I recently looked over the maturation and development of marketing philosophies. The most current philosophy is called the marketing concept. It assumes that for a company to be successful, it must determine the needs and wants of specific target markets. With this information the company aims to satisfy the customer better than the competition. The main objective for marketers that follow the marketing concept is to make a profit through customer satisfaction.
I reread that statement and thought about it. I like the ideal. It makes sense to me. It’s about good business. Give the customer something that will benefit them at a fair price. But how many marketers do you know that are truly looking to a make profit through customer satisfaction? Is the ideal of the marketing concept too good for human nature? At the end of the day are companies seeking to make a profit any way they can at the insistence of their shareholders?
What companies are the most respected companies by consumers? Are these the companies that rank the highest on the J.D. Power and Associates consumer surveys? I’d like to think that many of the companies at the top of consumer survey rankings are there because they truly do look to make profits through customer satisfaction. It’s a mindset that must be weaved into the culture of the business and must be accepted and encouraged by top management and shareholders.
It’s helpful to look at some of the other philosophies and theories to gain a perspective on the marketing concept. Here’s a look at the other theories:
The Production Concept
Assumes that consumers are most interested in products at low prices. The marketing objective of the production concept is low cost production, mass distribution, and market share. This philosophy was most prevalent from the industrial revolution to the 1920’s.
The Product Concept
Assumes that consumers are most interested in products with high quality, performance, and features. In other words, they look for the product that provides the most utility to them. The marketing objectives are to improve the quality of the product and to add additional features. This type of philosophy tends to result in marketing myopia because innovation for new products ceases to exist. Companies that use this philosophy are looking for niche audiences that value the utility of their product.
The Selling Concept
This philosophy first became prevalent in the 1930’s as competition in mass production was increasing. Companies needed sales to keep up with capability of the manufacturing process. The selling concept assumes that consumers are not likely to purchase a product unless they are aggressively persuaded to do so. The marketing objectives in this model are to sell, sell, and then sell some more. This model does not actively consider customer needs and satisfaction or at least not as a primary concern. The marketer is focused on selling the product any way they can.
So where are we today? Is the marketing concept widely used? Or are many companies still using the selling concept?Are you a marketer? If so, what’s the motive behind the strategies and tactics you use to put products in front of customers?