If you can think of a blog as a market, then this (and future blog posts) represents the product that I am putting into the exchange. Your reading it is the price you pay (but I really hope my writing isn't that bad).
In each blog, I'll summarize the lectures and mention examples from my own experiences with business marketing. See what I just did there? I promoted my product! The places I will deliver AND promote my product are on Twitter and in the Coursera discussion forums--and, of course, this RebelMouse blog itself.
Now that I've subtly introduced the Four P's of Marketing, I will return to beginning: What is marketing? Professor Kahn defined it as the study of markets, with markets representing an exchange, usually between a buyer and a seller, of some good or service. Although simple, that definition doesn't quite align with my virgin view of marketing as a verb (that's almost synonymous with advertising) and not a field of study.
So based on Dr. Kahn's otherwise solid lecture notes,* here is my definition of marketing:
Marketing is all the things you do when you're trying to sell something, including, but not limited to, how you promote or place it.
What are some things sellers do? Focusing on for-profit companies, I'll attempt to explain Dr. Kahn's four types of marketing orientations:
- Product Orientation. A product-focused company focuses on--surprise--the product. It tries to increase profit margins and gain larger market share by innovating, selling in volume, lowering operational and manufacturing costs, and convincing the customer why its product is better than the competition's. From personal experience, I would put McDonald's, Google, GM Motors, and Spirit Airlines in this category. These are all companies I patronize mainly because I like their product, not because they like me. Such companies focus on Product Differentiation, one of the three principles of marketing.
- Customer Orientation. Customer-focused companies focus on delivering "value" (still not quite sure how to neatly define this word) to its chosen set (or segment) of customers. By doing so, it can charge a premium price, commensurate with the "value" the customer perceives he or she is getting in exchange. Instead of market share, such companies aim to increase customer loyalty (thus reducing customer acquisition costs) and to cross-sell to its repeat customers. Customer-focused companies I've dealt with include Allen Edmonds, Costco, and Amazon. (I'm happy to defend these choices, but not right now.) These companies in particular apply the marketing principles of Customer Value and Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.
- Experience Orientation. Thanks to globalization, the internet, and social media, some companies are wise enough to know they need to be transparent and manage the customer's entire experience, not just the transaction/exchange. In this way, the customer becomes a co-creator of the product. I would put Southwest Airlines (see image above), Amazon, Hampton Inn, and most mobile app developers into this category.
- Trust Orientation. I'm not 100% sure on this one, but I suppose that Trust-based companies go a step further by developing relationships with their customers, not just responding to isolated experiences. They deliver "genuine value" by cutting costs and being disciplined. I suppose I would put Aldi's and Uber into this category? Companies in this category would likely focus on all three marketing principles.
*All due respect to Dr. Kahn and the other instructors, Wharton, and Coursera. Any glib comment that appears above (or below) is only done for reading effect and not to insult or criticize. In fact, I invite critiques from them, my fellow classmates, and the real experts out there.