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marketingconceptThe marketing concept is the commonly held idea that companies achieves success by meeting the needs of their customers.  Organizations that hold this belief readily acknowledge that customers are the driving force behind their businesses.  The marketing concept is an integral part of the marketing plan. Get help with creating your business marketing plan in this class. Success is directly correlated to what the customer wants.  So this begs the question; how do you know what customers need and want?

First, let’s define the difference between these two terms:

Needs – A need is a basic requirement essential to one’s survival.  Examples include food, water, shelter, affection, self-worth, etc.  Customers’ needs can be broad.

Wants – A desire for something that one could live without. Examples include a larger home, an iPod, a new car, etc.  While customer needs are vast, their wants are often very specific.

Needs and wants go hand in hand with consumer buying decisions.  For example, if the customer is hungry, then they need food.  In theory, almost any food will do because it will nourish their body.  But, the customer will have a specific type of food in mind.  While they could eat off the dollar menu at McDonalds, what they really want is the big juicy burger from the bar and grill around the corner.  This is where marketers can step in.  Marketers can recognize what customers need and use the desire of what they want to steer customers toward certain products or services.

What the Customer Wants

The marketing concept is about matching a company’s capabilities with consumer wants. This matching process takes place in what is called the marketing environment.  Businesses that do this on a consistent basis can start relying on their brand name to bring customers in. Consider getting help building your business brand here. Businesses do not undertake marketing activities alone. They face threats from competitors and changes in the political, economic, social, and technological environments. All of 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.

While needs are instinctual, wants are based off of social, cultural, and economic pressures largely stemmed from marketing endeavors.  These pressures lead to customer demand.  Consumer demand is characterized by the want for a specific product or service and the customer’s willingness to pay for it.  For example, many customers want a Rolex watch but few are able to and willing to pay for it.

Businesses are faced with a dilemma.  They must create products and services that customers want but they also must price the products and services at prices that customers are willing to pay.

Demand in the Market

In a broad sense, market demand is the combination of all potential customers’ demands for a specific product or service in a specific market.  Market demand is only one half of the market though.  Its sister half is the market supply.  The law of demand illustrates that customers are willing to buy a lot of something at a lower price and less of the same thing at a higher price.  This is captured graphically with a negative sloping line.

Companies cannot create customer needs and rarely can they create the social influence around how customer needs are influenced.  They can however influence customer demand by creating products and services that are attractive, affordable, quality, and readily available.  Businesses communicate these features through marketing promotion and advertising.  Businesses with a marketing orientation have adopted the marketing concept.

Competition is Out There

Competition awareness is imperative when developing a marketing concept for a particular product or service.  For example, two different companies can be selling similar wine glasses at the same price.  But, if Company A does a better job of communicating with customers that its brand and product are better choices, then they will sell more wine glasses than Company B.  In order for Company A to do this, they must focus on the wine glasses’ unique selling proposition. If you need to brush-up on your selling techniques, try taking this professional selling course.

The unique selling proposition communicates the benefit of the product or the service to customers.  For example, Company A’s wine glasses are a little bit taller allowing for larger wine pours.  This product can now standout because customers do not have to worry about refilling their glasses as often and can focus more on their guests.  To increase the validity of this proposition, Company A can include a customer testimonial on the wine glasses’ packaging.

Marketing communication is creative by design but be careful of going over the top or making false claims.  All communication surrounding a product or service should be well thought out and strategic.  Advertising needs to spark an interest and motivate your target market to act.  For example, some advertising can attract attention but then moments later the product or service is forgotten.  Great marketing keeps the product or service at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

Because the needs and desires of the target market change over time, the constant creation of new ideas to keep your brand relevant is essential to the marketing concept.  For example, with the increase of mobile devices, many consumers are looking up product and service information on company websites.  You want to make sure that your website is mobile compatible or responsive so customers will have good experience interacting with your brand on their mobile phones and tablets. You can learn more about creative guerrilla marketing techniques with this class.


In short, the marketing concept is important because it defines how your company will drive business and flourish. It states that a company’s primary job is to satisfy the needs of the customer. This is accomplished by determining what the market wants and then best adapting your product or service to match.  To achieve this aim, everyone in the company must be dedicated to customer satisfaction. It is also important to note that the company must remain profitable while satisfying customer needs.  A business must target consumers who they can actually serve sufficiently.  This is business after all and short-term profitability is just as important as long-term profitability.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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