What is the purpose of doing a business? One common and logical answer is, PROFIT and this answer is not wrong by any means. When we think about business, the first thing comes in our mind is profit, but does that mean it is that easy to start a business and profits will follow? No, it doesn’t work that way, at least not in this era.
There was a time when people would start selling anything, and that actually worked for them. But things have changed drastically now. You just cannot sell your products just like that because of the utterly challenging market. People now have hundreds of options to buy from. So, how can you sell your product? This is where marketing comes in.
Marketing literally has different definitions, but the basic theme is the same. In simplest terms, you can define marketing as understanding the consumer needs even if they cannot describe them properly and then fulfilling those needs or even exceeding their expectations.
Marketing doesn’t mean selling your products and then say “good bye” to your customers. It is not a one-sided relation. In fact, your relation with your customers starts when they buy your product.
What are the 12 Functions of Marketing
To get a better understanding of the marketing process, let’s have a look at 12 functions of marketing.
- Identifying Customer Needs and Wants
- Marketing Information Management
- Developing Marketing Plans
- Product Development
- Branding, Packaging & Labeling
- Customer Support
Identifying Customer Needs and Wants
The marketing process starts with the identification and evaluation of customers’ needs. Customer is the ultimate ingredient around whom every business revolves. Therefore, a business must know what their potential customers want and then make a product/service that will meet their expectations.
Marketing Information Management
The next question is how to evaluate what a customer wants? For this, a business needs to conduct market research. Research should include important questions that can extract the desired information from customers, such as what they want? What price can they afford to pay? How much and how often they can buy that product/service? etc. After collecting information, a business processes this information according to its needs and objectives.
Developing Marketing Plans
After getting all important information from market research and processing it, the next step in the marketing process is to develop a business plan to achieve business objectives. For instance, a business needs to plan how much production they should do and how much it can manage? How will the business distribute its products? What methods will be used to promote the product? Will the business prefer credit-sales or cash sales? What price will suit the customers and the business? Etc. These matters are decided before taking further steps.
Now, a business can facilitate customers either through a product or a service. A business selects a specific category and then offers its services or products to satisfy the targeted customers. Market research decides how and what kind of product will suit the customers’ needs.
Product development includes further steps, such as making a user-friendly product. i.e., it should be easy to use or handle. Also, it should be durable, and its price should justify its benefits. Product development is not a one-time activity. Rather, it is an ongoing process because it needs continuous improvement through customer feedback.
Branding, Packaging & Labeling
Branding is a very important element in making a successful product or service. It separates your product or service from a cluster of similar products/services. It won’t be wrong to say that a brand itself communicates everything to customers.
Packaging means how safely you will get your product or service to your customer? It includes protecting a product from external and internal environmental factors such as spoilage, breakage, or damage to the goods.
Labeling is simply the way you present your product to your customer. It includes designing the product label in such a way that your targeted customer can easily identify it. Moreover, labeling includes giving necessary information about your product to your customer.
Pricing is one of the most important and tricky functions of the marketing process. It is because one wrong move can prove to be disastrous. Setting a high price may reduce product demand, and a low price can cause losses.
Proper market research is compulsory before setting a price for any product. Pricing is based on different factors such as cost of production, market condition, customer’s purchasing power, competitor’s price, profit margin, etc. Moreover, it is important to understand that a regular fluctuation in product price is not good for the company’s revenue.
Grading and Standardization
Grading means the classification of products on the basis of their characteristics, such as product quality, quantity, and size. it makes things easier for customers because a product is already classified because of its characteristics.
Standardization means setting a benchmark for a product regarding its color, size, weight, design, quality, quantity, etc. and ensures uniformity in product production. A properly standardized product always attracts customers, and it reduces the overall cost as well.
Creating a product and making it available in stores or franchises is one thing. But, “informing” your targeted customers about your product is equally important. This is where product promotion comes in. A business has to educate its targeted customers about product characteristics, availability, price, and other necessary information.
A business can promote its product through advertisement, events sponsorship, sales promotion, personal selling, etc. In short, the potential customer must have sufficient information about the product.
Distribution means making your product or service available to your targeted customer. Even if your product is user-friendly, very beneficial, perfectly designed, and cost-friendly, it will be useless if you fail to make your product easily available to your customers.
The distribution also includes considering other important factors such as order processing, inventory, distribution channels, etc. Distribution ensures that a product gets to its targeted customer at the right time and place.
It is impossible to manufacture goods and sell all of them on the same day. Manufacturing or trading businesses need warehouses where they can keep their inventory until it is ready for sale. Also, the warehouse ensures that produced goods are safe from the external environment.
Not only this, but warehousing is also crucial to maintain price stability. That said, without warehousing, every manufactured unit will be sent to stores, and supply will exceed the demand resulting in price fall. Or if the demand exceeds supply, prices will shoot up. Therefore, warehousing ensures that the right quantity is available at stores all the time.
Generally, production or manufacturing units are installed away from populated areas, and the products must be made available at stores. Also, some products are manufactured in one place and assembled at another. A business solves these problems through transportation channels.
In simpler terms, transportation means the movement of goods from production/manufacturing units to end consumers. It is a bridge between a product and its customers. A strong transportation system ensures the timely delivery of products.
As mentioned earlier, the business-customer relationship doesn’t end when a business sells its product to the customer. In fact, it starts when the customer buys the product. Customer support is a way of connecting customers to the business and a great way to get feedback from the customer.
They say the customer is the real king, and it is impossible to justify this narrative without customer support. Customer support includes after-sales services such as credit facilities, technical support, maintenance services, customer helpline, etc. in short, customer support ensures customer satisfaction throughout the product lifecycle.
Functions of marketing are not only limited to the above 12 function. But hopefully this article will give you better of the topic.