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Marketing and Marketing Research in Advertising

Marketing and market research have opened up new areas of job opportunities. They have become specific disciplines and professions and call for a particular bent of mind and training. We have already explained briefly what marketing is and its relation to advertising. We have also touched upon the importance of research in both marketing and advertising. A chapter on marketing and market research in a book on advertising as a profession is essential for two reasons. First, advertising is a component of the entire process of marketing or the marketing mix, the jargon used in advertising and marketing circles. Hence, one joining the advertising profession has to have some understanding of marketing and hence, market research and marketing research. Secondly, marketing and marketing research provide other specialized professional opportunities.

Without a market, obviously there can be no neither marketing nor marketing communication or advertising. A market has been in existence historically from the time one produced something that one could barter or sell to secure goods one did not produce. But when we talk of the modern market, particularly in the context of advertising, we have to think of many other components the existence of a product or service, consumers, a place or location, a price for the product or service or a particular time. These all seem to be very obvious. But as we go on elabora1ing we shall find that there is more to these factors or components of the market, which goes beyond the obvious. Research to secure information about the market as a whole, including packaging, distribution, retailing and sales promotion, adds further dimensions to marketing. Advertising is directly concerned with sales promotion. In fact, advertising adds another dimension to marketing that is common with human psychology-motivations, feelings or 'emotions'.

Those who are engaged in marketing communication have a stake in marketing and market research and marketing research. You might create great advertisements and select the perfect combination of media and the perfect timing for communication and so on, but the pricing of the product might not be acceptable to the consumers or it might not have been distributed properly. Hence the need for advertising agencies to work with clients as partners taking a holistic approach to advertising and marketing. This would mean that the advertising agency would have to be involved with all the marketing problems of the client. The account manager would have to acquire some knowledge of marketing strategy. One would not be able to evolve a good advertising strategy unless one was able to grasp and even contribute to the evolution of a marketing strategy. The juniors in the account service group would have to be able to analyze the market and marketing research data thoroughly to be able to develop advertising ideas and concepts. In. the emerging highly competitive market the challenges before the account service group are going to be very demanding. It would have to combine sharp analytical minds with computers and intuition, based on experience. The machine and human intelligence and sensitivity must interact creatively.

The Institute of Marketing of the UK defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumer requirements profitably." This involves identifying products or services, producing them, ensuring their proper distribution and selling them not once but repeatedly, and of course, at a profit. Marketing is concerned with every aspect of the product that is to be marketed. Its design, both in terms of looks and utility; brand name; packaging, size and shape; after-sales services where necessary; guarantee of the quality of the product and so on. The product would have to be so priced as to be acceptable to the consumer and yet ensure reasonable profits to the manufacturer or the marketing organization, even after providing suitable discounts to the wholesaler and retailer. Those concerned with marketing would also have to consider the financial relations of the marketing organization with the wholesalers and retailers, such as the-credit to be provided to them and the period by which they would have to make payments. All these would have to be taken into account when fixing the market price.

The marketing process includes the geographic allocation of the market, the channels of distribution and, the stock to be maintained at every stage of the distribution channel and the transport arrangement for the distribution of the goods. While these processes are being put in place, steps must be taken to ensure that the entire sales promotion set-up is geared for action. This would include not only personal selling to some extent and at some levels various other promotional activities, as we shall discuss later, but also advertising and publicity.

Above all, marketing must consider the proper timing of the launching of a new product or even the promotion of a particular product. One has to have a knowledge and understanding of the buying behavior of the customers. Where do they buy? When do they buy? There are both buying seasons and buying locations. A product or service will not sell because the marketing organization or the manufacturer thinks that it is good for the customers. This means identifying the motivations, even sentiments or emotions that might induce the purchase of a certain product. How does the mind of the consumer work in relation to purchases? Why do they buy a particular brand? This is possibly the most difficult area of marketing, because it cannot be defined in statistical terms. This is also an area m which advertising has the most to contribute.

Marketing is not a one-time operation. It is a continuing process, whether you are dealing with a single product or introducing new ones or whatever. This is because the objective is not a one-time sale, but repeat sales and increasing sales or expansion of the market. It is thus that production can be maintained at the optimum level. This brings about the economy of size. You can buy the raw materials in larger quantities and hence, at a lower unit cost. With the cost of machinery and fixed assets having been incurred once, it can be spread over a larger quantity of goods. If quality is maintained, with a larger volume of production, the cost of production per unit is lowered and the price can be reduced if faced with competition, and yet profits maximized. Successful marketing is the most concrete expression of successful economic business management.

It should be obvious from what we have discussed so far, how complex marketing is and what a wide range and variety of activities it encompasses. All these components of marketing taken together constitute the marketing mix. Advertising or marketing communication is but one element of the marketing mix. Obviously such a complex process involves a great deal of advance and even long term planning. This requires a tremendous amount of information. Such information can only be available through research. Two types of research are involved: market research and marketing research. In a sense they are the two stages of research. There is a certain amount of overlapping between the two types or stages of research. How can you enter a market with a product of service unless you have a complete knowledge of the market? This would involve knowledge about every element of the marketing mix. Market research is the key component of decision-making in marketing a product or service. Market research could be aimed at identifying a new product that would satisfy a latent or unrealized demand. This would mean that market research would then be an input for research and development. This is how the television as an instrument for entertainment and information was developed. Similar has been the road to the development of a whole range of consumer durables such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and so on. Various types of pesticides have come into the market to meet an expressed demand. So have hybrid seeds.

Market research would be required to secure information about the consumers. The consumers or the market would have to be segmented or stratified according to the occupation of the customers, their income levels, their interests, education, social background, age, sex, buying habits and so on, related to the product or service to be marketed. It should be obvious that research would also be necessary to find out the market conditions-competition and the marketing activities of the competitors covering every component of the marketing mix. Some general background information would also be necessary, which might be available through desk research or published data. There is a wealth of data available in government publications, reports of trade associations, the Reserve Bank of India and other public financial institutions, census data, reports of various government committees and parliamentary committees, and so on.

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