Have you ever tried to read a book about marketing your business, only to toss it aside after a few pages because of the confusing terminology? I’ll admit that marketers sure enjoy playing with words, and it can sometimes feel like those words come from a different language. One of my aims with this blog is to help you understand the basics of marketing strategy and how it can grow your business. Let’s start with a quick primer on five marketing concepts and which one is most useful in achieving your goals.
List of Marketing Concepts
A marketing concept is an underlying way that a company views its marketing strategy. Although there are many different approaches to marketing, modern marketing strategy fits into five core marketing concepts. These marketing concepts are:
Most enterprises use one, or a mixture, of these core concepts to organize how they market themselves. Keep reading, because it’s not difficult to understand the basics of the big five ideas. Besides, you know that you’ll be proud of yourself when you can drop these concepts into your everyday conversation.
The production concept is the bedrock of traditional marketing, and you’ll find terrific examples of this type of marketing if you enjoy learning about the early days of mass-produced consumer goods in the United States. The fundamental idea behind the production concept is that the consumer wants well-made and inexpensive products.
Henry Ford, for example, embraced this view with the production of the Model T. His company mastered the art of using an efficient assembly line to mass produce the car. Each car that rolled off the Model T assembly line was virtually the same, so the automaker could afford to sell it at an affordable price to the average consumer. Ford drove demand for the Model T, and later models, by adjusting the rate to fit the market circumstances.
The product concept of marketing hinges on the belief that consumers want a high-quality product that contains lots of different features. Companies that use a product concept tend to value innovation and usability because they believe that they must continue to offer new and improved products to maintain consumer loyalty. Do you remember how Steve Jobs used to stand on a stage at the Apple headquarters each year to promote the latest amazing Apple product? Apple is an excellent example of focusing a market strategy on a series of innovative products and services.
Businesses that rely on the selling concept believe that they must aggressively sell and promote their products to stay in business. Instead of working on developing a long-term relationship with a customer, this type of marketing focuses on selling the product. Unlike the product approach, the selling concept focuses on current products with little regard for innovation. The proliferation of discount dollar stores are examples of this type of marketing in action.
A prevailing assumption in this type of marketing is that there is little consumer demand for the product. The overabundance of the product, as a byproduct of the low market, encourages the business to use a hard-sell approach with consumers that includes an expensive investment in mass marketing. The intense political campaigning that takes place in an election year is an outstanding example of this approach to marketing.
The marketing concept revolves around an understanding of the needs of the customer and centering organizational decisions at all levels with those needs in mind. Most marketing professionals agree that this is the most effective way to gain and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This user-centered approach to marketing means that customer needs and wants profoundly influence product design, and the corporate emphasis is on forming long-term relationships that go beyond specific products. A large majority of service-based small businesses use this approach.
Many businesses today use what’s called an agile approach to development where the needs of the user dominate every step of product design and development. Unlike former product development systems where marketing began after a product arrived, the marketing department is now intimately involved in making sure that the user is paramount throughout the flexible design and development approach.
How can your company benefit the long-term needs of society? That’s a question that the societal concept to marketing believes that you should consider. So, along with customer needs, this approach suggests that a business should also try and do what’s in the best interest of society. Concepts like corporate responsibility, earth-friendly manufacturing, and sustainable development flow into a societal idea of marketing.
One of the kudos of this type of marketing is that it can promote a solid sense of goodwill for you from your customers. The Body Shop, a cosmetics shop founded in 1976, is an example of how a societal focus can provide a compelling vision for a company’s marketing strategy. Indeed, by concentrating on social justice throughout their brand positioning, the Body Shop has created a robust public presence in the crowded cosmetics marketplace.
Which Concept is Most Effective?
My years of experience in creating effective marketing strategies convince me that the most useful concept for long-term growth is the marketing concept. You cannot go wrong if you do the hard work of getting to know your customers and forming a relationship with them. When you stop focusing on finding customers to buy your products and instead worry about meeting the needs of your clients, you can begin to establish a relationship with your customers that transcends products and instead builds your brand.
Now that you’ve met the five core concepts of marketing, you’re on your way to constructing an effective marketing strategy that will make your brand flourish. Future-thinking marketing gurus know that long-term success rests on your brand’s ability to maintain customer loyalty. The key to establishing a positive relationship with your customers is understanding their needs. Contact me to start a discussion about how a customer-centered marketing strategy will enhance your brand and set you up to seize future opportunities.