The marketing concept, based on central tenets crystallized in the mid-1950s, challenges the three business orientations we just discussed.18 The marketing concept holds that the key to achieving organizational goals consists of the company being more effective than its competitors in creating, delivering, and communicating customer value to its chosen target markets.
Theodore Levitt of Harvard drew a perceptive contrast between the selling and marketing concepts: "Selling focuses on the needs of the seller; marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller's need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering and finally consuming it."19
The marketing concept rests on four pillars: target market, customer needs, integrated marketing and profitability. The selling concept takes an inside-out perspective. It starts with the factory, focuses on existing products, and calls for heavy selling and promoting to produce profitable sales. The marketing concept takes an outside-in perspective. It starts with a well-defined market, focuses on customer needs, coordinates activities that affect customers, and produces profits by satisfying customers.
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