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My interpretation of the course learning outcomes


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MRK 106 FQ VALERI OPARYCHEV

CASE STUDY

SUBJECT: MY INTERPRETATION OF THE COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES

The purpose of this case study is to present a brief overview of the
marketing study outcomes and personal interpretation of the key points
of marketing theory covered in this course. The interpretation will be
aimed at emphasizing the practical importance of marketing today.

MARKETING: EVOLUTION AND PURPOSE

The idea of marketing must have existed for many centuries. Yet, at the
beginning it probably was not so sophisticated theory as it is today.
Because of the globalization and rapid development of information
technologies people, or market participants, have been urged to
systematize their market experience into a well-organized theory. In our
course of study the marketing has been defined by the term that sounds
more specific: «an approach to business focusing on satisfying customer
needs and wants». To serve its key purpose, the marketing strives to
find an answer to such questions as why customers do not or, conversely,
do readily buy products offered by the sellers, who the ideal buyers
are, and what should be done to have the buyers buy what the sellers
offer. In fact, the terms «buyers» and «sellers» are not absolutely
accurate as applied to marketing. To be more accurate, the marketing
approach implies that the business activities are centered on customer,
because the concept of business here means both profit and non-profit
organizations. So, the words «buy» and «products», or «services», can be
identified as the key terms reflecting the idea of marketing. It should
also be noted that the words «buy» and «services» represent a wide range
of services, non-profit activities, and behavior.

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING CONCEPT

The key points of marketing concept are customer satisfaction, profit,
and properly organized efforts to make profit through customer
satisfaction. At the same time, strategically, it is important to
understand that a business can be profitable, or successful, only if it
finds a way to satisfy customers better than its competitors. This
means, that today's business can attract customers only through
successful competition. Because of the highly competitive environment,
today it is not enough just to satisfy. The important thing is to be
better. In other words, if a business is unable to compete, it fails to
implement the key marketing ideas simply because such business will fail
to satisfy customers. Moreover, under the competitive environment it
becomes important not only to meet, but also to exceed the customers'
needs. In an organization, the role of marketing concept is more
profound: here the marketing concept implies that everyone's job is to
serve the customers directly, or to serve those who serve the customers.
For example, to contribute to profit through saving costs or, in other
words, to serve the internal customers. This idea is especially
important to emphasize in terms of the roles we may play in an

play in an
organization in our day-to-day life: we do not necessarily have to deal
with customers directly to contribute to the common goal of customer
satisfaction. But our roles in it can be significant without doing so.

COMPONENTS OF MARKETING STRATEGY AND THEIR IMPORTANCE

The key components here are target market (a group of customers to
satisfy) and product mix (product, price, place, and promotion). In real
life, these components boil down to the following objective all
businesses need to fulfill: to increase the number of customers so as to
increase sales. To achieve this goal, the marketing strategy should give
us tips on how to do that. In every particular situation we face in
day-to-day life we have to find answers to specific questions. For
example, to sell an accounting service like filing a personal income tax
return we would need to determine what has to be done to attract
customers (Product), what kind of office would be needed to deliver the
service (Place), how much it would cost and what price would be right
(Price), and what should be done to attract more customers (Promotion).
It is easy to see that this pattern would have to be followed in every
real-life situation. Even looking for a job we would have to be
concerned with where we can work (Place), what we can do (Product), at
what remuneration (Price), and how to attract employer's attention to be
employed (Promotion). And in every case we would look for specific
customers who need to have their income tax return filed and a specific
employer who employees specifically like we are (Target market). So, one
way or the other, the marketing strategy will work for our purpose. The
question is just how to identify its components in specific terms as
applied to every specific objective.

UNCONTROLLABLE ENVIRONMENTS AFFECTING MARKETING DECISIONS BOTH
DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY

Unlike the 4P’s of marketing that can be controlled by us, some
environments are uncontrollable by nature, because we just have no
chance to influence them. They may include, for example, cultural,
economic, legal, political, technological, and social environments. This
should not mean, however, that we should let them control us without any
response. To succeed, businesses have to re-adjust themselves and find
the best ways to work in them. The important point is that we need not
only identify them, but also try to see if there are new opportunities.
For example, the changing demographics inside our country should make us
look around to see how to readjust our products and services to
different tastes and preferences. Internationally, we should always be
aware of tariffs and quotas and estimate our competitive potential.
Watching the changes we develop possible scenarios, make relevant
decisions, and get ready to implement them. What can be the consequences
of the war in Iraq for marketing decisions? Tremendous, to say the least
of it. So there are a lot of things for marketing specialists to think

nk
of both internationally and domestically.

IMPACT OF SUPPLY, DEMAND, AND ELASTICITY

The supply, demand, and elasticity have a direct impact on marketing
decisions. The low demand may point to the necessity for better
promotion of products and services simply because the consumers may turn
out to know too little about the product, or be unaware of it at all.
There would be little wonder if our specific product is not in demand,
even though our competitors sell the same one very successfully. What if
we fail to sell fresh water in hot summer time? Such paradox is quite
possible if we do not follow simple marketing principle of 4 Ps. In
terms of marketing, demand should not be viewed as something static.
Even as applied to fundamentally new products, it can be created through
marketing decisions. To say nothing of basic needs like fresh water in
hot summer. We just have to remember of 4 Ps. The idea of supply in
marketing is especially important in terms of competition: if we fail to
provide supply that meets demand, our competitors will do it for us fast
enough to their own advantage. The idea of demand elasticity is also
important in terms of marketing decisions. For example, inelastic demand
for a product usually results from a lack of substitutes. For this
reason, marketing decisions might be aimed at identifying or creating a
new product or service to substitute for the one with inelastic demand.

MARKET SEGMENTATION AND CONCEPT OF POSITIONING

In simple terms, the idea of market segmentation (naming and segmenting)
is how not to lose the focus. For this purpose, identifying most
promising consumers is really a critical part of marketing activities.
Would it be a reasonable decision for us to try selling air conditioners
in Northern Territories and snow-removing equipment in South California?
Hopefully not. The idea of positioning is also important in terms of
consumers' psychology. With the diversity of products today, it becomes
important to be able to have a proper understanding of consumer’s needs
and attitude, to see what and why they need and how their needs are
satisfied by the existing market.

CONSUMER PRODUCT CLASSIFICATIONS, PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE, PACKAGING, AND
BRANDING

The idea of consumer product classifications is important in terms of
understanding how they think of them and what can be the motivation to
buy them. This understanding is really critical, because to project our
own perceptions on what we want to sell should be the last thing to do.
Since the human nature is really a complicated thing, therefore the
accumulated knowledge and observations made by the marketing scientists
can be really helpful in making decisions. This may apply to certain
particular classes of consumers' products like convenience, shopping,
specialty, and unsought products. The useful thing to realize is that in
selling a specific product or service we need to take into account
specific qualities they offer, in terms of both material and
psychological implications. Branding is also an important factor in

logical implications. Branding is also an important factor in
marketing decisions. The idea of branding is to win wider and steadier
recognition, though in real life a brand would not necessarily ensure a
desired quality. Yet it works and, therefore, should be taken into
account for competitive considerations. One of the important real life
implications here is that to sell a branded product we would have to
think well of what kind of advantages might contrast our product or
service against the competitor’s one. The product life cycle is
especially important to in terms of planning of our marketing
activities. For example, when dealing with a new product on the market
it is important to be aware of the main stages of product’s life. The
low sales at the introduction and market growth stages would affect our
marketing decisions in many ways, specifically in terms of promotion
approaches, pricing policies, scale of production, financing, risk
taking, etc.

CHANNEL INTERMEDIARIES

Intermediaries, as an indirect channel of distribution, play a very
important role in selling, which is one of most critical marketing
functions. In real life it could hardly be possible to properly identify
and effectively use all channels of distribution as they may represent
quite complex ramifications of different channels. For example, for a
small or medium-size production company it just might not be affordable
to keep a large enough marketing department to deal with all problems of
products distribution. Therefore, the services of intermediaries could
be indispensable, even though they may take extra costs. Intermediaries
help us cover larger market sectors. On the other hand, the value of
intermediaries consists in their practical experience in trading. If our
business is focused on production, we may need to concentrate more on
production problems rather than trading, otherwise we lose the focus and
there is always price to be paid for it. So the use of intermediaries
might pay back.

INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

Integrated marketing communications may be defined as what we manage to
achieve through all our efforts to promote a product or service. In
simple terms, it might look like our ability to work out the right way
to influence consumers using our communications skills. The practical
approach (defined in theory as AIDA = Attention + Interest + Desire +
Action) could be basically described as a complex process of informing
and persuading. In other words, we need to design our messages to
influence the consumers’ perception about our products. The importance
of this ability in real life can hardly be overestimated. In today’s
world of tough competition the communication process should be viewed as
one of key elements of success. Life is full of practical examples of
how the effective communication just works wonders. In a literal sense,
the power of word can just be materialized. A dentist would not attract
many clients without sending a specific message saying that he or she

ge saying that he or she
can do a good job, and accountant would not attract many customers and
would not be employed by a company without convincing them he is a good
specialist.

PRICING OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

The important thing the marketing theory makes us understand about
pricing is that it should not be viewed just as adding up the values of
costs and markups guided by supply and demand. Such an approach would be
incomplete to reflect the reality. The process, in real life, is much
more complex. The real economic life makes us set various objectives and
choose different policies. Reasons and objectives may be numerous. To
win more customers we may need first to give them a chance to use our
products at affordable prices to see, for example, that our product is
in no way inferior to a similar branded one, or simply to increase
sales. A lawyer or an accountant beginning a new business might choose
to work harder at comparatively low prices for their services with an
objective to gain more popularity and recognition. Or, besides
competitive reasons there can be different motivations, such as
survival. A monopoly may set prices without caring much about how it
affects consumers’ interests because of inelastic demand for its
products: in such a case a monopoly is just not interested in working
harder, because the inelastic demand would reduce its efforts to zero.
In other words, the economic reality requires us to be especially aware
of the problem of pricing. Too many factors have to be taken into
consideration, and, therefore, a very good understanding is needed to
choose the right policies.

CONCLUSION

The most important conclusion regarding my learning outcomes in this
course of study might be summarized as follows: the complex reality of
today's economic life requires a comprehensive knowledge and profound
understanding of the marketing theory. The great variety of specific
marketing decisions the businesses have to make in day-to-day life
always relies not only on our specific accumulated experience and
skills, but also on our learning process and ability to filter and make
use of specific marketing information in every particular case, be it a
small family business or a large corporation.


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