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Marketing is the craft of linking the producers of a product or service with customers, both existing and potential. It is an inevitable and necessary consequence of capitalism. Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Marketing research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts.

What marketing involves

Contrary to the popular conception, marketing is not just about promotion -- it can be divided into four sections, often called the "four Ps". They are:

  • The Product management aspect of marketing relates to the specifications of the actual good or service, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants.
  • Pricing refers to the process of setting a price for a product.
  • Promotion, such as advertising, refers to the methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
  • Place or distribution refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point of sale placement or retailing.
These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix. A marketer will use these variables to craft a marketing plan. For a marketing plan to be successful, the mix of the four "p's" must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers in the target market. Trying to convince a market segment to buy something they don't want is extremely expensive and seldom successful. Marketers depend on marketing research to determine what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for. Marketers hope that this process will give them a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing management is the practical application of this process.

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