Marketing

From the Store to the ShopperYou may have heard these words sung on radio and television to the tune by Marvin Hamlisch. It is the theme of a major supermarket's (Safeway) latest national advertising campaign. This high-quality advertising campaign is aimed at increasing traffic in the stores and improving the supermarket's image. Radio, television and newspaper ads are only one aspect of an overall marketing strategy. Many other marketing activities relate to improving one's performance in the market place. Before exploring these, let's pause a minute and reflect upon a business activity called " marketing".

A Working Definition of Marketing

Marketing can be defined as "the activities of a business to acquire knowledge of the market place and improve its performance." The primary measure of performance is satisfying customer needs by meeting, exceeding and anticipating their requirements. If a firm can manage customer satisfaction appropriately (within certain resource and time considerations), it will achieve "profit" as the ultimate result. After all, maximizing profits is dear to the shareholders of a company. The business processes and tasks that make up marketing include marketing information, product development, pricing, distribution and promotion.

Marketing Information

A company needs to have timely, accurate, well-organized data so it can make decisions based on information that has a high degree of integrity. The types of information a company is interested in include knowledge about customers and their buying patterns, knowledge about competitors, and knowledge about the market factors affecting the business. Companies obtain that information by using secondary sources (materials that are already published) or by gathering their own primary data (mainly through marketing research).

Safeway is rich in primary data on the movement of competitive food and consumer products in most U.S. markets through the availability of scanner data. Data is obtained on each product that is purchased by a consumer at a Safeway store when the food clerk "scans" the UPC (an acronym for Universal Product Code) at the cash register. Safeway is in a position to use that information strategically to promote its performance in the market place.