The Marketing and Sales function
Advantage Sales and Marketing! The Marketing and Sales function is the function that is most in contact with the consumers that we are.
A few meters in the street are enough to meet advertising posters, and a few meters in a store are enough before meeting a salesman!
This function is more and more important in companies because it allows improving their results.
The Marketing and sales function: what definition for what issues?
The Marketing and Sales function brings together all the activities and processes, enabling a company to:
- Understand consumer expectations and the market situation in which it operates;
- To try to influence the behavior of consumers in the direction of its objectives.
Advantage Sales and Marketing! The importance of the Marketing and Sales function can be understood at several levels:
- From a financial standpoint, market studies make it possible to choose the products that will be the most profitable for the company.
- On the commercial level, a good study of consumer expectations will make it easier to sell products.
- From a strategic point of view, the Marketing and Sales function makes it possible to avoid confrontation with competitors by selecting the customers and products most suited to the characteristics of the company.
What tasks within the Marketing and Sales function?
The Marketing and Sales function is divided into two main kinds of tasks, which are upstream and downstream of product design.
Upstream of product design: strategic marketing
Before designing a product, the company should ask what consumers want.
- Understand consumer expectations and the market situation in which it operates to try to influence the behavior of consumers in the direction of its objectives.
- Its objective is therefore initially to better understand the market in which it intends to sell its product.
The company is then looking for two types of information:
- What consumers expect: what are their needs? What do they like about the products? How do they consume?
- What the competitors are doing: who are the competitors? What products do they sell? At what price? To which customers?
Advantage Sales and Marketing! Once this information has been collected, the company will decide what its positioning will be.
The company will therefore define what the specific characteristics of the product will be in order to make it unique in the minds of future consumers.
Downstream from product design: operational marketing and sales
Once the prototype of the product (or service) has been designed, we enter the operational marketing phase.
There are four main variables on which to act.
The 4 Ps
The English call these variables the 4 Ps, Product — Price — Place — Promotion:
- The Product variable: this involves seeing which product characteristics are the most important for the customer: size, quality, lifespan, etc.
- The price variable: this involves determining the price that will allow the sale of large quantities of the product without degrading its image in terms of quality.
- The Distribution variable (place): this involves determining the distribution channels (ie the types of stores) in which the products must be sold. If the stores are not suitable (selling sneakers in a hairdressing salon), sales will be lower.
- The Communication (promotion) variable: involves making the product known to as many people as possible by using the most appropriate advertising media (television, internet, radio, mail).
The Marketing function: debates and perspectives
Marketing and ethics
The ability of the Marketing function to understand and influence consumer behavior is not without its challenges.
Since the 1970s, consumer associations have been highlighting the dependence of certain customers on brands and the dangers of the omnipresence of advertising.
Indeed, some people do not hesitate to go into massive debt to buy products that they do not need, but that advertisements make artificially essential.
In search of a loyal customer
Even if the Marketing function, as an independent function is relatively recent, it has nevertheless followed some developments.
Until the 1980s, sales and distribution were essentially based on a single transaction logic. But companies have realized the need to keep customers loyal to their brand and their products.
Indeed, it is much less expensive for a company to keep a loyal customer than to find a new customer. The focus is now on the relationship with the customer, to ensure that they are satisfied and that they are ready to buy back the company’s products. We then speak of relationship marketing.