Marketing isn't something that happens in a vacuum. There are some marketing philosophies (or orientations) that govern a company's efforts.

This philosophy determines whether the corporation prioritizes the organization's, customers', or societal interests

There are five marketing orientations (or philosophies) under which a business conduct marketing activities. These are product, selling, market, societal marketing, and production orientation.

Production Orientation Or Concept

This is one of the oldest, if not, the oldest marketing concepts. 

The production concept is a marketing philosophy that assumes that consumers will prefer a product that is widely available and inexpensive.

The production oriented-approach was most common in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century when production was the primary role of business.

At that time, Manufacturers were in a supplier market and faced with an almost insatiable demand for their goods.

As a result, production-oriented companies focus on the internal capabilities of the business. They manufactured and supplied products they were good at producing instead of what the consumers require. 

In other words, producing goods was the number one priority while consumer needs and satisfaction were of secondary importance.

To produce more, production-oriented businesses focus on achieving high production efficiency by producing at a low cost. 

The production approach was successful at that time, partly, because consumers were more interested in obtaining the product than in its features.

However, with the 1920s and 1930s recessions, Many firms had to change their attitudes as production was no longer enough for making adequate sales. 

Production-oriented manufacturers who focus their attention on creating products and pay no attention to the changing needs of consumers began to experience little sales and, therefore, had to store some inventory in their warehouses.

Such manufacturers suffer from what is often referred to as marketing myopia, which is the shortsighted viewpoint where firms are so busy concentrating on their products that they fail to consider consumer needs.

Because production-oriented companies focus more on quantity than the quality of products, they tend to create low-quality products and services. Consequently,  they experience low sales.

Product Orientation Or Concept

This is also one of the oldest marketing orientations. It holds that consumers will prefer products that offer the most quality and performance to those that do not.

In other words, product orientation is the philosophy that consumers prefer products that offer the most in quality, performance, and innovative features.

Therefore, product-oriented companies channel all their focus and resources towards making superior products and continuously improving and innovating their product.

They believe consumers admire products that are properly made and constructed. They, however, do not consider consumer input. 

The basis of product orientation is that "product quality" is the key to achieving prosperity, growth, and survival.

Since product-oriented managers obtain little or no consumer input, they may produce goods that are exactly opposite to what the consumer needs.

Besides, a product-oriented approach usually leads to marketing myopia, which is the definition of business in terms of products and services offered rather than in terms of the benefits that consumers seek. 

An instance of marketing myopia played out in the film industry where film cinemas were busy concentrating on their product (film), rather than what the consumers wanted (entertainment). Had they concentrated on what the consumers truly wanted, they would have seen television as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Sales Orientation Or Concept

There is rarely any place where the great depression of the 1930s was not felt. Many companies failed and fortunes were lost.

Unemployment was high and aggregate demand slumped dramatically. Production capacity was underutilized and there were so many unsold goods.

Gradually, firms begin to realize that it was not enough to produce goods. They began to realize that they need to sell this good if they were to earn a profit.

As a result, the guiding philosophy of most companies switched from production orientation to sales orientation, where the salespersons became the most important person in the organization.

According to sales orientation, "People will buy more goods and services if aggressive sales techniques are used''.

This marketing philosophy assumes that customers and businesses typically show some form of buying inertia and therefore, must be wheedled into buying. 

In other words, sales orientation assumes that consumers would not buy adequate products and services unless they are coaxed into doing so viz large-scale selling and promotion efforts.

Sales-oriented companies usually possess a wide array of effective hard selling and promotion tools to stimulate more buying. Sale orientation is mostly common among industries with relatively unsought goods and services like insurance.

Firms in this industry have perfected the art of hard selling and promotion required to convince consumers to buy their products.

Sales orientation is also used when there is overcapacity. That is, companies have produced more than what is needed. As a result, they must convince the consumer to buy more than he wants to.

Sales-oriented company has just one objective, which is "to sell what they make rather than make what the market truly wants''

Hence, they focus on selling their product and do not pay attention to post-purchase satisfaction. In short, customer satisfaction is considered secondary to sales.

This approach is, however, not suitable for consumer retention. The reason is not farfetched.

A good salesperson can sell virtually anything to anyone, albeit once. For repeat sales, in the long run, the typical selling approach of the firm will not work as no consumer will buy a product he does not like no matter the salesperson's conviction.

Moreover, Sale-oriented companies may focus too much on selling their product and neglect product quality. And when consumers used and discovered the poor quality of the goods, they may badmouth it. This, of course, is not good for the long-run marketing plan of the company.

It is for this reason that more companies are  switching consumer-oriented approach— Marketing orientation

Market Orientation Or Concept

The market orientation is a business philosophy that assume that consumer needs are the central theme of business.

More precisely, market orientation is the philosophy that the only social  economic justification for an organization's existence is the satisfaction of customers' wants and needs while meeting the organizational goals.

It is a philosophy that assumes that sales depend on consumers' decisions to buy a product rather than the aggressive sales techniques that sales orientation suggests.

Market-oriented businesses are interested in creating, delivering, and communicating customer value to their target market. 

They identified the genuine needs and wants of a defined target market and then produce goods and services that satisfy this customer's needs more than their competitors do.

The market-oriented company produces goods that the consumer wants to buy rather than sell what the company wants to sell (as is the case with the sales orientation). 

In the simplest of words, they take a ''consumer-first'' approach

While sales-oriented companies focus on the need of the seller, Marketing oriented companies focus on the need of the buyer

The marketing orientation rest on these four pillars:

  • Target market: Companies should do well to choose their target market to prepare marketing programs and packages that suit them.
  • Customer needs: Companies should, at all times and without exceptions, correctly understand the needs of their customers. This requires a lot of analysis.
  • Integrated marketing: Every department in the company should work together to satisfy the customer's needs– a process called integrated marketing.
  • Profitability: Of course, the ultimate goal of marketing is profit. Therefore, companies should ensure that they satisfy consumer needs profitably. Indeed, Most non-profit organizations are not marketing-oriented because the idea of profitability runs contrary to their very essence (of non-profitability).

If you will like to know more about this four pillars of marketing, I suggest you read this post.

Market orientation, even with all its accolades, is still not a perfect orientation. It still fails to tackle the problem of environmental deterioration and social services that market-oriented companies may neglect in a bid to make a profit.

It is, for this reason, a new term called societal marketing orientation was introduced as a major update to the marketing concept.

Societal Marketing Orientation Or Concept

The social marketing concept was coined by American marketing guru Philips Kotler in 1970. Societal marketing orientation can be thought to be a combination of two things; Society and marketing orientation

Earlier, we define marketing orientation as the philosophy that assumes that consumer satisfaction is the economic and social justification of organizational existence.

Society, in this sense, means an organization should act in a way that benefits the society

Taken together, Societal marketing orientation is the philosophy that organizations should satisfy consumers' needs and meet organizational goals while acting in the best interest of society.

It is the idea that organizations do not just exist to meet and satisfy consumer needs and organization goals but, also to protect and enhance consumers' and society's long-term best interests.

In other words, societal marketing orientation is the philosophy that an organization exists to satisfy consumer needs, meet organizational goals, and, more importantly, enhance the long-term goal he society.

It is a more socially responsible and ethical model of marketing. While market orientation considers just two things (consumer satisfaction and profits), Societal marketing orientation considers three things ( societal welfare, consumer satisfaction, and profits).

Societal marketing orientation requires that all marketers consider social, ethical, and environmental issues in their marketing practices. 

In short, it required that all companies become corporate social responsible (CSR).

Companies must ensure that society's long-term interest is considered when making marketing decisions. That is, Firms should put the welfare of society first become profits, and satisfy human wants.

Tabular Comparisons of production concept, product concept, marketing concept, sales concept and marketing concept

FeaturesProduct conceptProduction conceptMarketing conceptSales concept
Starts fromProductFactoryIdentifying target market needsFactory
Focus onProduct QualityNumber of outputsCustomer needsExisting product
Achieve objective throughImproving product qualityIncreasing production quantityIntegrated marketingAggressive selling and promoting techniques
Profit byimprovement and innovationIncreasing output and reducing production costSatisfying customer's needsIncreasing sales volume

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While all the aforementioned marketing orientations have their advantages and disadvantages, a company is expected to utilize at least one of these philosophies in making marketing strategies.

The philosophy a company chooses will depend largely on the product budget and organizational goal of the company.

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5 marketing orientations (concepts)
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