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When you think of marketing, do you wonder, “How hard can it be for people to sit around a table and come up with ideas to promote a product or service?” If you said, “Yes,” I would have agreed with you a year ago. However, since taking online courses in Principles of Marketing and Consumer Behavior through Central Community College (CCC), I discovered this is not the case at all.
The Principles of Marketing course provided the foundation for developing an effective marketing program including consumer behavior, and the Four Ps (product, pricing, place [distribution], and promotional strategies). The Consumer Behavior class gave an in-depth look at how human behavior affects buying decisions and other things such as marketing concepts of product positioning, segmentation, ethics, brand loyalty, shopping preference and social influences on increasingly diverse demographics of American consumers.
Marketing encompasses a multitude of processes. First, marketing must identify the needs of the target market. This may consist of individuals or organizations that share one or more characteristics such as gender, lifestyle, income and/or ethnic background.
Second, one must know what product or service they are marketing. This may include the quality of the product, brand name, how it is designed or packaged.
Third, the availability of the product or service needs to be located where it is convenient for the customers to purchase. For instance, would you rather go to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk or go to an actual dairy farm three hours down the road?
The next marketing mix component is price, which can serve as a signal of quality. For that reason, it is essential not to set pricing too high or too low. For example, a Dyson™ vacuum may cost $400 compared to a DirtDevil™ at $20. This may indicate the Dyson is comprised of high quality materials and functions more adequately than the DirtDevil.
Finally, marketing needs to develop a promotional strategy. Examples may include advertising, public relations, sales promotions and the use of social media.
Learning this allows me to look at my own position and workplace differently. I now understand the process and strategy that goes into marketing. By interacting with other students and learning about specific companies in my education, I have been able to apply some of these tactics to the real world.
It is also essential to be ethical and honest in all communications. For instance, is it okay to mislead customers in believing a particular type of bread is made with 100 percent whole wheat when in fact it is made with only 25 percent whole wheat? You be the judge. Marketing should provide customers with accurate and adequate information, which will enhance the chances of producing committed and brand-loyal customers through satisfaction. By providing this kind of information, the business demonstrates that it stands behind its products and is focused on satisfying customers rather than making a sale.
The instructors at CCC are dedicated to the success of their students, which is why they stress the importance for students to apply critical thinking and reasoning on assignments. This is also the reason that they are highly engaged in ensuring students participate in the online discussion forums. It allows the instructors to provide adequate feedback to students and to make sure students are comprehending the course.
Tracy is employed by Phelps Memorial Health Center in Holdrege as the Compliance Coordinator. She is a senior at CCC majoring in Business Administration and has an anticipated graduation date of December 2014.
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