Basic Concepts Underlying Marketing

The following are the basic concepts underlying marketing;


The most basic concept underlying marketing is that of human needs. Human needs are states of felt deprivation. These needs include basic physical needs for food, clothing, shelter, and safety; social needs for belonging and affection; and individual needs for knowledge and self-expression. 

The needs are in-built into human nature itself. They naturally exist in the composition of human biology and the human condition. When the wants are not satisfied, a person will try to reduce the need or look for an object that will satiate it.

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Human wants are desires for specific satisfaction of profound needs. For example, a man in the village needs rain and food, and wants fertilizer. Also, a man may want yam, rice, body cream, a bag, or a wristwatch. Human needs may be few, but their wants are numerous. 

These wants are continually shaped and reshaped by social forces and institutions such as families, churches, schools, and business corporations. Marketers do not create needs; needs pre-exist in marketing. Marketers, along with other operatives in society, influence wants. They suggest and inform consumers about specific products and persuade them to purchase them, stressing the benefits of such products.

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People have almost unlimited wants but limited resources. They want to choose products that provide the most value and satisfaction for their money. When backed by purchasing power, wants become demand.

Demand for specific products backed by the ability and willingness to buy them is the key to sales. For example, many desire a car such as a Mercedes Benz, Toyota, BMW, or Honda. But only a few are willing and able to buy one. 

Marketing executives must measure how many people want and are willing to buy their company’s products.

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People most at times satisfy their wants and needs with products offered in the market. Broadly, a product is anything that can be given to someone to satiate needs. Also, a product can be an object, service, activity, person, place, organization, or idea. 

People do not buy physical objects for their own sake. For example, a lipstick bought to supply service (beautify); toothpaste for whiter teeth – prevent germs or give fresh breath or sex appeal. 

The marketer’s job is to sell the service packages built into physical products. If one critically looks at physical products, one realizes that their importance lies not much in owning them but in using them to satisfy our wants. For example, we do not buy a bed to admire it, but because it aids in resting better.


Marketing takes place when people decide to satisfy needs and wants through exchange. Exchange is the act of obtaining a desired object from someone by offering something in return. Exchange is only one of the many ways people can procure their desired object. 

For example, hungry people can find food by hunting, fishing, or gathering fruits. They could offer money, other food, or service in return for food. Marketing focuses on this last option.

As a means of satisfying needs, the exchange has much in its favor, and people may not have to depend on others, nor must they possess the skills to produce every necessity for themselves. 

They can concentrate on making things they are good at in exchange for the needed items made by others. Thus, the exchange allows a society to produce much more than it would.

However, Kotler (1984) states that for exchange to take place, it must satisfy five conditions, namely:

  • There are at least two parties.
  • Each party has something that might be of value to the other party.
  • Each party is capable of communication and delivery.
  • Each party is free to accept or reject the offer.
  • Each party believes it’s appropriate or desirable to deal with the other party.

These five conditions make exchange possible. Whether exchange takes place or not, however, depends on the parties agreeing. Thus, sale creates value just as production creates value. It gives people more consumption possibilities.  

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