The marketing concept rests on the importance of customers to a firm. All company policies and activities should be aimed at satisfying customer needs while obtaining a profitable rather than maximum sales volume.
To use the marketing concept, a small business should:
- Determine the needs of their customers (marketing research).
- Develop their competitive advantages (market strategy).
- Select specific markets to serve (targetmarketing).
- Determine how to satisfy those needs (marketing mix).
Analyze how well they’ve served their customers, and then return to step 1 (marketing performance).
The aim of market research is to find out who the customers are, what the customers want, where and when they want it. This research can also expose problems in the current product or service, and find areas for expansion of current services to fill customer demand. Market research should also encompass identifying trends that may affect sales and profit levels.
Market research should give you more information, however, than just who your customers are. Use this information to determine matters such as your market share, the effectiveness of your advertising and promotions, and the response to new product developments that you have introduced into the market.
One great need of small business managers is to understand and develop marketing programs for their products and services. Long term small business success depends on the ability to maintain a strong body of satisfied customers while continually increasing this body with new customers. Modern marketing programs build around the marketing concept, which directs managers to focus their efforts on identifying, satisfying, and following up the customer’s needs – all at a profit.