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Identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs

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The term Marketing can be defined as ‘Identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs’; this can be of both actual and potential customers. There are five different principles of marketing, each of them explore different areas of the product and the organization.

Understanding customer needs

For a company to be successful it clearly needs to understand what it customers want and need, as by doing this they can maximize their sales and their profits. This includes having the right product at the right time, at the right price and in the right place. Only by successfully doing these things will an organization be able to make a profit.

Cadbury is very successful at this as it just about always satisfies their customer’s needs. Like for the Flake it mostly appeals to women so on occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day the Flake is far more popular in all of the confectionery shops. This shows that Cadbury is successfully selling their products at the right time, of which this also the time periods of their peak sales.

Cadbury are also very well known for their very competitive prices which are reasonable and in some cases far cheaper than other leading brands such as Nestle and Mars.

Cadbury are also very effective at putting their products in the right place as on the occasions such as Christmas, Easter and valentines day in many shops there are point of sale promotions which attract the customer to purchase the product as it is the first product they see when they enter the shop.

I think that Cadbury are extremely effective at understanding customer’s needs and this is reflected in their very high sales figures.

Co-ordinating functions to achieve marketing aims.

For a company to be successful its functions need to co-ordinate with each other, as by doing this the smooth running of the business is ensured and if these functions do work together it also means that it is more likely that the company can Identify, Anticipate and Satisfy customer needs.

In a company as large and as successful as Cadbury, it is very clear that their different functions/departments co-ordinate with each. This is because in order to satisfy their customers they need to produce the products that the customers want, Cadbury’s do this by carrying out market research to find out what customers want and what their opinions are. They then analyze this information and co-ordinate with other functions such as Finance, Research and development and Finance to see whether what the customers want is possible and affordable.

Therefore by doing this Cadbury are satisfying their customers but at the same time the co-ordination of the functions also helps to prevent any errors such as marketing spending too much money as they would need to co-ordinate with the Finance function before they spent any money on anything.

Adopting a Marketing Approach

Most organizations can be categorized as either ‘Product orientated’ or ‘Customer orientated’. If a company is product orientated it means that the company focuses mainly on their products rather than the market, however this can lead to a down fall for the business because markets change all of the time as customers change and technology changes.

If a company is Customer orientated it means that they are the opposite to what a product orientated company does, so basically they focus more on the market, adjusting to suit customer needs. They usually want to find out what the customers want, which is obviously helping to satisfy them.

Cadbury’s is definitely a ‘Customer Orientated’ company as it is always bringing out new products, of which many are designed from results from market research, so basically what the customers want may actually come true as Cadbury value their customers beliefs very strongly.

Effective customer communications

To fully satisfy customer needs a business needs to have effective communications with the customers.

This communication is the exchange of information to achieve mutual understanding. This could include the target audience of your product, as they would want to know-

* If the product exists.

* Where you can purchase it from.

* Details, e.g. what it does, price.

The customers can then use this to evaluate whether they think that they want the product/service.

Effective communication also involves the use of –

* Advertising

* Public relations.

* Sales promotions.

* Marketing activities.

Cadbury carries out quite a number of these as they advertise heavily, and usually at peak TV watching time, which attracts/influences customers. They also carry sales promotions as from time to time they lower prices and on some occasions bring out a limited edition product for very low price. They do this also for the attraction of customers but also to maintain the competitiveness. Cadbury is most probably the most well known company in the confectionery trade for their sales promotions and extensive advertising.

Constraints on marketing activities.

To achieve marketing objectives such as ‘to satisfy customers’ other objectives may be threatened. This is because customers all want –

* Good products and services.

* Very low prices.

* Latest technology.

* Choice.

However if the customers were offered all of these it would mean that other objectives would be threatened. An example of this would be if the marketing department said lower prices but then the finance department found out that by doing this they would be making a loss and not a profit. They would have then failed an objective such as to ‘maintain excellent profits’.

It is possible however to overcome these constraints as with a company as large as Cadbury they can afford to do things such as lower prices for a period of time and not make a loss.

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