This is part one of the marketing principles in the hospitality industry. This is a basic outline of the marketing process, and more detail will be given in the follow-up posts.
What is Marketing?
‘The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim is to know and understand the customer so that the product and service fits and sells itself.’
Marketing can be described as giving your customers what they want at the right price, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right type of information, so that they can make an informed choice over that of a competitor to accept your product.
The core principles of marketing
Below are the core concepts of marketing that anyone wishing to market their business should understand:
- the needs, wants and demands of customers
- the products that you offer
- giving value, customer satisfaction and quality when selling a product
- the exchange of the product from the supplier to the customer
- the market
Many businesses still assume that if they manufacture creative, high-quality, and good-value goods and services, consumers would knock down their doors trying to purchase the product. This is known as the product concept. As fast as we can produce products the consumer will buy, but:
- the product has to be designed properly
- it has to be priced to suit the market
- consumers have to be told about the product
- it has to be packaged in such a way that it appeals to the consumer
- the consumer needs to know where to find it
The product concept is flawed in that it has people focusing on the product and not necessarily on people’s needs.
The selling concept on the other hand focuses more on selling products to consumers. Often companies following this concept forget to focus on what the consumer really wants and they often fail to build long term relationships with the customer.
The marketing concept focuses on the consumer’s needs. The marketing concept contends that if the consumer’s needs are identified and products and services developed to satisfy these needs more efficiently than a competitor, the company’s goals will be achieved.
Companies that are driven by the marketing concept would be engaging in the following activities:
identifying product (goods or services) opportunities through analysis of the market and identifying how these can achieve the hotel goals and objectives, as well as developing a marketing strategy to suit the marketing concept;
- identifying the target market through market research, as this will give the hotelier information regarding needs, wants, tastes and preferences of their customers; and
- developing a marketing mix, which will ensure that the product is priced correctly, given enough promotion, and that correct and suitable channels were identified.
Developing a marketing strategy
The marketing strategy will include the following:
- researching and analyzing the market through market research;
- identifying and establishing the size and scope of the market;
- developing the marketing mix that will suit the target market;
- identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT);
- developing a plan for all marketing activities within the company; and
- identifying how the plan will be controlled to ensure that the objectives or goals are achieved.
Market research is a function that allows marketing managers to gain information regarding the markets that they have chosen, in order to identify the needs of the consumers.
Marketing research helps the marketing manager to identify and define problems and evaluate their marketing efforts. For example, a hotel wanting to change the concept of the restaurant would first solicit a response from the customers about the proposed change. They would use market research before embarking on a new concept that, in reality, may not satisfy the customers’ needs. This would lead to the customer using another restaurant.
The main aims of market research is therefore to:
- identify needs of the target market;
- gain response to the marketing mix (product, place, price and promotion);
- gain vital information about competition; and
- gain information about the environment.
Having said this, each time you research the market, specific objectives will be developed for your research.
Here are examples of the types of questions that the marketing manager would want answered when planning products or developing a marketing plan.
- Why will the customer buy my product?
- How unique should my product be; does the customer want exclusiveness or not?
- What level of service does the customer require?
- Do customers compare prices or do they buy on impulse?
- How seasonal is the business? Does the product have steady sales throughou the year?
- What motivates the customer to buy the product?
- Who makes the purchasing decision and who makes the actual purchase?
- Who uses the product and why?
- Are people that use the product brand conscious? Or price conscious?
- Is the target market responsive to selling and advertising and what type is best?
- How important is the location, and do customers desire certain surroundings?
- What level of quality will the customer pay for?
These are general questions that you can use to develop into specific questions that you might use for your marketing research.