The wider side of the marketing function within businesses is that, in principle, the needs and wants of people and organisations need to be satisfied through the provision of products and services. How can we identify, anticipate and satisfy the needs and wants of customers whilst making a just profit?*
With the limitations of our market and the small size of Malta, vision, experience and a hands-on approach very often serve as good tools for local entrepreneurs to obtain a good intuition about the profile of their customer. Using a marketing mind-set can give further insight and a deeper knowledge about customers’ expectations and market trends, among other things. The marketing route gives direction to businesses for strategic planning, to increase sales, market share and making more effective use of resources. It is also in the organisation’s interest to increase goodwill and hence the value of the business itself. The corporate identity, image and reputation, brand name and value of brands can be built through the implementation of a marketing plan, with activity designed to reach the organisation’s objectives using its style and demonstrating its values.
Products and services are inanimate but are given life and personality through the choice of name, packaging, how they are presented and displayed. Marketing is also about communication and engagement. The means of communication would be a mix of those media which would reach the desired audience effectively. A good promotional and communications plan is key for products and services to make a success on the market.
In the day-to-day running of a business, leaders very often focus on the products and services and how/where these are going to be sold. Of course, this is the right thing to do and also important because sales are the source of revenue, however, that same revenue comes from what customers buy. For this reason, the focus on customers and clients is vital in the day-to-day operations of an organisation, because they are contributors to its turnover.
Consequently, marketing is essential for identifying the market segments to whom the products and services are targeted. Finding creative ways to engage customers and building a strong relationship with the identified segments are also effective ways for the products and services to become commercially successful. Understanding the value that customers give to products and services provides insight into what price tag to put on them. It also pays for organisations to identify as many stakeholders as possible and build strong bonds with them. In addition, knowing the organisations’ stakeholders will give direction towards the choice of causes for Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. A good corporate image and reputation create both customer engagement and value to the business.
A marketing mind-set, a wider and deeper insight about the market, and utilising marketing tools can make a difference in achieving more positive business results.
*Adapted from the official academic definition of The Chartered Institute of Marketing.