Approaches of marketing
In layman terms marketing is the process of selling something at a shop or market place. To some it is the study of individual commodities and their movement in the market place; to others it is the study of institutions and persons who move these product or study of the economic contribution; to still others it is the study of the behavior of product movements and the way the persons involved to move them.
The study of marketing has, thus, been approached in more than one ways. However, these different approaches have immensely contributed to the evolution of the modern approach and the concept of
marketing. To facilitate the study, these defend approaches may be broadly classified as the commodity approach, the institutional approach and the managerial approach.
Besides these well recognized and established approaches, the recently developed societal and systems approaches have been attracting considerable attention. A brief description of these different approaches is given below, reflecting their respective focus and characteristics.
(i) Commodity Approach
In the commodity approach to the study of marketing, the focus of study is a specific commodity, say, wheat, rice, sugar, tea, fabrics, automobiles, etc. In this approach, the subject matter of discussion centers around the specific commodity selected for the study and includes the sources and conditions of supply, nature and extent of demand, the distribution of channels used and the functions, such as buying,
selling, financing, advertising, storage, etc. performed by the various agencies. By repeating such studies in case of different commodities one gets a complete picture of the entire field of marketing.
(ii) Functional Approach
In the functional approach, the focus of marketing study is one of the different kinds of functions which are recognized for their repetitive occurrences and the necessarily performed to consummate market transactions. Though there is no unanimity about the number and nature of functions that constitute marketing, nevertheless, some functions often recognized are selling, storage, transpiration, and financing.
In this approach, marketing is regarded as the “business of buying and selling and as including those business activities involved in the flow of goods and services between producers and consumers”. These functions are also studied in relation to given commodities and marketing institutions in term of their nature, importance, operational methods, costs and problems.
(iii) Managerial Approach
In the managerial approach, the focus of marketing study is on the decision making process involved in the performance of marketing function at the level of a firm. The study encompass discussion of the different underlying concepts, decision influencing factors, alternative strategies – their relative importance, strengths and weaknesses, and techniques and methods of problem-solving. Here there is apt to be some confusion between the functional and managerial approaches to the study of marketing owing to the terms “functions” used in both these approaches.
In the functional approach, the emphasis on the study of marketing functions is at the macro level and its scope extends to those functions only which are involved during the flow of goods and service from producers to consumers. In the managerial approach, on the other hand, the emphasis shift to the micro parts of the economy and settles at the level of a business firm which performs all those functions which impinge upon and are involved in the creation and distribution of goods and services desired by the market.
The managerial approach thus entails the study of marketing at the micro-level-level of a business firm – of the managerial functions of analysis, planning, execution, coordination and control in relation to the marketing functions of creating, stimulating, facilitating and valuing transactions.
(iv) Institutional Approach
In the institutional approach to the study of marketing, the focus is on the study of the various middlemen and facilitating agencies. The study includes their position in the distribution channels, the purpose of their existence, the functions performed and service rendered by them, their operating methods, the cost involved, and the problems faced by them. In order to obtain a comprehensive view of marketing, the study is related to each type of institution.
In the societal approach to the study of marketing, the entire marketing process is regarded not as means by which business meets the ends of consumers but as a means by which society meets its own consumption needs. In it, the focus of study, therefore, is the interactions between the various environmental factors (sociological, cultural, political, legal) and marketing decisions and their impact on the well-being of society. As such, in this kind of approach there is a significant element of normative and substantial reliance on the value judgment based on an accepted value system in the society at a point of time.
The societal approach to the study of marketing is relatively recent and was born out of the criticism of the marketing behavior of business obsessed with profit attainment and growth by critics.
(vi) Systems Approach
Among the recent approaches to the study of marketing, the one that has been engaging considerable attention lately is the systems approach. It is based on Von Bartalanffy‟s “general system theory”. He defined system as a “set of objects together with the relationships among them and their attributes. Systems thinking recognize the inter-relations and interconnections among the components of a marketing system in which products, services, money, equipment and information flow from marketers to
consumers. These flows largely determine the survival and growth capacities of a firm. The focus of systems approach is, there sore, the analysis of these marketing flows and communication. It stresses built-in organizational capacity to adapt business to a changing ecosystem.