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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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• The importance of marketing;

• The concept of customer value; and

• The link between customer value and marketing.

The term ‘Marketing' can have numerous definitions and meanings, yet any definition incorporates the belief that marketing is key to a business's success. Marketing can be defined as “human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through the exchange processes” (Kotler P. S., 1983, p. 7).  Marketing is not only the promotion of goods and services it also largely involves the process by which businesses must identify the needs and wants of consumers. By identifying the needs and wants of the consumer the product is then seen to have value to the customer. Customer value can be defined simply as is what they ‘get' (benefits) relative to what they ‘give up' (costs or sacrifices).” (Zeithaml 1988, in Smith & Colgate 2007). The customer value creation framework (Colgate, 2007) highlights the different categories of customer value. These categories are: Functional/instrumental. Experiential/hedonic, symbolic/expressive and cost/sacrifice. Product marketing can target numerous categories within the framework with each consumer having their own specific idea of what they want the product they purchase to represent. Customer value and marketing are associated and linked as a result of how products are perceived and seen by the public.

IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING

Marketing is one of the most important and crucial aspects of any business or corporation. For many, marketing is simply seen as the promotion and advertising of goods and services. Although marketing does incorporate this idea the true essence of marketing also encompasses the creation of needs and wants within a society, ensuring that items are priced correctly and that they have desirable attributes which the buyer is wanting. When developing and producing a product a business needs to answer several questions. They need to determine what the consumer wants, who the product is targeted at, how the product should be designed, what services should be offered with the product and what types of advertising and promotional offers would be cost effective. (Kotler P. , p. 4). These concepts are undertaken by companies and businesses such as ‘who gives a crap”. When designing, producing and marketing their product they must insure they answer and take into consideration those key questions to ultimately assure their product is a success. In relation to the toilet paper the item has been marketed in a way which meets the needs and wants of consumers. ‘Who gives a crap' is aided by the service of protecting and supporting those who are unable to gain access to such a product whilst also insuring convenience to the customer with home delivery. As a result of answering these questions the business is able to undertake in minimal promotional advertising whilst still being a successful enterprise. In saying this however, answering these questions and developing a desirable product doesn't always lead to a successful outcome. Marketing also involves insuring that “the customer is the epicenter of its business perspective” (Leventhal, 2005). Regardless of how good a product is, if it doesn't meet and listen to the needs and wants of consumers it is unlikely to be successful. Although marketing is important it is imperative to insure that “marketing is not an isolated function, but rather should share information” (Leventhal, 2005) with all sectors of a business.

CONCEPT OF CUSTOMER VALUE

The concept of customer value refers to the consumer's feelings regarding a product and what they gain or lose from the purchase. Simply it can be defined as “the ratio of perceived benefit to perceived cost.” (Evans, 2002) Ultimately customer value can be expressed through the customer value creation framework (Colgate, 2007). The framework explores the different thoughts and ideas that customers experience and take into consideration when contemplating the purchase of a good or service. The framework is broken into four sections (three benefits and one cost) each representing a different type of feeling or expression because of a potential purchase. Functional/Instrumental represents what most customers seek when purchasing an item, does the item contain the correct and accurate attributes, appropriate performance and will it result in the appropriate outcome. Experiential/hedonic refers to how to product makes us feel, symbolic/expressive refers to the psychological benefits of the possible purchase and cost/sacrifice refers to what we must sacrifice as a result of the purchase. In relation to ‘who gives a crap' customers must determine if the item has value to them. They must determine whether it contains the relative attributes and if the product will have the desired outcome, does purchasing the product give us the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure, does it have psychological benefits and do all these benefits out way the economic cost of the purchase. Customer value can also be referred to as customer satisfaction and by establishing customer satisfaction businesses are more likely to have repeat visitors and purchases. Figure 1.1 (Paul Hague, 2014) emphasises this point by highlighting the importance that a product with high customer value and satisfaction is likely to have on a business's success and repeat purchases.

LINK BETWEEN CUSTOMER VALUE AND MARKETING

The link between marketing and customer value has both benefits for the buyer and the seller. By correctly marketing and developing products the consumer sees value in the product believing that the benefits out way the costs, therefore they are willing to purchase the product resulting in revenue for the business or corporation. “One of the most important tasks in marketing is to create and communicate value to customers to drive their satisfaction” (Reinartz, 2016). In regards to ‘who gives a crap' the product has been designed in a way which attempts to maximize value to the customer. The company as incorporated aspects indirectly with the product in an attempt to increase the perceived value. Aspects such as contributing 50% of the businesses profits to “help build toilets and improve sanitation in developing worlds” (who gives a crap, 2017) appeal to the customers experiential/ hedonic customer values. The appeal and aesthetic features of the product may also appeal to the customers symbolic/ expressive values. The item may give them self-identity, self-expressive meaning presenting them as individuals who in actual fact do give a crap about the hygiene to those individuals in developing countries.  

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