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1.10 Marketing

The Institute of Marketing defines marketing as:

the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Thus the marketing discipline covers those activities which identify what potential purchasers of products or services are looking for, who the potential customers are, what prices might be appropriate, and what method of sales, distribution and promotion might be applied. (Do not make the common mistake of regarding marketing as the same thing as 'sales' or selling. Selling is just one of the functions of marketing.) But the definition also tells us that marketing is responsible for satisfying customer requirements, so it must also instigate and coordinate new product development.

A new product could be the result of any of the following.

  • A good idea which perhaps anticipates a market need or exploits a new material or process. (The design concept for the first plastic jug kettle was generated by a firm of design consultants who approached a number of potential manufacturers including Redring. It was innovative in terms of both shape and material. There was not already a defined market for such a product.)

  • A need established from analysis of the market.

  • The necessity to counter action by competitors. (The explosion in the range of kettles and their different features since the introduction of the first jug kettle exemplifies the response of an old, established industry under siege from new competition; once one manufacturer has introduced such a product the others must follow suit or risk being left behind.)

  • A response to other threats such as new legislation. (The development of lead-free solders is a prime example of such pressures.)

Once the need or idea for a new product has been identified, the organisation must decide what action to take. Since ultimately success depends on getting the right product to the customer at the right place and the right time, the things that need to be considered can be grouped into four convenient categories known as the four 'Ps':

  1. How to design, develop and manufacture the product.

  2. Its price in the market.

  3. The method of getting it to the customer – the place at which it is sold.

  4. The method of promotion.

The '4 Ps' used to emphasise the role of marketing – product, price, place, promotion – define the key elements embodied in a PDS which take us out of the area of simple nuts-and-bolts design of a product and into that of the commercial considerations which are so important for a product's success.

The functions of gathering, interpreting and disseminating information about the state and requirements of the market are crucial to the development of a complete PDS and a successful product.