Marketing Is Finding A Need, Not just Creating It

Philippine Daily Inquirer Business Features Section, November 8, 2002

Despite the stirring interest in marketing today, many have yet to appreciate its greater, more fundamental role as a strategic discipline in business. Much of the prevalent understanding continues to be associated to advertising and other forms of marketing communications.

Bold or simple illustrations; hilarious, straightforward or enigmatic copy; photographic or cartoon-like visuals; beautifully crafted music, sound and visual production are but some of the creative art forms to marketing. Yet, these remain to be the tip of iceberg and are purely the outcome of a careful study which is the science of marketing.

The limited knowledge of marketing as simply synonymous to advertising, public relations, special events and other types of marketing communications is understandable for these creative art forms are powerful, tangible evidences of marketing activities.

Beyond the art however, is the more rigid science of developing a successful business-building marketing campaign grounded on the following time-tested truths.

Truth No. 1. Marketing is the science of discovering a latent need.

Thebiggest fallacy is to think that marketing can create needs. On the contrary, marketing is the science of discovering an inherent, latent physiological need. In the process of responding to the latent need, the marketer creates a preference and desire for consumers to want a specific product or service. For example, the emergence of new markets, among them, the hand sanitizer and bottled water product categories, attest to the marketers response to a pressing latent need for products that address the consumers’ ever-growing concern about environmental safety and sanitation.

Truth No. 2. Marketing is the science of discovering a key consumer insight.

The dramatic success of a brand building campaign hinges on the discovery of a relevant and meaningful key consumer insight that becomes the basis for the product’s differentiating benefit and message carried across all creative forms of marketing communications.

In an effort to maintain Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce’s dominance in the tomato sauce market in 1986, the brand anchored its unique selling proposition on the Filipinos’ prevailing consumer belief that the best-tasting spaghetti can only come from Italy. Thus, was born Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce’s differentiating positioning as the Italian spaghetti sauce substantiated with seven herbs and spices. The message was best captured in TV commercials well-remembered until today i.e. nuns, Mafia and Michaelangelo.

The highlight of Star Margarine’s success was its successful marketing campaign Star Rice borne out of the insight culled from the usage habit of loyal users of the product who mixed the bread spread Star Margarine with rice for a more nutritious, healthy meal believing that it will help kids grow taller.

The insight that pre-teens want to be recognized for themselves, as independent individuals while on the throes of childhood and adulthood – no longer a child but not yet a full grown lady â€“ was the basis for Newtex successful introduction and eventual leadership in the market dominated by sanitary napkins for adult women. Newtex positioning talked about a sanitary napkin product for the emerging woman best captured in the selling line “Newtex, para sa nagdadalaga“.

Asian Hospital and Medical Center’s present positioning “patient centered care in a total healing environment” is grounded on the insight that if people can help it, they would rather stay out of the white, cold and sterile-looking, depressingfeeling interiors of traditional hospitals. Thus, was born the home away from home, restful healing environment of Asian Hospital.

Truth No. 3. Marketing is the science of making full good use of consumer market research validity tools.

Wizened marketers know how to make much full use of consumer market research tracking changes in lifestyle, habits, needs, wants, preferences, etc. of their target market. The perceptive marketer can draw relevant consumer insights from qualitative focus group researches, use findings from quantitative research in setting future directions in marketing and obtain indications for the right pricing levels from price sensitivity tests, among others.

Truth No. 4. Marketing is the science of developing and implementing a fully integrated strategic marketing plan.

Marketing is not just the art of creating high-impact television, radio and print advertisements nor mounting special events, public relations, outdoor and transit ads, direct marketing, etc. but it is the science of integrating a full product or service offer to the target market made possible by documenting the potential blueprint of a product or service in a strategic marketing plan. With the strategic marketing plan comes the detailed

study of the macro-environment and micro-environment; a description of the specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound marketing objective; the unique and differentiating product offer matched by value pricing; the logistics and channels of distribution; the fully integrated marketing communication plan not to mention the estimated revenue and expense associated with the plan.

Truth No. 5. Marketing requires the keen sensitivity and perceptiveness of an expert marketer much like hospitals require expert doctors, aircrafts need expert pilots, law firms have legal experts, etc.

Marketing necessitates a lot of investment financially and should not be the result of whimsical or flighty decision-making. Therefore, the reins of marketing should not be solely left to the neophyte nor the understudy. Related to this, the expert marketer must have the full mastery, competency and firmly grounded experience in the areas of marketing communications, market research, distribution and product development.