Societies have moved from agriculture and individual self sufficient to an economy built around division of labor and specialization, urbanization and industrialization. It should however be noted that production for individual self sufficiency is not marketing because there is no exchange going on hence exchange or trade laid the foundation of marketing and is the corner stone of marketing.
This is clearly shown by the following orientation stages;
- The Production Orientation Stage
Here, the production process was a simple one with the main emphasis laid on production, which was believed to be in short supply, and the economy was characterized by shortages. Little or no attention was devoted to marketing and production processes were very local i.e. within neighboring areas. The function of a sales department in an organization was simply to sell the company’s output at a price (this was a period of up to 1930.)
- Sales Orientation Stage.
At this stage the small producers began to manufacturer their goods in larger quantities in anticipation of future orders. Further division of labor occurred and a type of business developed to help sell the increased output i.e. intermediaries/middlemen. To facilitate communication and buying and selling, the various interested parties tended to settle near each other hence the formation of trading centers. The main idea at this stage was to sell whatever was produced and this called for heavy/substantial promotional effort to be expended. Unfortunately, this was the period that the concepts of selling acquired its bad reputation (this was the age of hard selling i.e. the period up to 1950).
- Marketing Orientation Stage.
Modern marketing was born with the industrial revolution where there was growth of urban centers and declining rural population resulting in rural-urban migration. The emphasis here was on the growth of manufacturing enterprises because the market demand exceeded the available supply (demand greater than supply) but this has changed and supply has now exceeded demand shifting the emphasis from production to marketing.
The marketers must now embrace the concept of integrated/coordinated marketing management, directed towards the twin goal of customer-orientation and profitable sales volume. Emphasis here is on marketing rather than selling. But, how well the companies have embraced the marketing is still questionable.
- Social Responsibility and Human Orientation Stage.
The conditions of the 1970s led to this fourth stage, which was characterized by the concern for the society. The emphasis here is on social responsibility on the part of the marketers for their survival in the industries. Marketers must therefore be concerned with creating and delivering a better quality of life rather than only a material standard of living. The rise in social responsibility as a concept for business was highly influenced by the rise in consumerism movement.