The Importance of Marketing Management to SMEs

Philip Kotler, the acknowledged guru of marketing, defines marketing as: "a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value with others".


Others have said that a business marketing skills can launch a new era of high economic growth and living standards.


Both ideas are built upon the Marketing Concept that was introduced in the mid-1950s, which states: "The marketing concept holds that key to achieving organizational goals consists in determining the needs and wants of target markets and delivering the desired satisfaction more effectively and efficiently than competitors".


The marketing concept is a fundamental idea of marketing that small businesses survive and prosper through meeting needs and wants of customers.  The  marketing  concept  is  about  matching  a  company's  
capabilities  with customer  wants.


What are customers wants?  A  want  is  a  desire  for  a  specific product and/or service  to  satisfy the  underlying  need. Customer wants are usually quite narrow.   For example: when people are thirsty, they choose a drink to quench their thirsts. 


Again quoting Kotler, "Marketing management is accomplished by carrying out marketing research, planning, implementation, and control". Meaningful marketing and strategic planning relies on management's ability to develop

and maintain a marketing information system and have the skills to carry out sound marketing research.

In simpler terms, Marketing Management is the management process of:

  • determining the customer needs /wants;
  • developing the product and/or service to satisfy the needs or wants;
  • developing the processesto reach the customers;
  • determine the methods to distribute the products and/or service;
  • creating a place for transaction of the product and/or service with the customers.

and in the final analysis, satisfying  the  customer's needs or wants.

Most organizations in the local environment use some element of marketing which include:-

  • Market research (consumer needs and consumer satisfaction)
  • Product testing
  • Test Marketing
  • Development of Market Planning
  • Sales Planning
  • Distribution Planning
  • Advertising planning
  • Sales Promotions Planning
  • Merchandising Planning
  • Retail marketing

The benefits to those organizations can be identified as follows:-

Market research helps to determine:

  • What consumer needs are?
  • How much would they need and when?
  • What the potential market is for the business?
  • The reaction of customers to the product.

Product testing helps to develop new products and enhance existing products.

Test Marketing and Development of Market Planning helps the business to find and develop strategies and methods to take the product and/or services to customers.

Sales and Distribution Planning helps the business to make their products and/or services widely available to their targeted customers.  

Advertising, Sales Promotions and Merchandising helps the business to create awareness and influence the customer to buy available products and/or services.

Retail marketing helps the business to improve the availability of the product at the point of sale.

Many small businesses shy away from marketing because they think they are being pushy or that they seem desperate. In fact, they should think of marketing as a way to alert those people who really need their product and/or services.

Marketing can be simple. It is all about building customer relationships and maintaining those relationships. Marketing can be as simple as tapping into a social network and asking people to help. The importance of marketing to any business venture cannot be underestimated.  It is a disservice to customers when businesses have something to offer that they could benefit from, but they do not know about it.

Small businesses people should not ascribe to the theory that "if they build it they will come".  If people do not know about your business, and what product and/or services being offered, not only does the business lose, but the customer also loses out on what could be a much needed product and/or service.




Marketing Management (13th Edition) by Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller

"The Importance of Marketing"; by Alvah Parker


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