What is marketing? Clearly, the term "marketing' is the common

What is marketing?
Clearly, the term "marketing' is the common element in domestic marketing and
export marketing. But what does marketing entail? Although marketing is often
considered in the same light as selling, selling is essentially the end result of the
process of marketing. In other words, although selling and sales are part of the
marketing process, marketing is in fact much more.
Marketing can be defined as the process of managing the efficient and effective
utilization of a firm's resources with the aim of understanding and meeting the
opportunities and threats in a dynamic environment in such a way that the firm's
market offering(s) lead to the satisfaction of consumers' needs and wants so that the
objectives of the enterprise, the consumer and society are achieved." (Adapted from
Marketing Management, Cant et al: 2006.)
The marketing concept
This definition underscores the marketing concept, which has six pillars on which it
is built. These are:
1. Bringing together in an efficient way all of the resources of the firm (people,
machines and money) to produce a product or service
2. Understanding the environment and the needs of consumers
3. Meeting the needs of customers with products or services produced
4. Addressing the opportunities and threats in the environment
5. Achieving the objectives of the firm which is usually to make money
6. Doing all of this with the good of society in mind
The marketing mix
In doing so, the firm will engage in a marketing process that has four main objectives,
1. To produce a product that meets customer's needs
2. At a price that customers can afford and are willing to pay
3. Promoted in such a way that customers become aware of and are convinced to
buy the product
4. Delivered to a place where the customer can easily acquire the product
These four elements are referred to as the firm's marketing mix (also termed the 4Ps
of marketing - product, price, promotion and place) and represent those aspects of
marketing over which the marketer has control. In this regard, they are sometimes
referred to as 'controllable'.
The marketing environment
The marketing manager must also take into account the 'uncontrollable', i.e.
environmental factors in the market over which (s) he has no control, yet which have
a significant impact on the success of firm's operation. These environmental factors
include, for example, business practices and institutions, technological developments,
social and cultural norms, economic patterns, competitive activities, etc. (click here to
learn more about the external environment).
figure 1
Marketing environmental factors
The customer is king
What the above definition also implies is that marketing must be orientated towards
the customer. Today, marketers (and exporters) are becoming increasingly aware of
the fact that a company does not make money from products but rather from people
(wherever in the world they may be), and that a mismatch between what the company
offers and what customers buy will result in large inventories of unwanted products
and the loss of customers to competitors.
The challenge of marketing
A company which is able to co-ordinate its entire business system including its
capital, its human resources, its competitive processes and its marketing mix to focus
on the satisfaction of customer needs profitably within a dynamic external
environment is usually assured of success. Against the background of the company's
overall business and marketing objectives, the challenge of the marketing manager is
to use tools such as market research to mound the controllable elements of marketing
(i.e. product, price, promotion and distribution) within the framework of the
uncontrollable elements of the market place.
What is Marketing? Another view!
"If the circus is coming to town and you paint a
sign saying "Circus coming to the Fairground,
Saturday," that's advertising. If you put the sign
on the back of an elephant and walk him into
town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks
through the Mayor's flower bed, that's publicity.
If you can get the Mayor to laugh about it, that's
public relations. And if you planned the elephant's
walk, that's marketing."
Domestic marketing
Domestic marketing is about doing all of the above tasks within the confines of the
local or domestic/home market.
What is export marketing?
Export marketing is about marketing across national borders. All the basic principles
of marketing can be applied to both domestic and export marketing; the latter is far
more challenging because when entering a new country/market, the marketer will
have to deal with a different kind of customer in a foreign environment with laws and
regulations that may differ radically from those of the domestic market. Even in a
world that is moving towards increasing similarities in consumer tastes, marketing
methods, production processes and business practices, there are still a significant
number of differences between international markets to make selling to them
challenging - see figure 2.
figure 2
International marketing
When trading across national borders for example:
The customer profile in the foreign market is often very different from that of
the customer in the domestic market, particularly in the areas of language,
religion, ideology, living standards and fashion
Different and unfamiliar cultural, economic, legal, social and political systems
may be encountered in foreign markets Foreign markets represent unfamiliar
There are greater complexities associated with payment, distribution, transport
and insurance
The role of documentation assumes added importance to prevent
misunderstanding and costly litigation
Goods are subject to customs control and the payment of import duty (where
A number of technical and administrative regulations may apply to exports legal requirements in certain foreign markets in respect of the technical
specifications of a product, that call for changes to be made before the product
may be imported
Exchange rates, and in some cases exchange control regulations, are
There are new parameters that the exporter will need to take into
consideration, such as import duties as well as legal restrictions, different
modes of transport, international trade documentation, foreign currencies, and
different and additional marketing channels
There is generally more extensive use made of the fax and e-mail than the
telephone and when these are used, different time zones and different
languages have to be considered
Operating in foreign markets exposes the exporter to far wider and more
intense competition than would be the case in the domestic market
The complexity of exporting, the additional environments that exporters face,
as well as new parameters that exporters will need to deal with, makes the
export management task far more difficult
The main distinguishing feature between export marketing and domestic marketing is
thus that with the former, a company is operating within external environments that
are highly uncertain and where the rules of the game are often ambiguous,
contradictory and subject to rapid change! Export marketing is therefore more
challenging, complex, risky and expensive. Ultimately, export marketing takes more
effort and more time, and requires greater financial resources than domestic
marketing. In addition, it requires at least the same level of commitment that
companies give to their local operations.
Multinational marketing (marketing across several different foreign markets) is even
more complex. When dealing with more than one foreign market, the firm is faced
with several different external environments, each of which may call for different
product, pricing, promotion and distribution strategies. The challenge is to co-
ordinate, integrate and manage the various marketing programmers to achieve the
firm's overall marketing objectives.
Read more: