Peter Drucker, the American author and consultant, famously quoted “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service sells itself.”
Marketing is an essential component of the management of a business, as important as production and finance. While it receives intense focus in developed countries, it is also gaining significant traction in emerging markets.
Marketing is the process used to determine the products and services that may be of interest to potential customers and includes the functions of sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, and distribution.
It is a technique to identify the customer, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements, and maintain the customer relationship in ways that benefit the company and the shareholders.
“The Marketing Mix”, the most commonly known and utilised methodology in marketing, consists of parameters that can be controlled known as the Four P’s, they are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
The objective is to construct a strategy that focuses the 4P’s on the customer in the target market, in order to create perceived value which results in a positive response. An extension of the concept to include Packaging, Positioning and People, is known as the Seven P’s.
Product includes brand name, logo, servicing, and quality. Price is the strategy of pricing the product, discounts, and flexibility. Place involves distribution channels, market coverage, inventory management, and logistical details. Promotion is advertising, sales force, communication, and publicity.
Marketing is gaining acceptance in Cambodia with the success of brand awareness and recognisable logos more commonplace, particularly among telecommunication, financial services, food and beverage and hospitality companies. It is not unusual to see marketing stands in the streets touting products and promotions. Many companies are using their vehicle fleet to increase brand awareness and in addition to billboards and landmark displays, companies are investing in their own trademark buildings and headquarters.
Some companies are cementing customer loyalty through reward programs. Many coffee chains have cards which offer a free drink once the customers has purchased a certain numbers of paid drinks.
There are restaurants that will give a free meal as well as supermarkets who give coupons with monetary value as soon as certain milestones are attained. Promotion of the company though the sponsorship of concerts or sporting events is another method being utilised. Customers greatly appreciate receiving something perceived to be free, these programmes are excellent for keeping the allegiance of customers.
Most companies have accepted that it is essential to have a high quality and up to date website. However, there are still large companies that do not have websites, and many that do not actively manage them with new and creative content or use the internet to advertise their products.
Use of media is also on the rise. This is primarily achieved with press releases, executive interviews, and advertising placements. Although not widely employed, many companies are using seminars and presentations as part of their marketing programmes.
As consumers become more sophisticated and competition offers more selection and pricing options, the strength of a company’s marketing strategy may very well determine its survival.
Anthony Galliano is chief executive of Cambodian Investment Management. [email protected]