Today, we shall be discussing about the basic concepts underlying marketing and we shall be looking at a number of issues below.
The most basic concept underlying marketing is that of human needs. Human needs are states of felt deprivation. These needs include basic physical needs for food, clothing, shelter and safety; social needs for belonging and affection; and individual needs for knowledge and self-expression.
The needs are in-built in human nature itself. It is not invented by marketers. That is, they naturally exist in the composition of human biology and human condition. When the needs are not satisfied, a person will try to reduce the need or look for an object that will satisfy it.
Human wants are desires for specific satisfaction of deeper needs. For example, a man in the village need rain, need food and wants fertilizer. Also, a man may want yam, rice, body cream, a bag, a wrist-watch, etc. -but needs money.
Human needs may be few, but wants are numerous. These wants are continually shaped and reshaped by social forces and institutions such as families, church, schools and business corporations.
Marketers don’t create needs, needs pre-exist in markets. Marketers along with other inferential in the society, influence wants. They suggest and inform consumers about certain products and persuade them to purchase, stressing on the benefits of such products.
People have almost unlimited wants, but limited resources. The want to choose products that provide the most value and satisfaction for their money. When backed by purchasing power, wants become demands.
That is, demands are wants for specific products that are backed up by an ability and willingness to buy them.
For example, many desire a car such as Mercedes Benz, Toyota, BMW, Honda etc., but only a few are really willing and able to buy one. It is therefore important for marketing executives to measure not only how many people want their company’s products, but also measure how many of them would actually be willing and able to buy them.
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People, normally, satisfy their wants and need with products offered on the market. Broadly, a product can be defined as anything that can be offered to someone to satisfy a need or want.
Specifically, a product can be defined as an object, service, activity, person, place, organization or idea. It should be noted that people do not buy physical objects for their own sake.
For examples, a lipstick is bought to supply service-aid looking good (beauty); toothpaste for whiter teeth – prevent germs; aid fresh breath or sex appeal. The marketer’s job is to sell the service packages built into physical products.
If one critically looks at physical products, one realizes that their importance depend, not so much in owning them, as in using them to satisfy our wants. For example, we do not buy a bed just to admire it, but because it aids resting better.
Marketing takes place when people decide to satisfy needs and wants through exchange. Exchange is, therefore, the act of obtaining a desired object from someone by offering something in return.
Exchange is only one of the many ways people can obtain a desired object. For example, hungry people can find food by hunting, fishing or gathering fruits. They could offer money, another food or a service in return for food. Marketing focuses on this last option.
As a means of satisfying needs, exchange has much in its favor, people do not have to depend on others, nor must they possess the skills to produce every necessity for them.
They can concentrate on making things they are good at making and trade the needed items made by others. Thus, exchange allows a society to produce much more than it would.
However, Kotler (1984) states that for exchange to take place, they must satisfy five conditions, namely:
- There must be, at least, two parties.
- Each party has something that may be of value to the other party.
- Each party is capable of communication and delivery
- Each party is free to accept or reject the offer; and
- Each party believes it is appropriate or desirable to deal with the other party.
These five conditions make exchange possible. Whether exchange actually takes place, however, depends on the parties coming to an agreement. If they agree, it is often concluded that the act of exchange has left both of them better off, or at least not worse off.
Hence, exchange creates value, just as production creates value. It gives people more consumption possibilities.
A market is defined as a set of all actual and potential buyers of a product and service. These buyers share particular needs or wants that can be satisfied through exchange.
The size of a market depends on the need of people with common needs, and who have resources to engage in exchange, and are willing to offer these resources in exchange for what they want.
To the African, the word ‘market’, almost invariably, means the market place where buyers and sellers gather to exchange their goods- whether it is a period market as in the rural areas or daily market, mostly found in the urban areas.
However, economists often use the term to refer to a collection of buyers and sellers who transact in a particular product class, such as the clothing market, electronic market, cattle market, etc.
A marketer is someone seeking a resource from someone else, and willing to offer something of value in exchange. A marketer could be a buyer and/or a seller.
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