MAL 25/18 MAL25/18 - Page 54

were creating and the logistics needed to get the products to the markets. As the production capacity increased and production processes improved, economies of scale were achieved, prices came down and demand for products grew at an exponential rate domestically and in new settler markets especially America. This was when the marketing P for product and the marketing P for place were the most important. The demand was there, the products were there, the only challenge was to get the product to the places they were required. Distribution was key to success. The market responded with great improvements in logistics spearheaded by the locomotive trains that opened new frontiers for commerce as raw material could now be transported in bulk and the manufactured goods could be delivered to markets. The need to power locomotives and vehicles led to the discovery of oil fields, especially in America, that was really the reason that country was able to leap-frog the European counterparts and emerge as an economic powerhouse that drove the world. Soon the focus switched from production and onto the products themselves and differentiation became the new mantra as manufacturers competed to offer products in many variations. Marketers spent millions on research and development to get the consumer just the right product. The product orientation had set and it averred that consumers had a preference for products that had better quality, better performance and better features. The era of the mass produced goods that were just functional but did not stand out was eclipsed. Soon industries were operating at full throttle and the new markets had adequately been served, innovations had put even more differentiated products on the shelves and services on offer at increasingly affordable prices and at a faster rate that pushing the product became the challenge. There were now far too many products 52 MAL25/18 ISSUE There are the real quacks who have done a certificate or been a merchandiser in a supermarket pro- motion and are now passing themselves off as marketers. The ability of any person to practice without formal qualification is the real danger to the profession long time it completely dominated the marketing platform and it gave birth to the big misnomer of the title of Sales and Marketing Manager. A subset had become the whole. available that had to be matched with the available markets and that was the birth of the sales orientation. It was now necessary to go out and find the customer that needed your product. This gave rise to the next marketing stage where it was felt that the customer who was supposed to be at the core of marketing had been sidelined as the salesman run roughshod on the consumer. The logic was that if you asked the consumer what he wanted beforehand, you would have an easier time selling. The glut that had been created by mass production and the attendant lowering of costs meant that the manufacturers could afford to lower their prices and still make a huge profit due to volume sales. The merchants also had leeway in determining the price they could offer the market. This is when the P of promotion and the P of Price came into prominence and the famous definition of marketing as the provision of the right product, at the right price with the right promotion at the right place was first used. This was also destined to be the golden age of marketing because the P of promotion included sales and advertising, the two ingredients that were to shape the nature of marketing for decades and what made America the powerhouse of marketing. We hear stories of great salesmen, the type that were famed as being able to sell ice to Eskimos and their counterparts in the advertising agency who become legend due to the creativity of their word smiths and artists who turned marketing into a fine art. So great was the status of salesmanship in the American context that for a But the era of the swashbuckling salesman was coming to an end as was poignantly portrayed in the Arthur Miller book titled ‘The death of a salesman’ which chronicles the last twenty four hours of a New York salesman in the late 1940’s, unable to accept changes in himself and the society at large. The title suggests a coming to an end of a great period of economic growth and the ensuing loss of identity and a feeling of the world caving in and heralds a new era where the salesman is not the king of the roost but an expendable entity whose demise goes unnoticed. We had by now entered the marketing orientation and what companies were doing was to analyze their customer needs and find ways to satisfy those needs better than the competition. We would like to think that this where most of the companies operate but experience says otherwise. What we need to note is that the different orientations are not chronological but are developmental. One is supposed to graduate from one orientation to the other as the need arises and not that the whole world migrates in unison. Today there are many companies that are still in the production orientation. Those companies that are a natural monopoly like power companies and gas suppliers are still concerned about providing their products and services by making them widely available and inexpensive. The companies on this orientation are still concentrating on attaining high production efficiency, trying to reduce their production costs and still endeavor to aim at achieving mass distribution.