In short, marketing is "meeting needs profitably." The term is often used interchangeably with advertising or publicity and most importantly, sales. It encompasses many activities like advertising, promotion, product design, etc.
Earlier, a market was defined as a place where buyers, sellers, resellers, and intermediaries met for exchange of goods and services. At present it has witnessed drastic changes. Technological advances like the internet and e-commerce empowers the marketer to overcome geographical boundaries. The market has become a virtual world. There are markets dominated by products and services intended for general consumer like cars, soft drinks. These are generally referred to as consumer markets. Whereas in industrial markets the goods and services are not directly aimed at final consumers. They are aimed at buyers who purchase them for use in the production of other goods and services. There are other markets based on area categorised into local, national, and international markets. Markets could also be further categorised into perfect and imperfect markets based on the prevailing market condition.
It is the management process which facilitates the movement of goods and services. It differs from selling because "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about." It includes - estimating customer demand, needs, and wants and designing a product to satisfy them, promoting the product to educate/inform the customers, setting a price and making the product available to the customers.
American Association describes it as, "The performance of business activities that directs the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer."
It occurs when people decide to satisfy their needs and wants through the exchange of goods and services. It is the act of obtaining a desired object from someone by offering something in return. It alleviates individuals and groups to get what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and values with others. Needs could be physical, social or individual. Value is the benefit that the customer gains from owning and using a product compared to the cost of obtaining the product. A lot depends on consumers' perception about the value that different products or services are expected to deliver.
Marketers need to approach their customers in a scientific manner. Market research provides a basis for it as it is basically concerned with gathering data about the market. Advertising is a mass media tool. It is perhaps a very powerful tool in the hands of marketer. It attempts to inform, persuade, and remind customers about products and services. Sales promotion is a short term incentive to boost sales. It acts as a supplement to personal selling and advertising. Marketers use various sales promotion devices when product is launched. Sales planning involves the planning for market of the right products at the right prices. Sales operations is concerned with transferring of products to the customer point. Sales force management includes recruitment, training, direction and supervision, compensation and evaluation. Physical distribution covers handling and moving of products. The success of a company is known by its achievement in the marketing front, measured in terms of profit, market share and cash flow. It brings revenue and earns goodwill for a manufacturer or a marketer. It generates resources which accelerates the growth cycle of the country.