What Should We Do to Be Chosen by Consumers? -Marketing
Yuuji Sakagawa , Professor
Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, (Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Business Administration)
High school :
Academic background : Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University
What is your aim?
My research area is marketing. In its original form, marketing is a discipline concerned with the study of all activities carried out by profit-oriented organizations called firms to ensure transactions with consumers who are their customers. Today, subjects of its research have been expanded in consideration of the importance of marketing also for non-profit organizations, such as museums.
For firms to carry out transactions, it is necessary to differentiate their products and services from those of their competitors. Differentiation here refers to the state where their products and services are perceived to have an advantage over alternative products / services by firms and consumers who are desirable as customers. Suppose that a firm developed a product or service with more functions and higher quality compared with those of competitors. However, if firms and consumers who are desirable as customers do not evaluate the product or service to be superior to others, you cannot say “it is differentiated.” In other words, marketing is a discipline to study all activities to create this “differentiated state.”
Creating a “differentiated state” is not easy for firms. It has become even more difficult, especially in today’s society with a vast number of large-scale firms. For example, if you have succeeded in developing a new technology and producing new products which take advantage of such technology, that technology and the products will be imitated in a short period of time.
Furthermore, in order to create a “differentiated state,” firms need to control distribution channels. You purchase goods necessary for everyday life at retail stores. On shelfs at retail stores, a variety of products produced by different firms are displayed as an assortment for sale. We as consumers visit not firms that are producers but retailers selling their products, and purchase goods in those stores. When we use the Internet, we visit virtual stores on the Internet and purchase goods in them. This way, most firms sell their products to consumers through retailers, except in special cases. For this reason, firms that are trying to create a “differentiated state” come under the influence of retailers.
Apart from this, firms need to have consumers know of the presence of their products and understand their advantages. Next, they try to persuade consumers to decide to buy their products before visiting a retail store. For this purpose, firms use advertising. Our surroundings are filled with advertisements using a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. Firms are trying to create a “differentiated state” through advertisements.
As a discipline, marketing has developed with the times. It continues to develop at this very moment.
What kind of research are you doing?
Subjects of marketing can be diverse. An event called a “transaction” occurs when there is a seller and a buyer. In this regard, not only products but also services are subject of marketing. In recent years, transactions involving tourism are also being studied.
At the time of this writing, I am studying marketing in the retail and tourism industries. As exemplified by private brands, retail businesses develop their own products and sell them to consumers. Amazon, Rakuten, and other retailers on the Internet also engage in transactions with consumers. Furthermore, led by local governments, tourist destinations across Japan are actively trying to attract tourists. Their efforts may be considered as marketing activities to differentiate from other tourist destinations.
The discipline of marketing continues to change by incorporating hot topics of the time, and continuously provides the joy of discovery.
What is your next aim?
The discipline of marketing will not be able to solve all problems because it is a discipline that runs after a changing society. Therefore, I always try to face reality, find issues that are not yet figured out, and work to shed light on them.
Katsuyoshi Takashima and Hidechika Kuwahara, Contemporary Marketing (Gendai Marketing-Ron) Yuhikaku Publishing (2008)