Marketing plays diverse roles in most organizations of the world. These roles have not been static but have changed with the changing times. Marketing helps in growing revenue for organizations. Every other activity of the organization contributes to the cost factor. It is only through the sale of goods, services and ideas that revenue is generated. Marketing plays a yeoman’s role in this regard. For example, organization XYZ recorded a revenue of 350 million dollars last year (2006). This was a twenty percent increment over that of the previous year (2005).
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The various marketing activities undertaken such as advertising, sales promotion, customer relation building and management, etc contributed in achieving this feat for organization XYZ. Marketing helps in positioning and branding the organization at the marketplace (Webster, Jr, 1992). There are several vendors and customers in the value chain and the ability of an organization to properly set itself apart from the competitive landscape to a large extent depends on how it is marketed.
How an organization is perceived at the marketplace determines the extent to which it prospers. If an organization is poorly perceived, it is unlikely that it can garner the needed customers to patronize its goods and services. On the other hand, if it is well perceived and received by the consuming public, doing business becomes easier. It is the duty of marketing to make the right promises, to come up with an appropriate name and logo for the organization and in projecting a good corporate image for the organization at the marketplace.
The marketing function plays a key role in managing several important connections between the customer and critical elements of the organization such as connecting the customer to the product and service delivery (Moorman and Rust, 1999). Special efforts are therefore made not only to woo new customers but also to hold unto the existing ones. Customer relationships building and management are important undertakings by the marketing function. Customer relationship management optimizes demand for the products and services of the organization.
It involves in identifying and responding to needs of the customer (SAP and Peppers and Rodgers Group, 2005). Any organization that seeks to prosper at the marketplace cannot afford not to treat its customers well and meet their needs. Marketing plays a vital role in the implementation of supply chain management (Soonhong and Mentzer, 2000). Supply chain management refers to all of the strategies, processes and technologies that together form the basis for working with internal or external sources of supply (SAP and Peppers and Rodgers Group, 2005).
Optimizing one’s supply chain does not only lead to drastic cost-savings but also ensures the goods are supplied when they are needed. Integrating an organization’s supply chain management and customer relationship management has been found to lead to even further greater efficiency and effectiveness (SAP and Peppers and Rodgers Group, 2005). Marketing also play an important role in new product development and product launch. The importance of new products to organization cannot be over-emphasized.
Treacy and Wiersema (1995) have singled out product development or innovation with other two disciplines as the surest routes to competitive success. New products help in boosting growth and profit margins of the organization. . Some organizations even allot certain proportions of their profit margins that must be contributed by new products. In some cases the very survival of the organization hinges on the new products that it develops for the marketplace. Marketing actively encourages the active participation of customers in new product development.
This is a trend gaining increased acceptance in recent years. Many business undertakings are founded on relationships such as strategic partnerships, alliances and networks (Gronroos, 1997). Marketing plays a vital role in fostering these relationships. This viewpoint has grown in recent times with the concept of relationship marketing. According to Gummesson (1996) the primary role of marketing is to connect suppliers and customers, which also include other stakeholders, both inside and outside of the organization. Marketing also actively promotes the organization at the marketplace or society.
Through advertising, sales and trade promotion, sponsorships, contests, etc, the organization sells itself and the goods and services it has on offer. It can therefore be said that without the role of marketing it may be difficult for the organization to be known and its products and services patronized by the general public. The socialresponsibilityof the marketing function cannot go unmentioned. According to Handelman and Arnold (1999) marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the positive impact that marketing actions with a social dimension can have for their organizations.
This dimension of marketing has been tied to organizational effectiveness in actively reaching and meeting the needs of target customers or market. Marketing also plays a vital role in corporate planning and decision-making. The research component of marketing provides managers with data on the effectiveness of current marketing mix and provides insights for necessary changes (McDaniel and Gates, 1999) as well as other information for managerial decision-making. Marketing research also offers an avenue for exploring new opportunities in the marketplace.
According to Hogarth-Scott and Parkinson (1993) there are two parallel strands in the development of marketing within organizations. One is the growth of a corporate marketing department with responsibility for advertising, the conduct and or purchase of market research and corporate image building in the marketplace. Presently, a great deal of these functions are outsourced to advertising, research, media and brand development agencies. The marketing department plays a coordinating role between the outsourcee agencies and the organization.
Apart from liaising with agencies, marketing departments are also responsible for developing marketing strategies and plans for the organizations. The other element, according to Hogarth-Scott and Parkinson (1993), is the role of the buyer and the trading departments. The trading department has influential clout in the organization. They are responsible for product selection, pricing, merchandising and promotion in the organization. To a large extent, effective marketing depends on an integrated organizational effort.
There is no doubt that marketing function and the marketing departments have grown in influence in recent decades. According to Moorman and Rust (1999) there has been a movement towards thinking of marketing less as a function and more as a set of values and processes that all functions of the organization participate in implementing. In this view, marketing becomes everybody’s job, which potentially diffuses the marketing function’s role but increases marketing’s influence.