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Welcome to the course

This short course will introduce you to current definitions of marketing, the evolution of marketing and to the concepts of marketing strategy.
Marketing is one of the most misunderstood aspects of management. Often confused with selling or advertising, it is the foundation for successful interactions between companies and customers. Customers buy a product or service because they have a want or need and therefore they have a perception of a gap that they need to fill. Firms attempt to fill these gaps but need to do it in a way that creates value for the customer and the company. This process is referred to as a marketing plan.
Marketing has not always been about creating value for both the customer and the company. Originally the notion of marketing was very much focused on selling products. Whether they met the customer needs or not. Henry Ford’s quotation. Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black. Sums up the marketing in the 1950s and 60s. When customers became more demanding, their needs were taken into account. This changed to a more customer centric approach. Modern marketing is focused on creating value for the company, the customer and the wider society. Therefore, effective marketing must consider more than just the company. Do you watch Dragons Den?
Presentations of products or services which seemed to be a good idea but for which the entrepreneurs struggle to define their market or their customers. This leads to the key questions of marketing. How does a company know what to produce or which service is needed? Conducting detailed customer research is an essential aspect of marketing. Customer profiling gives organisations the information they need to develop their offers. Services and products are planned to meet customer needs, but at the same time they also need to be different from those offered by competitors. So marketing offers companies a range of structured approaches to balance customer needs, company resources and competitive influences. Firms do not operate as standalone entities.
They are influenced by the decisions of their competitors, the government, their shareholders, and other stakeholders. These influences must be taken into account. The current COVID crisis is showing clearly just how important such external influences can be for organisations. Once a product or service is designed, it needs to be promoted to customers. Even the best product or service offering is not much use if no one knows about it. Product and services need to be promoted. The brand message needs to be communicated to customers. Of course customers do not only react promotions. Their decisions also depend on price, quality, perceptions and many other factors. Most notably whatever people in their peer group buy.
Marketers look at all of these factors and design, product or service bundles which are attractive to certain consumer groups. Product or services then have to be delivered to the customer in a timely and resource efficient manner. This can involve different steps. Products may need to go through a supply chain from the producer to wholesaler to retailer, or they may be sold directly to the end consumer or be sold online. Different models present firms with different challenges. Marketers attempt to make the best choices based on the company’s resources and customer demands Finally, marketing includes looking at the figures, which advertising is effective, which forms of social media or online advertising works best?
Is the price too high or is the price too low? Is the production cost effective and could delivery methods be rationalised? These and many other questions are included in marketing planning.

This short course will introduce you to current definitions of marketing, the evolution of marketing and the concepts of marketing strategy, objectives and planning.

Your task

What do you expect from this course and what would you like to achieve by the end? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Checking your progress

When you reach the end of a step and have understood everything, select the ‘mark as complete’ button. This will update your progress page and will help you to keep track of which steps you’ve done. Any steps you’ve completed will turn blue on your ‘to do’ list.

You can check your progress page by selecting the icon at the top of the step. There you’ll see what percentage of the course steps you’ve marked as complete.

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Strategic Marketing: Marketing Orientation and the Marketing Planning Process

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