What is the marketing concept? Explain the importance of customer orientation and use examples of your choice to discuss companies who have successfully adopted a customer orientation.Marketing could be described as an ‘all embracing function that links the company with customer tastes’ (as in a-z of business studies, third edition, by D. Lines, I. Marcouse & B.

Martin, page 171). The concept of marketing focuses on getting the right product, to the right place, at the right time.Marketing has to deal with decisions based on these factors through their findings in market research and through the marketing mix. The marketing mix (often referred to as ‘The four p’s’) deals with the afore mentioned areas as well as focusing on ‘promotion’. It is easy to get the idea that each ‘p’ is as important as the rest, as this is the view in most textbooks, however many marketing organisations would not agree with this, as many of them feel the single most important factor in the marketing mix is ‘Product’.The argument for this is that, the product itself is the main focus of the customer and as such, a customer-orientated organisation would need to focus more on the product rather than the other areas of the marketing mix. The marketing mix details the general approach to marketing the ‘four p’s’ as follows..

.* Product* Price* Place* PromotionThis is generalised as this for simplicity as marketing encompasses all aspects of what the firm aims to do with the product. This idea of the marketing mix is to simplify the task of marketing, as this simplifies it for the purposes of other areas of the company, for example the board of directors. The problem of over simplifying the marketing concept can lead other areas of the organisation to reject marketing as an unnecessary part of the business, when in fact the marketing is often regarded as the central force behind the business (especially marketers themselves).

In my opinion, the implementation of a fifth ‘p’ would be greatly beneficial. The ‘p’ I have in mind is People. As with the other elements of the marketing mix this ‘p’ would not only focus on itself but will be integrated with the other elements to give a positive approach to customer orientation, which at the end of the day should be a major objective of the business, which helps to build, maintain or gain entry to the market. Marketers may not agree with me on this, as the idea for a product and the customer needs are found through market research, which is a separate function of marketing itself.

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However, I find that using the additional ‘p’ could give the organisation the competitive edge as not only are they carrying out market research, but they are also focusing on the customer in the marketing mix, giving a more positive customer orientated approach to their business. This should have an interesting effect on the market as long as other companies don’t catch on to the idea it could possibly give the business a competitive advantage. A company who is more customer orientated has the advantage of knowing what the customer want and giving it to them.The Marketing process can be illustrated as a diagram referred to as the Marketing Model.

This is a framework used to make marketing decisions in a scientific manner. It is derived from F.W Taylor’s method of basing decisions on scientifically gathered research evidence.

The five stages can be shown as this diagram:Corporate objectives1) Marketing objectives2) Gather data5) Control/review3) FormHypothesis4) Test options1) The first stage of the marketing decision making process is to establish the marketing objective based on the companies objectives.2) Gathering of data. This requires the collection of quantitative and qualitative data about the market size, competitive structure, distribution pattern & consumer attitudes.3) Form hypothesis. This requires the forming of theories about which are the best way to achieve the objective.

4) Test the hypothesis. This may be done solely through market research or more thoroughly, by test marketing new product ideas. After the results have been evaluated, a decision can be made about which is the best course of action to follow.5) Control and review. This deals with the implementation of the methods and the controlling of them. The means of implementing the methods will be via the marketing mix.

The effectiveness of the distribution, pricing or promotion policies, must be controlled, with careful conclusions drawn from the success or failure of the project.This theory can be proved to a certain extent as it allows the formation of theories which if cannot be proven can be scrapped and re-thought to fit the objective set out in number 1). It does not have any distinct flaws except that it is very vague and the notes given with the model in the textbook lacked any real insight into the implementation of the theory. Organisations use this process in their marketing activities but most would not recognise the direct involvement of this theory and simply put it down to ‘the way marketing is done’.Through the marketing mix and the marketing model, marketers can customise their approach to the market by basing themselves on the needs of the customer. This leads the company to be referred to as customer orientated. In a modern market it is suggested that every organisation is customer orientated, whereas in the past it was suggested that organisations were product orientated. Companies realised that if the product doesn’t satisfy the customers needs then the customer isn’t going to buy it, and when they realised this the principle of customer orientation was evolved.

Marketing as a whole has to be very aware of the customer needs and requirements. The marketing department of the firm has to ensure that it doesn’t suffer marketing myopia. This is an approach that does not recognise the need for customer orientation.

The phrase was developed by Theodore Levitt. He suggested that too many firms see marketing as a tool for selling their products. He suggested that instead of this the company should ‘take his cue from the buyer in such a way that the product becomes a consequences of the marketing effort, not vice versa’. His model of ‘good practice’ also suggested that to build an effective customer-orientated, the organisation can’t just use ‘good intentions or promotional tricks’ it involves ‘profound matters of human organisation and leadership’.Customer orientation cannot be obsolete as there has to be some focus on the elements of the marketing mix, such as product. The focus on the customer has to be the main focus of the business due to factors such as competition from others as they may meet the customer needs more effectively and could lead to a shift in the demand for their product thus effecting the profitability of your product. Customer orientation is linked to product orientation as the product has to meet the customers’ specifications.

Many companies strive to be customer orientated and to provide the customers with the product, where and when they want it, and to their specifications. There are many benefits to the company if they strive to succeed in customer orientation. Some of these can include things such as customer loyalty, leading to a higher chance of further purchases. Another benefit is customer satisfaction, which is can also lead on to customer loyalty.There are many examples of companies, which aim to be customer orientated. Some of the companies succeed and their customer satisfaction is extremely increased as the customer now has what they want, where from and at a good price (possibly due to a promotion of some sort).

However, on the other hand there are many companies that fail to be customer orientated no matter how hard they try, usually these companies tend to only have a few product that meet customer needs or are simply hanging on to the success of a rival product rather than of introducing a new product and making it successful itself.I have selected two organisations to illustrate my point about customer orientation in the market place. The first example, which I found, was Great Universal, which is a catalogue. The catalogue itself plays a large part in customer orientation as it shows the customer the range of products available as well as the option to spread the cost of the products over, up to one hundred weeks, thus meeting the needs of the customer by providing easy viewing of the products (with specifications) as well as the option to pay for the product over a long time on expensive items. Great Universal is also very conscious about their customer needs and customer satisfaction.

They regularly check. These courtesy calls assure the customer is being looked after and so installs confidence in them.The other company, which I have studied, is W.M Morrison’s supermarkets plc, more specifically their Gainsborough store.

The store at present tends to be more focused on the appearance of the store to the area manager and other senior officials. I have had experience of this first hand as I recently was a manager on the fish counter there. Morrison’s itself claim to be customer orientated by providing ‘the best for less’. There is no problem with the way the store runs but more focus on areas such as impressing company officials leads to the customer feeling like they are not really appreciated by the store.

As such the sales of the Gainsborough store have dramatically fallen as a direct consequence of a lack in customer orientation. The fact is a lack of motivation in staff, is the main reason why customers do not enjoy shopping at the store but the senior store management seem to be more interested in presentation to company officials. However a situation like this does not help meet the company objective of being customer orientated and so as such it could be seen that the Marketing department has failed in its objective (at this store at least).