and Toyota, marketing represents a major expenditure. Such companies rely on effective marketing for business success, and this dependence is reflected in their organizational strategies, budget, and operations. Conversely, for other organizations, particularly those in highly regulated or less competitive industries such as utilities, social services, medical care, or businesses providing one-of-a-kind products, marketing may be much less visible. It could even be as simple as a Web site or an informational brochure.
There is no one model that guarantees marketing success. Effective marketing may be very expensive, or it may cost next to nothing. What marketing must do in all cases is to help the organization identify, satisfy, and retain customers. Regardless of size or complexity, a marketing program is worth the costs only if it facilitates the organization’s ability to reach its goals.