Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
It is a fundamental idea of marketing that organisations
survive and prosper through meeting the needs and wants of customers. This important perspective is commonly known as the marketing concept.
The marketing concept is about matching a company's
capabilities with customer wants. This matching process takes place
in what is called the marketing environment.
Businesses do not undertake marketing activities alone.
They face threats from competitors, and changes in the political, economic,
social and technological environment. All these factors have to be taken into
account as a business tries to match its capabilities with the needs and wants
of its target customers.
An organisation that adopts the marketing concept accepts
the needs of potential customers as the basis for its operations. Success
is dependent on satisfying customer needs.
What are customer needs and wants?
A need is a basic requirement that an individual
wishes to satisfy.
People have basic needs for food, shelter, affection, esteem
and self-development. Many of these needs are created from human biology and
the nature of social relationships. Customer needs are, therefore, very broad.
Whilst customer needs are broad, customer wants are usually
A want is a desire for a specific product or service
to satisfy the underlying need.
Consider this example:
Consumers need to eat when they are hungry.
What they want to eat and in what kind of environment will
vary enormously. For some, eating at
McDonalds satisfies the need to meet
hunger. For others a microwaved ready-meal meets the need. Some consumers
are never satisfied unless their food comes served with a bottle of fine
Consumer wants are shaped by social and cultural forces, the media and marketing
activities of businesses.
This leads onto another important concept - that of customer demand:
Consumer demand is a want for a specific product supported by an ability and willingness to pay for it.
For example, many consumers around the globe want a Mercedes. But relatively
few are able and willing to buy one.
Businesses therefore have not only to make products that consumers want,
but they also have to make them affordable to a sufficient number to create
Businesses do not create customer needs or the social status in which customer
needs are influenced. It is not McDonalds that makes people hungry. However,
businesses do try to influence demand by designing products and services
• Work well
• Are affordable
• Are available
Businesses also try to communicate the relevant features of their products
through advertising and other marketing promotion.
Which leads us finally to an important summary point.
A marketing orientated business is one that which has adopted the