Friday, 9 September 2011


Summary suite consists of four major applications:
• Writer - word processor
• Calc - spreadsheet
• Impress - presentations
• Draw - graphics
Writer also operates as a web page (HTML) editor.
These applications were originally a single 'desktop' within StarOffice which has
now been separated into four applications. This gives them a high degree of
commonality (more so than MS-Office, which started life as separate packages
which have been blended together).
In addition, there are three utilities which operate across the major components:
• a mathematical formula editor
• macro / Basic programming language
• Data Access tools for working with SQL databases does not contain:
• email / calendar tools
• a web browser
• a database (although dBase format tables can be used out of the box with's Data Access tools)
Independent reviews rate as capable as its competitors in terms of
. However, it does lack some end-user 'extras' such as printed
manuals, templates, clip-art libraries, etc. is available for the following platforms:
• Microsoft Windows (98, NT, ME, 2000 and XP)
• GNU/Linux
• Sun Solaris 8 Operating Environment
• Mac OS X Darwin PPC (within X)
Some of the newer features require installation of a Java Runtime Environment
(JRE). is available in over 30 languages.
Distribution can be downloaded free of charge from the website
or worldwide mirrors. Many Linux distributions now include,
although some have removed some functionality for licencing reasons. It is also
bundled by some hard/removable disk drive and PC manufacturers. can also be obtained on CD in different forms in different markets:

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


It is important to distinguish here between strategy frameworks and strategy models. Strategy models have been used in theory building in economics to understand industrial organisations. However, models are difficult to apply to specific company situations and instead, qualitative frameworks have been developed with the specific goal of better informing business practice.

Friday, 11 March 2011


It is a fundamental idea of marketing that organisations survive and prosper through meeting the needs and wants of customers. This important perspective is commonly known as the Marketing Concept which as we saw earlier at its highest is a philosophy and business orientation about matching a company's capabilities with customers’ wants. This matching process takes place in what is called the marketing environment and involves both strategic and tactical marketing within the organisation’s structure. A truly marketing oriented business is actually structurally designed to facilitate the Marketing Concept as a philosophy and as a way of operating.

An entrepreneur realised that the feedback his company was getting had begun to show less and less positive results over the past twelve months. This period happened to coincide with an expansion of the business and a significant increase in the number of staff, form what had been before a relatively small team. Looking deeper a key issue seemed to be that customers where no longer finding the business easy and flexible to deal with.
 The entrepreneur hit on a novel solution. He split his staff into those roles were to directly serve customers, e.g. Customer service, Sales, Marketing and those whose roles were to support the company, e.g. Accounting, Logistics, HR. Once complete a meeting was called and as the staff assembled he personally gave small blue button badges to the support group, he proudly wore his own to show commitment, and small green button badges to those directly serving the customers.
 Once assembled he explained the reason for the meeting and that he had reached a solution; the badges. “From this moment on we only have two rules that I want you all to bear in mind at all times. Those of you wearing a green badge – it is your job to say yes to a customer and find a way to do it. Those of you wearing a blue badge – when someone wearing a green badge comes to you and says I need to do this for a customer, your job is to find a way to say yes and to then do it”.
Now that’s the Marketing Concept as a cultural philosophy for a business.
                                        Example 1: Management by Button Badge

Businesses do not undertake marketing activities alone. They face threats from competitors, and changes
in the political, economic, social and technological aspects of the macro-environment. All of which have
to be taken into account as a business tries to match its capabilities with the needs and wants of its target
customers. An organisation that adopts the marketing concept accepts the needs of potential customers as
the basis for its operations, and thus its success is dependent on satisfying those customer needs.
So to understand customers better – which as students striving to be better marketers we need to do, we
should actually define what we mean by wants and needs, rather than just use such terms loosely;

  •  A “need” is a basic requirement that an individual has to satisfy to continue to exist. 

 Maslow's hierarchy of needs is depicted as a five level pyramid. The lowest level is associated with
physiological needs, with the peak level being associated with self-actualisation needs; especially identity
and purpose.
The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met.
Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be
prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, i.e. they are deficient; the individual will
temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not
permanently regress to the lower level.

Source: Maslow (1943)

Figure 1: A Representation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

People have basic needs for food, shelter, affection, esteem and self-development. Indeed many of you
should recognise a link here to the work of Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy (figure 1) of needs in
explaining human behaviour through needs motivation. In fact many of these needs are created from
human biology and the nature of social relationships, it is just that human society and marketers have
evolved many different ways to satisfy these basic needs. All humans are different and have different
needs based on age, sex, social position, work, social activities etc. As such each person’s span of needs is
likely to be unique and this it follows that customer needs are, therefore, very broad.

  • A “want” is defined as having a strong desire for something but it not vital to continued existence.
 Consumer wants are shaped by social and cultural forces, the media and marketing activities of
businesses; as such a want is much more specific and goes beyond the basic to include aspirational values
as well as the need satisfaction.

Thus, whilst customer needs are broad, customer wants are usually quite narrow. Consider this example:
Consumers need to eat when they are hungry. What they want to eat and in what kind of environment will
vary enormously. For some, eating at McDonalds satisfies the need to meet hunger, others wouldn’t dream
of eating at McDonalds or any other fast food restaurant. Some are perfectly happy with a microwaved
ready-meal, others will only countenance a scratch cooked meal with organic ingredients. Equally there
are those who are dissatisfied unless their food comes served alongside a bottle of fine Chablis or Claret,
or is served silver service by waiters in evening wear or has to be ordered from menus written in French.
Indeed it is this diversity of wants and needs that allows a variety of ‘solutions’ to be developed in any
market and that directly leads to the need to think carefully about how and what can satisfy wants and
needs. It is this approach we will explore at 1.3.2 later in this Chapter when examining Porter’s Five
Forces model.

This leads onto another important concept - that of demand. Demand is a want for a specific
product/service supported by the ability and willingness to pay for it, i.e. there is a market of customers
who both want and can pay for the product/service. For example, many consumers around the globe want
a Ferrari car, but relatively few are able and willing to actually buy one.

The concept of demand is absolutely fundamental to marketing, and is what much marketing research is
actually aimed at; establishing the level of demand, and what Product Managers & Planners in many
businesses spend their time trying to predict – patterns of demand and how they change as new products
and services come to market and the needs/wants of the consumers and customers in the market evolve.
Indeed the concept of demand is how we in marketing actually define a market – a group of potential
customers with a shared need that can be satisfied through an exchange relationship to the mutual
satisfaction of the potential customers and the supplier. Indeed looking at this you should be able to see
that this very neatly brings together the Marketing concept with more traditional views on exchange,
utility, needs and wants
We can also take this a step further. Remember we earlier talked about STP, well in fact the process we use
to segment a market is one of demand assessment via grouping potential customers together by their shared
need and/or wants that can be fulfilled through an exchange relationship. This grouping through
understanding shared needs is fundamental to effective marketing, but is also a major area of contention
within most businesses because it is easy to get wrong. Good use of STP leads to a segmentation of the
market into groups that are homogenous by need, these groups can then be prioritised by their potential
return and one or more is then chosen to be served – it/they become a target market - and a marketing mix is
chosen to do just that.

So to summarise; 

  •  A firm’s marketers carefully study of the needs individuals and businesses in order to asses the
    potential of a market.
  •  A market consists of people with purchasing power, willingness to buy, and authority to make
    purchase decisions.
  • A target market
    o The group of people toward who an organization markets its products or ideas with a strategy
    designed to satisfy their specific needs and preferences.
    o Customer needs and wants vary considerably, and no single organization has the resources to satisfy everyone.
 Businesses therefore have not only to make products that consumers want, but they also have to make
them affordable to a sufficient number to create profitable demand. Businesses do not create customer
needs or the social status in which customer needs are influenced. It is not Burger King or KFC that make
people hungry, nor Budweiser or Coco-cola that make them thirsty.

However, businesses do try to influence demand by designing products and services that are;

  •  Attractive
  •  Work well
  •  Are affordable
  •  Are available
From what we’ve looked at so far it should be evident that Marketing also fundamentally involves an
exchange process, that is marketing involves two or more parties trading something of value with each
other. If you go to a restaurant you exchange money for food and service. If we travel to another city and
stay at a hotel, we exchange money or more commonly credit through the use of a credit card, for the use
of the room and services of the hotel. The meal and the services of the hotel & restaurant in these
examples are products passed onto us in an exchange of money or credit.

So to understand Marketing we need to understand the exchange process;

  • There must be two parties, each with unsatisfied needs or wants. This want, of course, could be
    money for the seller.
  •  Each must have something to offer. Marketing involves voluntary “exchange” relationships where
    both sides must be willing parties. Thus, a consumer who buys a soft drink in a vending machine
    for £1.00 must value the soft drink, available at that time and place, more than the money.
    Conversely, the vendor must value the money more. (It is interesting to note that money is, strictly
    speaking, not necessary for this exchange to take place. It is possible, although a bit weird, to
    exchange two ducks for a pair of shoes.)
  •  The parties must be able to communicate. This could be through a display in a store, an
    infomercial, or a posting on eBay.
  •  An exchange process exists when two or more parties benefit from trading something of value.
    Because of marketing, the buyer’s need for a certain product is satisfied, and the seller’s business
    is successful.
  •  Marketing can contribute to the continuing improvement of a society’s overall standard of living.
So we can see that Marketing is said to have a positive effect on an economy and helps satisfy needs by
bringing supplier and customer together, it facilitates the exchange transaction.

This is as equally true of a charity as it is of a commercial business. A charity takes a donation and the
exchange is the feeling of self-gratification the giver of the donation feels for giving. Effective marketing
– at all three levels - can increase the value of this self-gratification in the eyes of the donator, e.g. making
them feel they are making more of a difference, and thus marketing makes giving easier, i.e. marketing is
a facilitator of the exchange by creating utility.

Utility is a concept within economics that is related to marketing. Utility is a measure of the relative
satisfaction from, or desirability of, consumption of various goods and services. Given this measure, one
may speak meaningfully of increasing or decreasing utility, and thereby explain economic behaviour in
terms of attempts to increase one's utility. The Product and/or service and marketing of the product and/or
service form the foundation of the exchange process and together they create a utility.

In marketing we define utility as the want-satisfying power of a good or service. Richard Buskirk has
presented an idea that marketing is an activity that creates from, place, time and ownership utility;

1. Form utility: The usefulness of a product that results form its form; converting raw materials into
finished products. Product planning and development activities create form utility.

2. Time utility: making a product available when consumers want to purchase it. After production
goods are stored by the manufacturer, wholesalers, retailers, etc until such time, the demand of the
product is created and such goods are made available to the customer at the time when they are
needed or demanded.

3. Place utility: making a product available in a location convenient for customers, the flow of goods
through different distribution channels from producer to consumer from the place of abundant to
the place or where they are needed creates place utility.

4. Ownership utility: refers to the orderly transfer of legal title to the product and/or service/s from
the seller to the buyer via a sales transaction. Goods may be lying in a reliable state with producer
or the manufacturer or their agents until some other person needs them.
The production process creates form utility of a goods or service, whereas time, place, and ownership
utility are created by the marketing function; it is the act of offering a goods or service, when (time
utility), where (place utility) and via processes that make possession easy, e.g.
price/distribution/purchasing terms (ownership utility). Think back to the point made above about how
businesses try and increase demand; the four factors stated on how a business does this are ways of
increasing the utility of the product/service. So the greater the utility, the greater the demand and
potentially the more successful the business.
Marketing therefore, consists in moving goods to the manufacturers, in a form in which it is required at a
time when they required, to the place where they are to be used and for those who are to use them for
various purposes.
Marketing functions are the activities that create utility and facilitate the exchange process and include;
  •  Buying or leasing
  •  Selling or leasing
  •  Transporting
  •  Storing
  •  Standardising or grading
  •  Financing
  •  Risk taking
  •  Information gathering

It is worth noting at this point that the concept of utility overlaps into later points on the Marketing Mix,
value chain and on goods versus services marketing.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Almost every marketing textbook has a different definition of the term “marketing.” The better definitions
are focused upon customer orientation and satisfaction of customer needs;

  •  The American Marketing Association (AMA) uses the following: “The process of planning and
    executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to
    create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”
  •  Philip Kotler uses, “Marketing is the social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others.”                                              
  •  The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), “Marketing is the management process that
    identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably.”
In a January 1991, Regis McKenna published an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) entitled “Marketing Is Everything.” In the article the McKenna states, "Marketing today is not a function; it is a
way of doing business." Indeed we now call this the top level of Marketing – Marketing as a business
philosophy. So yes, marketing is everything. In essence it’s the process by which a company decides
what it will sell, to whom, when & how and then does it!

This brings us to the second level of Marketing; Marketing as Strategy. This entails understanding the
environment the business is operating in; customers, competitors, laws, regulations, etc and planning
marketing strategy to make the business a success. This second layer is about segmenting (S) the market,
deciding which customers to target (T) and deciding what messages you want the targets to associate with
you; what is called Positioning (P). The overall process is usually referred to as; segmentation-targetingpositioning
(STP) which is covered in Chapter Three.
STP however is not alone at this level; it is closely allied with the concept of Branding, which is not just
about logos and names. Brands are now about image – or more correctly its perception, branding is a link
between the attributes customers associate with a brand and how the brand owner wants the consumer to
perceive the brand: the brand identity. Over time, or through poorly executed marketing or through
societal changes in markets, a brand’s identity evolves gaining new attributes from the consumer’s
Not all of these will be beneficial from the brand owner’s perspective and they will seek to bridge the gap
between the brand image and the brand identity, by trying to change the customers perceptions – brand
image – to be closer to what’s wanted brand identity; sometimes this necessitates a brand re-launch. A
central aspect to brand is the choice of name. Effective brand names build a connection between the
brand’s personality as it is perceived by the target audience and the actual product/service, by implication
the brand name should be on target with the brand demographic, i.e. based in correct segmentation and
targeting. Level two of Marketing can thus be summarised as STP + Branding; Branding is covered in
Chapter Four.
The third level of marketing is about the day to day operational running of marketing, it encompasses the
control of the Marketing Mix and the processes within a business that help create and deliver that
company’s products and services to the customer. This level spans all aspects of a business and across
all customer contact points including:

  •  A company's web site;
  •  How they answer the phones;
  •  Their marketing and PR campaigns;
  •  Their sales process;
  •  How customer contact staff present themselves (in person and on the phone);
  •  How a business delivers its services;
  •  How a business “manages" its clients
  •  How a business solicits feedback from its clients.

These operational issues are covered in Chapters Five, Six and Seven.

 From the above we see that: 

  •  Marketing involves an ongoing process. The environment is “dynamic.” This means that the
    market tends to change—what customers want today is not necessarily what they want tomorrow.
  •  This process involves both planning and implementing (executing) the plan.

To summarise then we can see that a simple definition of marketing would be, “The right product, in the
right place, at the right time, at the right price,” Adcock et. al. This is a succinct and practical definition
that uses Borden/McCarthy's 4Ps – Product, Price, Place & Promotion., which are covered in Chapter


LEARN 1.          So what is marketing? 
LEARN 1.1       The Three States of Marketing 
LEARN 1.2       The value of Marketing; Needs, Utility, Exchange Relationships & Demand 
LEARN 1.3       The Theoretical basis of competition 
LEARN 1.3.1    Generic Strategy: Types of Competitive Advantage 
LEARN 1.3.2    What is the basis for competitive advantage? 
LEARN 1.3.3    How is competitive advantage created? 
LEARN 1.3.4    How is competitive advantage implemented? 
LEARN 1.3.5    How is competitive advantage sustained? 
LEARN 1.3.6    What are core competencies and capabilities? 
LEARN 1.3.7    Resource-Based View of the Firm (RBV) 
LEARN 1.4.     Alternative Frameworks: Evolutionary Change and Hypercompetition 
LEARN 1.4.1   Evolutionary Change 
LEARN 1.4.2   Hypercompetition 
LEARN 1.5      The Marketing Concept 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Marketing is commonly misunderstood as an ostentatious term for advertising and promotion; in reality it
is far more than that. This perception isn’t in many ways unreasonable, advertising and promotion are the
major way in which most people are exposed to marketing. However, the term ‘marketing’ actually covers
everything from company culture and positioning, through market research, new business/product
development, advertising and promotion, PR (public/press relations), and arguably all of the sales and
customer service functions as well;

  •  It is systematic attempt to fulfil human desires by producing goods and services that people will
  •  It is where the cutting edge of human nature meets the versatility of technology.                                            
  •  Marketing-oriented companies help us discover desires we never knew we had, and ways of
    fulfilling them we never imagined could be invented.


This site is aimed to give an overview of what marketing really means in the contemporary business environment. It’s not a "how to guide" it’s more a background/reference document to help stimulate some thinking and discussion about marketing, which is an essential part of any higher education course covering Marketing.

Let’s start with the premise that despite its importance, Marketing is the least well understood of all the business disciplines, both by those working within business and by the public at large. It is invisible to right-wing economists, whose credo is that prices carry all the information about supply and demand that markets, need to produce the goods and services that people want; the works of Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, all leading economists in their field of their time have no mention of marketing whatsoever.

The left-wing socialists, social scientists, journalists, and popular mass media programme makers do at least acknowledge marketing as being real. But their views often present marketing as little more than manipulative, exploitative, hard-sell advertising used by greedy and morally bankrupt corporations in pursuit of their next set of bonuses. Both views are at best incomplete in terms of truly understanding markets from the key perspective – that of the customers and suppliers who interact to make the markets.

All commercial enterprises have products and services to sell and these are both the result of, and the reason for, marketing activities. Goods & Services, collectively called Products, are developed to meet customer needs and so those needs must be researched and understood. Each product can then be targeted at a specific market segment and a marketing mix developed to support its desired positioning. Product, Brand or Marketing Managers have to design marketing programmes for their products and develop good customer relationships to ensure their brands’ ongoing success

Marketing has arguably become the most important idea in business and the most dominant force in culture. Today mass media encapsulates our lives, satellite TV, broadband internet access, instant communications via web and mobile phone, all of which mean messages can reach you virtually at any time and place. This means that marketing pervades society not on a daily basis but on a second by second basis.

There are several good reasons for studying marketing. First of all, marketing issues are important in all areas of the organisation—customers are the reasons why businesses exist! In fact, marketing efforts (including such services as promotion and distribution) often account for more than half of the price of a product. As an added benefit, studying marketing often helps us become wiser consumers and better business people.

Marketing is also vital to understanding businesses of any sort, thus any study of business that excludes an appreciation of marketing is incomplete. In particular at the highest levels marketing becomes an integrating holistic culture that drives integrated, co-ordinated and focussed business practices with the interests of the customer as its heart – a combination that makes such businesses difficult to beat in the market.

Some of the main issues involved include:

  •  Marketers help design products, finding out what customers want and what can practically be made available given technology and price constraints.                                                          
  •  Marketers distribute products—there must be some efficient way to get the products from the factory to the end-consumer.                                                                                                    
  •  Marketers also promote products, and this is perhaps what we tend to think of first when we think of marketing. Promotion involves advertising—and much more. Other tools to promote products include trade promotion (store sales and coupons), obtaining favourable and visible shelf-space, and obtaining favourable press coverage.                          
  •  Marketers also price products to “move” them. We know from economics that, in most cases, sales correlate negatively with price—the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded. In some cases, however, price may provide the customer with a “signal” of quality. Thus, the marketer needs to price the product to (1) maximise profit and (2) communicate a desired image of the product.                                                                             
  •  Marketing is applicable to services and ideas as well as to tangible goods. For example,
    accountants may need to market their tax preparation services to consumers.