A combination of events led to marketing as an industry. The first influence was that the ‘roaring twenties’ had developed an abundance of products. The idea that a good product will sell itself was no longer true. The competition for buyers became increasingly competitive, and producers needed to increase awareness of their products. If there was no interest or need in a product, an advertising campaign might carry the company through the first wave of purchases, but after that there would be little chance of improving sales. Producers had to develop a system of market research where they could determine what the purchasing public wanted and needed. Once a company had that information, they could develop the product, and then direct sales at the targeted buyers. The business of marketing took hold. If a group of potential buyers could be found for a product, the product could be better designed to suit the needs of the user. By locating a group of buyers before staring an advertising campaign, the advertising could be styled to reach the specific group and the producer would have a better chance of launching a successful product. Marketing would provide a service for both sides of the business world, the seller and the buyer.
Marketing is now a major part of business. Product development, manufacturing, and sales are all directly involved with marketing. Most large companies have their own marketing departments. Smaller companies may choose to use outside marketing services. In every case, companies with a product to sell will have someone with marketing skills helping them make decisions. Field interviewers start the work for the marketing department. Interviewers gather the date that will be used to determine information about a product. Using small-group interviewing techniques, interviewers ask potential buyers a series of questions designed to gather such information as whether people need a particular product, what people think of the product name, and if consumers have tried a similar product.
Secondary data is information provided by previously gathered polling. Government surveys or independent surveys by universities and such are all sources of secondary data. The big benefit to using statistics gathered by others is that it is much less expensive than gathering the information first hand. However, it will not provide insight into specific questions for a specific product, and that is when primary data research is required.
Given the vast number of products on the market today, research will normally start long before a product is developed. There is a little sense in developing a product that no one wants. For example, the competition for the new product will be checked out to see if there is room in the market for another similar item. The difference that the new product will have over the current products will be examined as well. This will be done for a new brand of green beans, a textbook for schools, a car, a magazine, a television show, or a new opera company. If a product or service is going to be sold to the public, chances are a marketing team will look into the sales potential before the public even hears of the item.
In order to determine the potential sales and competition for a new product, the marketing department will talk to the producers about what they had in mind. This is part of sales business development jobs. Armed with information about what the market goal is, the marketing department goes to work compiling information about what already exists in the marketplace for that product. How much the other products cost, how well they sell, and how long they have been selling, are all questions to be answered. For example, a new magazine will look at its competitors on the market. The marketing department will look at other similar magazines and determine such information about how many magazines they sell, how much the magazines cost, how long they have been in business, and whether their business increasing or decreasing. The hardest question to answer is on the likelihood of sales - if there is enough interest by the public to purchase a new magazine on this topic. For a small company, or company that is starting with a new product, there is much larger to start-up cost in marketing endeavors.
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