The core marketing system of a company comprises the suppliers, company, marketing intermediaries and target customers. The success of the company is also affected by competitor’s presence and other segments of public. The management has to watch and plan for all these factors to serve and satisfy the specified set of needs of a chosen target market.
- Supplier selection:
A company has to choose suppliers who offer the best mix of quality, delivery schedule, guarantee and low cost. Say, a firm involved in manufacturing confectioneries has to procure sugar; cocoa, caramel, milk powder etc., Labor, equipment, fuel, electricity and other factors of production are also to be obtained. If the company’s product has a good market, it can opt for continuous production. If it is a growing firm, it cannot go for voluminous production, but only supply goods against confirmed orders. In either case, the choice of suppliers is determined by one major factor called ‘cost’. Of course,one can never compromise on quality and so the company has to decide whether to purchase the inputs or make its own.
The relationship of a company with the suppliers should be of a long-term nature, since any sudden change in the supplier’s environment will have a substantial impact on the company’s marketing operations. Sudden supply shortages, labor strikes and other events can interfere with the fulfillment of delivery promises to customers. This will result in sales decline in the short run and loss of goodwill in the long run. Back orders lead to loss of customers and in course of time their trust. The business firms must plan for alternate source of supply to avoid the risk of over-dependence on any one source of supplier.
The marketing department has to work in tandem with the other departments of the company, namely, finance, production, personnel and research and development, while designing and implementing its marketing plans.
Finance department – has to be consulted for the funds available to carry out the marketing plans.
Production department – to gauge market demand and to decide on the supply of products based on demand.
R and D – new product development.
- Marketing intermediaries:
Channel members are the link between the company and the customers. Agents and middlemen find customers who are wholesalers or retailers to take on the title and sell the merchandise. Also there are physical distribution firms who assist in stocking and moving goods from the warehouse to the destinations. The marketing executives have to deal with these intermediaries prudently in order to enhance the operational efficiency of the marketing function. Logistic firms, shippers and airliners help to move the goods from one location to another.
All the business firms in a particular market segment vie for the same resources and customers. A car manufacturing company in an automobile industry has to compete with other car manufacturers as well as with two wheelers. This implies that competition may come in different forms and each company has to identify potential threat from competitors, study their activities and capture their moves to win over the competition.
A company has to keep a watch on people’s preferences to satisfy their requirements and also companies are expected to give back something to the society in the form of social welfare measures. People belonging to different culture groups with differing attitudes, lifestyles and tastes have a great impact on a company’s ability to achieve its objectives.
Markets whether homogeneous or heterogeneous must serve the purpose of satisfying the customers by providing more than what is being asked for. This discussion is with relevance to the factors that rule the micro environment of a marketing plan and there are greater forces in the outer environment looming large, say, social, political, legal, environmental and the like, which have to be tactically handled by the management to overcome the challenges and exploit the opportunity.