From appearing first in 1952 in annual report of GE (Annual Report, New York: General Electric Company, 1952) marketing concept has acquired the most important aspect for any organization. An organization that has a market orientation focuses its efforts on.
The ever changing situation of the market i.e. of buyers, suppliers, customers, employees or technological could change the equilibrium of any organization. Organizations normally adjust to these changes by changing their overall all-round policies and strategies. The market-led approach has three components: Consumer orientation, Competitor orientation and Inter-functional co-ordination (See Appendix). The result is today’s Customers era, in which firms seek continuously to satisfy the high expectations of customers. An important outgrowth of this focus on the customer is the recent attention placed on customers relationship management (CRM), the process of identifying prospective buyers, understanding them intimately and developing favorable long term perceptions of the organization and its offering so that buyers will choose them in the market place (Srivastava, Shervani and Fahey, 1999). This process requires the involvement and commitment of managers and employees throughout the organization and a growing application of information, communication and Internet technology. Now reaching perspective buyers either, directly or indirectly is a prerequisite for successful marketing. To reach out to the customers organizations use different channels through which goods and services from the producer/providers flows to buyers either through intermediaries or without them. To communicate with customers, a company can use one or more of five promotional alternatives: advertising, personal selling, public relations, sales promotions and direct marketing. The first three alternatives are often use mass selling because they are used with groups of perspective buyers. In contrast, personal selling uses customized interaction between a seller and a perspective buyer. Personal selling activities include face-to-face, telephone and interactive electronic communications. Direct marketing also uses messages customized for specific customers. Direct marketing uses direct communication with consumers to generate a response in the form of an order, a request for further information, or a visit to a retail outlet (Economic impact: U.S. Direct marketing today, New York: Direct marketing Association, 1998). The communication can take many forms including face to face selling, direct mail, catalogs, telephone, oscillations, direct response advertising (on television and radio and in print), and online (Internet) marketing. It has an advantage of being customized to match the needs to specific target markets. Messages can be developed and adopted quickly to facilitate one to one relationship with customers. Direct marketing have certain disadvantage First direct marketing requires a comprehensive and up to date data base with information about target market. Developing and maintaining the database can be expensive and time consuming.