THE MARKETING ROLE FACILITATORS
WHO ARE FACILITATORS?
Because marketing functions require significant expertise, it is often both efficient and effective for an organization to use the assistance of independent marketing facilitators. These are organizations and consultants whose sole or primary responsibility is to handle marketing functions. In many larger companies, all or some of these functions are performed internally. However, this is not necessary or justifiable in most companies, which usually require only part-time or periodic assistance from marketing facilitators. Also, most companies cannot afford to support the salaries and operating expenses required to maintain marketing facilitators as a permanent part of their staff. Furthermore, independent marketing contractors can be more effective than an internal department because nonemployee facilitators can have broader expertise and more objective perspectives. In addition, independent contractors often are more motivated to perform at high standards, because competition in the facilitator market is usually aggressive, and poor performance could mean lost business.
There are four major types of marketing facilitators: advertising agencies, market research firms, transportation firms, and warehousing firms. Others are: Insurance Brokers and Agents, Commercial Banks, and Microfinance Companies.
Advertising agencies are responsible for initiating, managing, and implementing paid marketing communications. In addition, some agencies have diversified into other types of marketing communications, including public relations, sales promotion, interactive media, and direct marketing. Agencies typically consist of four departments: account management, a creative division, a research group, and a media planning department. Those in account management act as liaisons between the client and the agency, ensuring that client needs are communicated to the agency and that agency recommendation are clearly understood by the client. Account managers also manage the flow of work within the agency, making sure that projects proceed according to schedule. The creative department is where advertisements are conceived, developed, and produced. Artists, writers, and producers work together to craft a message that meets agency and client objectives. In this department, slogans, jingles, and logos are developed. The research department gathers and processes data about the target market and consumers. This information provides a foundation for the work of the creative department and account management. Media planning personnel specialize in selecting and placing advertisements in print and broadcast media.
Market Research Firms
Market research firms gather and analyze data about customers, competitors, distributors, and other actors and forces in the marketplace. A large portion of the work performed by most market research firms is commissioned by specific companies for particular purposes. However, some firms also routinely collect a wide spectrum of data and then attempt to sell some or all of it to companies that may benefit from such information
Market research can be thought of as the application of scientific method to the solution of marketing problems. It involves studying people as buyers, sellers, and consumers, examining their attitudes, preferences, habits, and purchasing power. Market research is also concerned with the channels of distribution, with promotion and pricing, and with the design of the products and services to be marketed.
As a product moves from producer to consumer, it must often travel long distances. Many products consumed in the Nigeria have been manufactured in another area of the world, such as Asia or United Kingdom. In addition, if the channel of distribution includes several firms, the product must be moved a number of times before it becomes accessible to consumers. A basic home appliance begins as a raw material (iron ore at a steel mill, for example) that is transported from a processing plant to a manufacturing facility.
Transportation firms assist marketers in moving products from one point in a channel to the next. An important matter of negotiation between companies working together in a channel is whether the sender or receiver of goods is responsible for transportation. Movement of products usually involves significant cost, risk, and time management. Thus, when firms consider a transportation option, they carefully weigh its dependability and price, frequency of operation, and accessibility. A firm that has its own transportation capabilities is known as a private carrier. There are also contract carriers, which are independent transportation firms that can be hired by companies on a long- or short-term basis. A common carrier provides services to any and all companies between predetermined points on a scheduled basis.
Because products are not usually sold or shipped as soon as they are produced or delivered, firms require storage facilities. Two types of warehouses meet this need: storage warehouses hold goods for longer periods of time, and distribution warehouses serve as way stations for goods as they pass from one location to the next. Like the other marketing functions, warehouses can be wholly owned by firms, or space can be rented as needed. Although companies have more control over wholly owned facilities, warehouses of this sort can tie up capital and firm resources. Operations within warehouses usually require inspecting goods, tracking inventories, repackaging goods, shipping, and invoicing.
Insurance Brokers and Agents
Like most small businesses, you probably purchase your insurance policies through an insurance agent or broker. Agents and brokers perform very similar functions. Both act as intermediaries between you, the insurance buyer, and insurers. Both have a legal duty to help you obtain the coverage you need at a reasonable price. Both an agent and a broker must have the proper license to sell insurance. He or she must also adhere to the regulations enforced by your state insurance department.
ROLE OF FACILITATORS IN FOOD PROCESSING, BANKING, COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES, MARKETING BOARDS AND MICRO FINANCE COMPANIES.
Food Processing Industries
Food processing is the transformation of raw ingredients into food, or of food into other forms. Food processing typically takes clean, harvested crops or butchered animal products and uses these to produce attractive, marketable and often long shelf-life food products.
Food processing industries and practices include the following:
• Fish processing
• Food packaging plant
• Industrial rendering
• Meat packing plant
• Sugar industry
Besides performing the usual commercial banking functions, commercial banks in Nigeria play an effective role in the economic development. The majority of people in Nigeria are poor, unemployed and engaged in traditional agriculture. There is acute shortage of capital. People lack initiative and enterprise. Means of transport are undeveloped. Industry is depressed, commercial banks help in overcoming these obstacles and promoting economic development.
Some of the major important roles of commercial banks in a developing country are as follows:
1. Mobilizing Savings for Capital Formation. 2. Financing Industries.3. Financing Trade. 4. Financing Agriculture. 5. Financing Consumer Activities. 6. Financing Employment Generating Activities:
Thus the commercial banks contribute much to the growth of a developing economy by granting loans to agriculture, trade and industry, by helping in physical and human capital formation and by following the monetary policy of the country.
Micro Finance Companies
Microfinance is a source of financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses lacking access to banking and related services. The two main mechanisms for the delivery of financial services to such clients are: (1) relationship-based banking for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses; and (2) group-based models, where several entrepreneurs come together to apply for loans and other services as a group. Microfinance is a broad category of services, which includes microcredit. Microcredit is provision of credit services to poor clients
A cooperative society is an association of people that come together to pool resources to engage in business or economic activities for the purpose of improving their welfare. One of the most powerful channels of investment is cooperative societies. Many people have heard about them, but only few understand them and the immense opportunities they offer. As a result, only a fraction of the society are tapping into and enjoying these opportunities. Even the government is yet to realise how powerful cooperative societies can be, especially in eradicating poverty and improving welfare of the citizens. Fully exploited, cooperatives can enhance job creation and national productivity.
In the post – independence era, the need to control, plan and coordinate marketing of agricultural produce led to the establishment of marketing boards in the respective countries. The main objective of establishing them was to act as agents or trustees for the producers by fixing a steady price in advance of the sale of each seasons’ crops; the boards will cut the link between the price in West-African countries and the day to day price in the world markets.
Nowadays, the objectives and functions of marketing boards have been extended to include the following: (a) The stabilization of producer’s prices. This comes in two forms, the intra-season stabilization of prices and inter-season stabilization of prices. This is achieved by paying less than world market prices in a season of relatively high market prices, thus, surplus is accumulated, which is used to augment the price in the season falling or low world market prices.
(b) To maintain and control an efficient mechanism for the purchase and eventual delivery for the produce
(c) To grade and standardize the quality of export produce. This is achieved by categorizing outputs of agricultural exports into grades.
(d) To allocate funds to the appropriate authorities and bodies by means of grants, loans, investments, and endowment for purpose of economic development and research.
Marketing facilitators are organizations and consultants whose sole or primary responsibility is to handle marketing functions.
Advertising agencies are responsible for initiating, communications.
Market research firms gather and analyze data about customers, competitors, distributors, and other actors and forces in the marketplace.
Transportation firms assist marketers in moving products from one point in a channel to the next.
Products are not usually sold or shipped as soon as they are produced or delivered; firms require storage facilities such as ware houses.
Brokers and Agents facilitate buying and selling, on commission basis. Brokers bring buyers and sellers together and assist in negotiation; paid by the party hiring them. Agents represent buyers or sellers on a more permanent basis.
Food processing is the transformation of raw ingredients into food, or of food into other forms.
Besides performing the usual commercial banking functions, commercial banks in Nigeria play an effective role in the economic development.
A cooperative society is an association of people that come together to pool resources to engage in business or economic activities for the purpose of improving their welfare.
The need to control, plan and coordinate marketing of agricultural produce led to the establishment produce led to the establishment of marketing boards.
Microfinance is a source of financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses lacking access to banking and related services.