Marketing – A historical perspective and evolution with time !

Marketing is the social and organizational process through which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want by creating, communicating and freely exchanging products of value with each other. 
People define marketing in different ways based on their perceptions. It has evolved over time and has profoundly developed in terms of the thinking, the ideologies and the mindsets of the people involved either from the consumer end or from the strategists, marketers, prospects, marketing managers and other decision makers who are directly or indirectly associated with the business activity called “marketing”.
Marketing is an art and a science having a creative and a formulated side. Marketing has both a managerial definition and a societal definition attached to it. It is wrong for us to say “it is the art of selling”, for selling is the tip of the iceberg and marketing extends way beyond the traditional approach of selling stuff. The concept is expressed in the thinking of Sergio Zyman, Coca Cola’s former Vice President of marketing who said “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff to more people more often for more money in order to make more profits”. But the approach has changed radically and organizations are moving towards a comprehensive approach which focuses more on the needs and aspirations of the customer.

Though it would be hard for most to believe but marketing is a relatively young discipline as compared to economics, production or operations. Prior to the current times most issues associated with marketing were either assumed to fall within basic concept of economics, advertising or in most cases simply not yet explored. Marketing being led by scholars was motivated by the basic need to understand the relationship between buyers and sellers and to dissect this understanding to adopt strategies and tactics which would benefit the relationship.
The concept of ‘Marketing’ was virtually absent from books till the early 1900’s. It did show up with the advent of books like “Marketing: Its Problems and Methods” and “Marketing: Methods and Policies” (1921).The concept of marketing presented in these books had the following idea.  It said that 3 kinds of things had to be considered by everyone who had anything to sell. One group had to deal with personal salesmanship and sales management. Another had to do with the idea of advertising and the third was solely with neither but common to both. The central idea prevalent was “the plan behind the campaign”. This was so because the plan depended on the selection of advertising or personal salesmanship as a marketing tool, the decision to use established methods of reaching the market or to hew out some new road between the distributor and the consumer. So it was all part and parcel of the “the plan behind the campaign”.
According to the eminent marketing historian Robert Barrels, the Mid-West had the most influence upon the early development in this field. Walter D. Scott wrote “The Theory of Advertising” in 1903.In 1922 Fred E. Clark a pioneer in the field of marketing at that time wrote “Principles of Marketing”. He was the founder of the National Association of the Teachers of Marketing and was elected the first president of the American Marketing Association.
Marketing almost came to a standstill between 1930 and 1970 with very little frequency of books being found.  This was the period of the Great Depression and the period of the world wars. The companies embraced a “sell-as–much-as-we-can” philosophy with little concern for building relationships for the long term.
Then after 1970 in ten short years the frequency of books in marketing almost doubled. Then an analytical approach to marketing was introduced- “Marketing- an Integrated Analytical Approach”. In 1972 Philip Kotler wrote “Marketing Management” long considered being the bible on modern day marketing, in which he had standardized marketing by combining and generating new ideas from the fields of economics, behavioral science, organizational science and mathematics.
After another short period, in the mid 1990’s there was a renewed interest in marketing. In this period, the book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk” by Al Ries and Jack Trout (1994) was published and the authors took on marketing mentioning that billions of dollars had been wasted on marketing programs that couldn’t possibly work, no matter how clever or brilliant or how big the budgets were.  They mentioned that no one was ready to accept the very fact that there are any laws of marketing- certainly none of them that are immutable. They claimed that programs that worked out were almost certainly in tune with some fundamental force in the marketplace. They outlined the Law of Leadership, the Law of Focus and the Law of Exclusivity, among others.
In 1991 the book “The Marketing Revolution: A Radical Manifesto for Dominating the Market place” by Kevin J. Clancy and Robert S. Shulman condemned the marketing practices of their day- this notion was that the company managers regarded production or finance as the secret to success and regarded marketing as an adjunct to sales. Then Clancy and Shulman predicted a “Marketing Revolution” and that one day marketing would drive the companies and a new thinking would emerge.
The book “Managing Brand Equity” by David A. Aaker was also written in this period. Although “Brand Equity” is one of the hottest topics of management today, managers often failed to identify their brand associations, levels of consumer awareness or degree of customer loyalty and for short term financial results have often damaged their brands through price promotions and unwise brand extensions. The companies had begun to see that the old ways of selling were wearing thin with the customers and that hard selling and use of unscrupulous selling techniques was creating “Marketing Myopia” amongst customers and that business could not be sustained. As competition grew stiffer across most industries, organizations realized that in order to be successful, the key factor was first to understand the needs of the customers and then initiate the process of developing and marketing products and services. 
The S.H. Britt was a major leader in the field of consumer research and long term editor of the “Journal of Marketing”. Kilter and Zaltman had started the concept of ‘Social Marketing’. The 3 C’s (Customer Analysis, Competitor Analysis and Company Analysis) of marketing have evolved into the integrated 5 C’s (Customer Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Collaborator Analysis, Company Analysis and Analysis of Industry Context). Not only that, the model has shifted from Push Marketing (Product) towards Push/Pull Marketing (Brand) and finally to Pull Marketing (Customers).The following figure denotes the change:
Product Development
Brand Development
Customer Development
Mass Production
Price Strategy
Brand Preference
Perception of value
Demand Creation
Purchase facilitation
Single Channel
Multi Channel
Market Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence
Customer Insight
Share of Market
Share of Mind
Share of customer
Product Lifecyle
Brand Lifecycle
Customer Lifecycle
The “Marketing Concept” hence evolved and we reached at the modern day definitions of marketing where art and science come into picture along with the ideas of target markets, profits, identifying the unfulfilled needs and desires etc. In today’s world, marketing defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. The Holistic Marketing concept has come into picture which takes into account “Integrated Marketing”, “Internal Marketing”, “Performance Marketing” and “Relationship Marketing”. Now marketing is no longer considered an isolated business activity but rather is part of an “Integrated Management Action” with marketing as the centre and all other business activities revolving around it.
Production is done based on marketing research results on demand and not on estimates or with the notion that the product will sell. Finance controls the fund inflows and outflows so that the company does not operate on shoe string budget. Logistics and supply chain management have to ensure that raw materials are procured from the right sources of the standards of quality. 
Production Era
Sales Era
Marketing Era
Demand Exceeded Supply
Supply exceeded Demand
Supply exceeds Demand
No competition
Competition within product markets
Intense competition
What they can produce
They are conscious of consumer’s wants
Customer is the center of  business
Solving production problems-Focus
Need to dispose so focus on selling
Customers determine products
Product sell themselves
Hard selling is necessary
Profit oriented  than sales volume
Limited product Line
Limited product Line
Extensive Product Lines
Now marketing has moved beyond simply the exchange of products for a value (primarily money). It aims at satisfying the customer. Satisfaction can be defined as the reflection of a person’s judgment of a product’s performance in relation to expectations. The concept of “Brand” has come into picture and “Customer Loyalty” and “Customer Retention” has become very important. Managing customer relationships has become a part and parcel of the holistic marketing concept. Today, marketing aims at creating an “impact” on the customer such that the customer is drawn back. The Marketing Concept is essentially a change in orientation as follows:
  • From Production Orientation to Marketing Orientation
  • From Product Orientation to Customer Orientation
  • From Supply orientation to Demand Orientation
  • From Sales orientation to Satisfaction Orientation
  • From internal Orientation to External Orientation

The Marketing concept hence has three-fold benefits: the organization, the customer and the society at large.

[The article has been written by Priyo Ranjan. He is presently pursuing his MBA from XISS, Ranchi.]

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