To be competitive, every organization needs the attention of the people it wants to attract as customers. The public’s perception of organizations is influenced by a variety of factors. In addition to the organization’s own marketing activities, which are intended to control external perception, the attitude of individuals toward providers is also relevant, since individuals interact with their own environment and are thus also able to change perception. Hence, the question arises whether every person is in a certain way active in the field of marketing. This post will look at how individuals can influence perceptions of different organizations, why marketing is so important in the current competitive and market environment, and the characteristics of an explicit marketing activity.
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A central task of marketing is communication with various stakeholders, although marketing and public relations (PR) should not be used as synonyms. While PR is designed more for an exchange or transfer of information, it is the task of marketers to manage and improve the public’s perception of the organization. This includes, for example, communication with potential customers and partners. Customer acquisition in particular is becoming increasingly difficult, as consumer decisions are hardly ever made on a local basis, but instead take place on the Internet. Geographical proximity to customers may therefore no longer be a key success factor for organizations.
In the field of online retailing, there is extreme competition for the attention of customers, who are confronted with an almost limitless range of offers when shopping online. The challenge for marketers is to draw consumers’ attention to the respective organization and its specific offering so that consumers do not fall back on competitors’ substitutes. One difficulty here, however, is that people tend to trust the experiences of others when it comes to their purchasing decisions, rather than being persuaded by advertising. Many online retailers therefore place a strong focus on customer reviews or other forms of customer feedback to increase willingness to buy. Such customer experiences are usually a central component of online stores and can be taken into account as part of the purchasing process.
In addition to acquiring new customers, maintaining customer relationships is also an important part of marketing. Loyal and satisfied customers who feel emotionally attached to the organization can improve the public perception of the organization if they share their positive experiences with other people. Incidentally, this applies not only to customers, but also to organizational members. Satisfied employees who speak positively about the organization away from their jobs act as brand ambassadors of sorts, without the organization directly compensating them. If an organization manages to ensure that existing customers as well as its own employees are satisfied to such an extent that they report positively about the organization in their environment without an explicit incentive, this can lead to a significant reduction in marketing expenditure.
Many people are not even aware of how many aspects of their daily behavior can be classified as marketing. Regarding the question of whether everyone is a marketer, it could be argued that any communication with other people regarding services, products or even organizations could be understood as a marketing activity. Positive expressions could thus improve attitudes toward organizations and their offerings, while negative expressions could worsen them. In this context, individuals do not only communicate in the form of conversations with their families, friends or acquaintances. More and more people are interacting with organizations on social networks, for example, sharing or liking their content and expressing their opinions to other Internet users. Thus, individuals are not only responsible for changing perceptions, but also draw attention to selected organizations at the same time. The directing of attention can also occur unconsciously, for example, when brands are displayed. These can be smartphones or laptops from certain manufacturers, for example, or the clothes one wears. Even though there are always people who are compensated to use or showcase certain products because of their fame, the majority of the population performs a comparable service when brands are displayed in everyday life without being financially compensated for it. Thus, one could say that people act as marketers every time they make comments about organizations to other people or display brands.
Although every person who interacts with others in some way potentially influences perceptions of organizations and personal opinions, it should also be noted here that this does not lead to an explicit “yes” answer to the question posed in this post. Most people have only a (relatively) small sphere of influence. Few people have the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to influence and sustain change in general perception. Good marketers are able to draw the attention of many consumers to specific organizations or products and services, while always focusing on the individual benefits for customers rather than using manipulative methods to persuade them to make purchasing decisions. The statement that everyone is a marketer is correct in its approach, but lacks the necessary respect for this challenging profession. Good marketers are important not only to the organizations that hire them, but also to the public, as they play a significant role in ensuring that people with specific needs or problems get the products or services they are looking for.
The question of whether everyone is a marketer cannot be answered in a universal way. Rather, the answer depends on the particular perspective. It is undisputed that every person, with his or her own behavior in everyday life, is able to change the perception of organizations and the opinion of these organizations within his or her own sphere of influence. Moreover, individuals can consciously or even unconsciously draw attention to certain brands and manufacturers. However, when considering whether everyone is in the marketing profession, the value of good marketers and the specific challenges of this professional activity should always be acknowledged at this point. Only a few individuals are able to influence and create lasting change beyond their immediate environment.