The Function of Marketing

by Anam Ahmed - Updated October 15, 2018

Whether you’re just starting up your own one-person operation or are running an entrepreneurial venture with a whole marketing department, it’s vital to know what role marketing plays in your organization. Regardless of what your business does or sells, the function of marketing in your company will involve the four P’s: product, price, place and promotion.

The Role of Marketing

In any organization, marketing involves figuring out how to most effectively sell your product or service to your target audience. This is the main function of marketing. The way a marketing manager carries out her role is related to how she controls the four P’s of marketing, based on internal organizational constraints and the external factors of the market. By focusing each of the four P’s around the target audience, the marketing manager can ensure she creates perceived value and a positive response from the consumer.

Other essential functions of marketing outside of the four P’s include financing marketing activities and conducting market research about the target audience. In addition, selling is a fundamental function of marketing. However, this can only be done effectively once the business clearly understands to whom they are selling and what makes their product unique.

Defining Your Product

The product can refer to a physical item that the business sells or an intangible service they offer. It is the role of marketing to conduct research about the target market to figure out what kind of product they are after. In order to do this, it’s important to know what kind of problem the target market has and how a product can solve that specific problem.

Some of the product details that marketing needs to define and develop include branding, packaging, quality, styling and functionality. In addition, defining the product includes differentiating it from similar products already on the market to make it stand out in the consumers’ eyes.

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Establishing the Price

In order to set the price of the product, the marketing department needs to research similar products available on the market and their prices. Then, they need to figure out their own pricing strategy for the product they are trying to sell. It’s important to know what the market prices are in order to have an idea of what consumers are willing to pay for a specific product. If pricing higher or lower than the market average, the marketing department will need to create effective messaging to ensure they create the right perceived value for their product. Pricing decisions include developing the pricing strategy, discounts, wholesale and retail pricing, bundling and seasonal pricing and price flexibility.

Setting the Place

This function of marketing involves figuring out where the product is going to be sold and how it is going to get there. This element is also often referred to as distribution. Many products are sold through brick-and-mortar retail stores or online e-commerce stores. In addition, some products are sold through other channels such as seasonal markets, trade shows and local fairs.

The distribution aspect of this role involves establishing how to get the product into the hands of the consumer most effectively. Placement or distribution decisions that marketing departments make include market coverage, distribution channels, inventory management, order processing and logistics.

Importance of Promotions

The need of marketing in business comes down to how effectively the business can communicate information about the product to the consumer. This function is called promotion, and it involves five essential aspects: advertising, personal selling, sales promotions, direct marketing and public relations.

Promotional decisions that marketing departments make include deciding whether to use a push or pull strategy and allocating the marketing communications budget to the necessary activities. Arguably, promotion is one of the most important roles of marketing and is what many people think of when they hear the word "marketing." In any business, it’s essential to develop a promotional strategy that targets the consumer specifically and considers what message will appeal most to them.

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing articles for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.

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