According to Borden (1984), the forces that influence the marketing mix include consumers, trade, competitors, and government. At the same time, it is possible to state that customers are the most important stakeholders due to several reasons that will be discussed below.
Prior to addressing the statement mentioned above, it is necessary to examine the difference between two concepts, which are consumers and customers. Consumers are people using a product, while customers are individuals buying the product. Loyal customers are those who buy a product from a particular company for an extended period of time. Borden (1984) placed consumers on the top of the list of the forces affecting the marketing mix. The researcher noted that consumers’ buying habits, preferences, buying power, as well as their number, and some environmental factors, had an effect on the mix of marketing elements (Borden, 1984). In simple terms, people buy products, which has an impact on the way companies develop their marketing strategies. Customers are consumers who buy products or services, so they are one of the groups affecting product development, marketing, and sales.
It has been acknowledged that customers’ needs and preferences tend to define the future of a product. If a product meets these needs, customers are willing to buy and even become loyal customers, which is a favorable outcome. If customers do not buy products, companies do not receive profit, and they have to introduce the changes based on people’s preferences. Therefore, marketing specialists try to identify their products’ potential customers, their needs, possible preferences, and expectations, as well as behaviors. If sales are sufficient, the business is able to attain the established organizational goals.
The current research on the matter also suggests that customers are important stakeholders. For instance, Wu and Li (2018) found that customer loyalty was a critical factor that had a substantial influence on the marketing mix, as well as the development of the entire organization. Solimun and Fernandes (2018) also explored the forces affecting customer loyalty, as well as the organization’s performance. Customers buying a significant number of products from a company ensure its proper performance and contributes to the financial sustainability of the organization. Sudari et al. (2019) also found that customer satisfaction contributed to the emergence of customer loyalty, which had a positive effect on the state of the company. Clearly, customer loyalty is the central factor ensuring companies’ ability to achieve their organizational goals.
It is noteworthy that customers’ needs have been transforming, which has an influence on marketing and product development. At the beginning of the twentieth century, people paid attention to some basic attributes that satisfied their needs. At present, people’s preferences are not confined to the physical qualities of products but may incorporate various other aspects, including social and ethical concerns. Modern customers pay attention to the outcomes of using the products they buy, which shapes their buying behaviors.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that customers are the central stakeholders as they define whether the sales will be high. Customers’ views and behaviors are studied to create the products they will be willing to buy. When marketing products, companies focus on the aspects that can be praised by potential customers. Therefore, customers can be seen as the central force affecting the development of the product and the entire organization.
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