Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Commercial Aspects - Blog 1

Having studied marketing briefly as part of my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, I had an overview of market research, with most of the emphasis being placed on consumer segmentation by demographics and competitor analysis.  Studying an arts-based design course, a large amount of emphasis is placed on the conceptual meaning behind a product; the emotions they awaken in us and the relationships we build we the products that we love.  My perception of marketing however, was a much more pragmatic one; marketing has the sole purpose of selling a product or service, occasionally at the detriment to the ethos of the product.  Marketing can also be held responsible for generating market-led designs, which may be seen as the throw-away products that worsen consumerist problems that the western world now suffers from.

One of the most remarkable elements of studying this module has been witnessing the ingenuity behind successful product marketing.  The ability to identify weaknesses within the business itself and address them thoroughly to turn them in to opportunities is fascinating.  Though I had come across many of the basic analytic tools before (PESTE, SWOT, perceptual mapping etc), the thought process behind connecting the market research to outline a cohesive strategy was a very valuable process to learn.

 ‘Marketing defines how the organisation interacts with its market place,’ (Drummond, et al., 2008, p. 10).  This interaction generally takes one of three forms; customer orientation, competitor orientation and, inter-functional orientation (Narver & Slater, 1990), with a combination of all three achieving a long-term profit focus.  Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, such as toothpaste brand Colgate, are competitor oriented – competing for the lowest price to attract habitual buyers – while companies such as John Lewis rely heavily on retaining customers through a good reputation and so are customer orientated.  Marketing and design innovators, companies such as Apple who dictate the new trends to the customer, tend to utilise inter-functional orientation, where they are aware of market intelligence and can adapt accordingly.

With the rise in use of social media, consumers are now able to contact company representatives directly instantly and, in many cases, at any time of day.  This has meant that many companies have adapted to put more emphasis on customer needs through customer service, and have had to stay constantly aware of what consumers are saying publicly about their brand online.  As such, many choose to employ social media specialist teams within their PR teams, to deal with issues as they arise (Marsden, 2015).
The New Product Development (NPD) strategy can be directly affected by the marketing concept, though these products tend to be additions to existing product lines, or product revisions, as opposed to innovative products.  The NPD strategy usually takes the form of a traditional ‘brainstorming’ process, but with greater emphasis on business evaluation.  Market trends also play a large role in NPD, often forming the starting point of the strategy, targeting an identified ‘gap in the market’. 

Drummond, G., Ensor, J. & Ashford, R., 2008. Strategic Marketing: Planning and Control. 3rd ed. Burlington(MA): Elsevier.
Marsden, R., 2015. The Independant - Customer service in the social media age: How companies deal with the daily twitter storm. [Online]
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/customer-service-in-the-social-media-age-how-companies-deal-with-the-daily-twitter-storm-10085307.html
[Accessed 17 04 2015].
Narver, J. & Slater, S., 1990. The effect of a market orientation on business profitability. Journal of Marketing, Volume October, pp. 20-35.