Contemporarily, marketing exists as a part of our lives in almost every minute, and it is undoubted that marketing developments in the past decades have significantly enhanced our lives. Although we have used it as an effective tool for numerous purposes, it does not necessarily mean that every citizen needs to be marketing experts for the sake of a better life, the emergence of marketing itself, has greatly made our lives better off. Although there are no general agreements on what marketing is, according to book ‘Fundamentals of Marketing’ by Baines et al., published in 2017, marketing has been recognised as a ‘management process’ and an ‘activity’ by the CIM and AMA*. Although, the nature of relationships between different organisations and their customers may differ, nevertheless, the widened concept of the wider societal applicability of marketing has been recognised by all definitions (Baines et al., 2017, p. 5). Briefly speaking, marketing has not only improved the quality of individual lives but also brought countless benefits and efficiency to our society as a whole. In this essay, I am going to indicate the ways of how marketing positively affect our lives, both personally and socially.
How can we benefit from learning marketing?
Some answers to the question were found in Kiara March’s article “How marketing influences our daily life”, published in 2016. March learned that marketing basically achieves three main functions, namely the “transmission of information and ideas, the creation or consolidation of attitudes and feelings of sympathy and preference, and the induction of the action” (March, 2016). By studying marketing, we learn how to effectively manage relationships with people, as marketing is all about exploring ways to communicate with different audiences. March found that it is becoming increasingly important to learn to think and even operate like a salesman, by doing that, we begin to be good listeners in terms of really understanding what other people need and want (March, 2016).
Marketing studies also allow us to understand and learn various personalities and what approaches we can take to find out what may motivate them and thus to engage with them. As a consequence, we become more attentive and “on-guard”, and as March indicated that in order to achieve these goals, marketers need to be aware of things happening in the industries and as well as us in our daily life (March, 2016). All in all, by learning marketing, we begin to become a good decision maker, and thus be able to shape ourselves to the best version (March, 2016).
Marketing skills seem to be very helpful to our personal lives; nevertheless, I strongly believe that it has a greater power from social perspectives. In the famous article “Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change” written by Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman in 1971, the idea and concepts of social marketing was comprehensively conveyed. According to their article, they stated that “social marketing is the design, implementation, and control of programs calculated to influence the acceptability of social ideas and involving considerations of product planning, pricing, communication, distribution, and marketing research” (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971, p. 5).
Now the idea of social marketing is clear, however, here another question emerges: in what ways could marketing achieve social changes?
The Social Marketing Approach
As Kotler and Zaltman’s pointed out, marketers view the marketing problem as “one of developing the right product backed by the right promotion and put in the right place at the right price”; these key variables in the marketing mix have been referred to as the four P’s by MacCarthy*, namely Product, Publicity, Place, and Price (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971):
Product – Considering the problem of marketing “safer driving”, the social purpose is to generate safer driving attitudes and habits in the population. Products related to this objective may include a public educational media campaign which provides advice on safe driving, or simply just a defensive driving course. Social marketers try to create a variety of tangible and “buyable” products and services which promote the social objective (safer driving) (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971, p. 7).
Promotion – According to Kotler and Zaltman’s paper, promotion was noted as the communication and persuasion tactics which aim to make the audience to recognise, accept, or even desire the product. To a marketer, the major activities of promotion may include paid forms like advertising and personal selling; and unpaid forms such as publicity, which arranges for remarkable news about the product/service to show in different media, and sales promotion which stimulates people’s interest or purchase. In this process, sophisticated levels of techniques and knowledge are required for marketers (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971, pp. 7-8).
Place – Smart marketers know how to arrange for accessible outlets which sanction the translation of motivation into actions. Orchestrating in this area entails culling or developing felicitous outlets, deciding on their number, locations, and average size, and giving them congruous motivation to perform their component of the job (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971, p. 9).
Price – The final element of the marketing approach to social campaign calls for pricing. To be specific, price includes money costs, opportunity costs, energy costs, and psychic costs. Using the product “defensive driving course” as an example, the cost may refer to the charge of the course, time and effort to attend it, and the psychological cost of not being thoroughly certain about whether the course is really going to help or not. Therefore, while pricing a product, marketers always need to recognise these cost factors, and then process the major benefits and compare them to the major costs (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971, p. 9).
In general, it is undoubted that specific social problems could be improved through marketing thinking and planning. A good use of the “four P’s” in the marketing mix may effectively gain public attention and support, as a result, social problem phenomena such as pollution, mass transit, drug abuse, etc. would be greatly reduced (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971).
Quality-of-Life (QOL) Marketing
In addition, to simply introduce the QOL marketing as a concept embedded in social marketing, it was quoted in Dong-Jin Lee and M. Joseph Sirgy’s article “QOL Marketing: Proposed Antecedents and Consequences” that the QOL marketing philosophy encouraged firms to design and develop products that can significantly enhance the quality of life of target consumers; QOL marketing calls for the development and marketing of products that effectively improve the quality of people’s lives (Lee and Sirgy, 2004, p. 46).
In contrast to the “product frauds” such as many “diet” and “weight reduction” products which are not only useless but also harmful to our bodies, doing no harm is one of the main concepts of QOL marketing. QOL marketing firm makes promotions mainly for the sake of enhancing customer well-being, for instance, they provide target customers with very detailed information about the product which direct customers to gain maximum benefits and avoid injury. In turn, as indicated by Lee and Sirgy, it always leads to customer loyalty and commitment, which eventually result in a positive corporate image and company goodwill (Lee and Sirgy, 2004). Therefore, the emergence of QOL marketing has not only enhanced consumers’ lives/well-being, but also brought various benefits to the businesses and their owners.
The objective of this essay is to shed light on the applicability of marketing concepts, which positively affects our lives, from both personal and societal perspectives. Undoubtedly, by learning marketing concepts we become a great listener and decision maker, which enables us to better manage our relationships with others in our daily life, and project ourselves to a favorable version (March, 2016). Moreover, the implementation of social marketing appears to offer a useful framework for potent social planning and improvements on numerous social problems which have become more critical and concerned. Nonetheless, due to a series of failures of many social advertising campaigns, the success of a campaign can only be achieved when proper consideration and development of product, promotion, place, and price are accomplished; these concepts were shown to have applicability to social causes (Kotler and Zaltman, 1971). Furthermore, as a concept embedded in social marketing, Quality-of-Life marketing is also created to enhance our well-being by designing and developing products that can significantly enhance the quality of consumers’ lives. And in turn, firms engaged with QOL marketing always receive loyalty and commitment from customers, which consequently result in a great business reputation and goodwill; therefore, this win-win approach brings mutual benefits to both consumers and firm owners (Lee and Sirgy, 2004). In conclusion, from my perspective, I strongly believe that the construct of marketing is crucial for contemporary developments on both individual lives and the society as a whole, as our lives would not become better if our society is full of problems. In addition, only when this construction is investigated and developed systematically, methodologically, and programmatically, prosperity would be accomplished in all our lives.