The state of marketing of smme's in Durban : a South African case study
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One of the challenges to marketers is not only to know who the business's customers are, but also to be knowledgeable about their values. To further enhance the concept of a customer-based competitive advantage, marketers are challenged to develop and implement marketing strategies that will deliver superior customer value based on customer needs within markets and segments. This concept requires a re-focusing and re-thinking process by companies who enters the market, relating to the key issues to be confronted in identifying, creating and delivering value to customers better than the competition. This research primarily focuses on gaining insight into the current state of marketing as perceived by South African business executives, and aims to demystify those elements deemed important to achieve success in marketing for companies operating in the twenty-first century. In essence, this study thus focuses on the true purpose of marketing, how it is currently perceived by business people, current and future trends in marketing and those elements that are vital for the sustainable success of a marketing plan as part of a business strategy. A literature and empirical study was undertaken. The study concluded that correct market definition and market segmentation is fundamental to successful marketing. Marketing has become much more than just a sales support function that deals with advertising and promotions. Businesses need to include marketing as part of the core strategy-making engine of an organisation. Through marketing, product offerings are linked to customer needs in a specific target market. These offerings may be personalized or differentiated to best suite specific segments within the target market. Due to the turbulence in marketing with no clear indication of its stance in South Africa, exploratory research was conducted to evaluate how effective Durban companies are in using marketing as a core part of their strategy. The study employed an established questionnaire developed by McDonald and Dunbar (2004) and used descriptive statistics to analyse the data.