There are five different marketing concepts under which business enterprises conduct their marketing activity. These concepts are;

1)     Production concept

2)     Product concept

3)     Selling concept

4)     Marketing concept

5)     Societal concept

Let us learn them in detail.


Production Concept

This is probably the oldest concept. Some businessmen believe that the consumers are interested only in low priced, easily and extensively available goods. The finer points of the product are not very important to them. So the producers believe they must concentrate only in efficient (economical) and extensive (large scale) production. A company which believes in this approach concentrates on achieving high production efficiency and wide distribution coverage.

Organisations may adopt this concept in two types of situations:


i)     When the demand for the product is higher than the supply, you can sell more if you increase production. Here the main concern of the management is to find ways to increase production to bridge the demand and supply gap.

ii)    When the cost of the product is high and increase in production is going to bring down the cost due to economies of scale. The organisations which adopt this concept are typically production oriented concerns. Production and engineering departments play an important role in this situation. Such organisations have only sales departments to sell the product at a price set by production and finance departments.


Product Concept

As against the production concept, some organisations believe in product concept. The product concept implies that consumers favour those products that offer the most quality, performance and features. They also believe that consumers appreciate quality features and will be willing to pay 'higher' price for the 'extra' quality in the product or service made available. Hence, those companies which believe in this concept concentrate on product and its improvement. But, while improving the product they rarely take into consideration the consumers' satisfaction and his multifarious needs. Even when new products are planned, the producer is concerned more with the product and less with its uses or the consumer needs. For example, a biscuit manufacturer produced a new brand of biscuits with good ingredients, colour, packaging, etc., without taking into account consumer tastes and preferences. This may fail in the market if the buscuit does not taste good to the ultimate consumer.


Selling Concept

Sometimes the main problem of the enterprise is not more production, but to sell the output. Similarly, a better product may not assure success in the market. Hence, selling assumes greater importance. So some producers believe that aggressive persuasion and selling is the crux of their business success, and without such aggressive methods they cannot sell and survive. Therefore, attention is paid to find ways and means to sell. They also believe that customers left to themselves will not buy enough of organisation's products and services, and hence considerable promotional effort is justified. Thus, the selling concept assumes that consumers on their own will not buy enough of organisation's products, unless the organisation undertakes aggressive sales and promotional efforts. Many insurance agents, sales persons of certain electrical gadgets, health drinks, soft drinks, and fund raisers for social or religious causes come under this category.

Sale is the index of success of marketing as well as production efforts. The marketers who believe in sales concept often forget that the consumers buy goods to fulfil certain needs. After the sale, what happens or how the consumer feels is not their concern. They may not expect the customer to come again to buy the product. They may go to new target consumers rather than building up a network of satisfied customers. Some firms facing with excess production also adopt selling concept. There are fair as well as unfair persuasive means adopted in this process. But the purpose behind all such action is selling more. Sales executives or sales department assumes greater importance in sales concept compared with production concept and product concept.


Marketing Concept

In an evolutionary process, many organisations have come to change their focus and to see their marketing tasks in a broader perspective. Marketing concept is considered a business philosophy wider in its implications. Under the marketing concept, the organisation considers the needs and wants of consumers as the guiding spirit and the delivery of such goods and services which can satisfy the consumer needs more efficiently and effectively than the competitors. It is also said that the marketing concept is consumer orientation with the objective of achieving long run profits. It is a modern marketing philosophy for dynamic business growth. In other words, under this concept, the task of marketing begins with finding what the consumer wants, and produce a product which will meet that want and provide maximum satisfaction. Implicitly, the consumer is the boss or king who dictates. The focus which moved from the product to selling, now rests with the consumer.

When organisations practice the marketing concept, all their activities (manufacturing, finance, research and development, quality control, distribution, selling, etc.) are directed to satisfy the consumer. Consumer satisfaction becomes a single value which becomes the core of corporate culture in such organisations. Companies produce what consumers want and, thus, satisfy consumers and make profits.

Those companies which have attained a certain maturity and which could see far beyond the immediate future adopt this concept. Some companies may not adopt this concept because they feel that this may result in the decline of sales or profits in the short run and the long run profits in any case are unpredictable or uncertain. The companies which want to make 'quick-bucks' also do not adopt this concept. Even the departments within the organisation may not fully co-operate since they may not be 'convinced' about the advantages of following the marketing concept. In spite of these hurdles, it is now a world-wide experience. Companies which are successful, enjoy goodwill and grow in the long run are companies which have adopted the marketing concept as their business philosophy. These companies realised that a satisfied customer is the best advertiser for their product. Their profits are generated from the satisfaction of the customer and not only from the product or their selling efforts. In an economy like India with shortages in many goods as well as lack of resistance from the consumers,  the firms which practice the first three concepts also survive.


Societal Concept

With the growing awareness of the social relevance of business, there is an attempt to make marketing also relevant to the society. In a sense, marketing is not a business activity alone but must take into account the social needs. Excessive exploitation of resources, environmental deterioration and the customer movements in particular have necessitated the recognition of the relevance of marketing to the society. Marketing then must be a socially responsible or accountable activity. The societal concept holds that the business organisation must take into account the needs and wants of the consumer's satisfaction as well as the society's well being. The societal concept is an extension of the marketing concept to cover the society in addition to the consumer.

In effect, a company which adopts the societal concept has to balance the company profit, consumer satisfaction and interests of the soceity. The problem is almost the same as that of social responsibility of business. What is good for the society is a question to be decided. A voluntary acceptance of this concept is desirable for the long run survival of private business. An effective implementation of the societal concept will certainly enhance the goodwill of the business house. The business enterprises which believe in this concept will produce and market those goods and services which are beneficial to the society, those that do not pollute the environment, and give full value for the money spent.

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