Recent definitions of marketing acknowledge that the concept is
no longer just about consumer goods. The idea of marketing is
now a key aspect of modern society. It can inform the objectives
and actions of service organisations, of charities and other not-for-profit
(NFP) organisations and of governments. Local councils have marketing
departments, as do universities, political parties and even pressure
groups (although they might give them different names). There
is even a potential profitable business in producing guides that
help individuals market themselves to prospective employers or
partners, for example see Careersnet.
The marketing discipline originated in manufacturing
organisations and most of the products that we buy are now aggressively
marketed to us. Consumer goods companies have been the first to
embrace the idea of marketing and Interbrand's
list of top brands is dominated by consumer products such as Coca-Cola,
Marlboro and Mercedes, (although this list is changing and now
includes an increasing number of service brands, such as Microsoft
and Disney). Almost all the products that we buy are branded.
For most goods we have a very wide range to choice from and every
individual need or desire is catered for. Even individual products
have a vast range of options, for example see Mercedes.
According to UK
National Statistics, 50% of household expenditure is on services.
Housing is the largest single expense, but following this are
transport, then recreation and culture, then hotels and restaurants.
The UK is therefore a economy dominated by the service sector.
Banks, restaurants and hotels may have recognised the importance
of marketing later than product manufacturers, but now all these
areas are strongly influenced by the acceptance of a marketing
orientation. For an example of a marketing orientated travel organisation,
Services marketing has also forced a development in some of the
main principles of marketing -especially a focus away from the
tangible aspects of meeting needs and a focus on service quality
and relationships between an organisation and its customers. In
addition, as organisations increasingly aim to meet social and
psychological needs more and more products can be seen to have
a service element to them.
Moore, Marketing and Promotions Officer
Marwell Zoo, Hampshire
We now see the techniques and principles of marketing applied
to almost all organisations and, in fact, recent governments have
encouraged this by introducing market mechanisms into most aspects
of public services. So schools and universities now develop specialist
services to provide more choice to 'consumers'. Charities also
need to understand their donors and position themselves to meet
Political parties make more effort to understand and segment
the voter 'market' - positioning themselves to appeal to the widest
possible range of voters and exploiting sophisticated advertising
techniques. For example see the Labour Party website (note particularly
that you can 'join', 'volunteer', 'donate' or 'shop'!).
These areas of marketing also require specialist knowledge and
have the potential to add to the techniques and approaches available
to all marketers.