Factors that Facilitated the Managerial Turn in Modern marketing in 1950s America
Before 1950, marketing was largely descriptive rather than prescriptive. During that time, microeconomics still influenced the prevailing functional, institutional, and commodity schools of marketing thought. The institutional school classified various market actors, such as wholesalers and producers, while the commodity school focused on characterizing the economic transaction and the activities of consumers and marketers. The functional school has concentrated on the interlinked commercial processes that constitute such market transactions as storage, transportation, and selling among others. The managerial marketing perspective and its derivative, and the marketing management pedagogy emerged from the functional perspective that was triggered by various factors.
First, managerial marketing emerged as a means of addressing the limitations associated with the prior functional marketing characteristics. Such a situation has led to the re-characterization of marketing as a set of interlinked commercial activities the organizations engage in rather than a group of social and economic processes as previously conceptualized. Under managerial marketing, some of the functional characterizations included the following: the contractual function concerned with search for potential suppliers/ customers and initiating contact; the merchandizing function that comprises of diverse activities performed to ensure that the product is customized according to the consumer need; the pricing function concerned with setting the prices of product/services offering; the propaganda function comprising of the methods utilized for convincing potential consumers to choose a given product; the physical distribution function that consists of the storage and transportation of goods; and the termination function concerned with changing the responsibility and custody for the goods that marks the end of the process.
Secondly, the managerial marketing school of thought emerged due to the convergence of two streams of thought educational and commercial. Due to the significant changes witnessed in the global economy during the 1950s, the top management of several American firms started describing their actions by using a marketing concept. The concept denoted a business philosophy characterized by emphasis on customer-defined value. Essentially, the marketing concept posited that the main purpose of a business was to provide a solution to some problem in the external environment in order to deliver some benefits to the customer. Under this view, marketing is the first and foremost general responsibility of the management.
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The next stage in the development of managerial marketing caused shift in viewing marketing as a general responsibility of the management towards the delegation of the marketing function, which marketed the departmentalization of marketing. With the shift, the role of the professional marketing manager, whose task was to make decisions relating to distribution channels, product, promotion, and pricing, emerged in the American industry. The emergence of professional marketing management in the United States heightened the demand for marketing executives with managerial training.
The marketing pedagogy (education) has also changed significantly following the increased demand for marketing executives with managerial training. Essentially, the training of marketing managers adopted a more action-oriented approach, which can be attributed to the increasing criticism that marketing education was more descriptive and that business education should draw upon a robust analytical approach with respect to decision-making. Consequently, descriptive course content was reduced, while intellectual and analytical content increased in order to make marketing a managerial discipline in all the business areas including marketing. Thus, marketing courses had the main objective of preparing students to perform management tasks by being analytical in terms of solving marketing problems. Overall, the managerial turn in modern marketing in the 1950s can be attributed to the following factors: the need to address limitations associated with prior functional marketing characteristics; the convergence of two streams of thought educational and commercial; and increased criticism that conventional descriptive marketing discipline was not suitable for the business, which posed the need to adopt an analytical approach in marketing.
Lucky Strikes and Camel Marketing Messages between 1928 and 1930
At the turn of the 20th century, tobacco companies exploited the changing social attitudes towards women through promoting cigarette smoking as a sign of emancipation. Tobacco companies had to devise novel social meanings and images attached to female smoking, where smoking was re-positioned as something feminine, stylish, fashionable, and sociable. Lucky Strike used this aspect for marketing cigarettes to women. In particular, Lucky Strike marketing message was focused on linking cigarette smoking to slim women’s waistlines. The company positioned cigarettes as a product that women could use to satisfy hunger in a fat-free manner. Lucky Strike used another crucial element of marketing messages that aimed at feminizing cigarette smoking and involved challenging the social taboo against women smoking cigarettes in public. Such a fact is evident from the efforts of Lucky Strike that involved recruiting women to smoke torches of freedom in public to protest against the inequality of women. The focus of the marketing message of Lucky Strike was to ensure that women felt confident, while smoking cigarettes in public. Essentially, it is evident that the marketing messages of Lucky Strike places a significant emphasis on linking female smoking to liberation, challenging the social norms and expectations about women, and taking advantage of women’s fear of becoming overweight. The company was successful in changing the stigma surrounding female smoking into a socially desirable and acceptable phenomenon.
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Similarly to Lucky Strike, Camel targeted women through marketing messages during the period between 1928 and 1930. However, Camel used different marketing messages and strategies, when compared to Lucky Strike. The marketing message used by Camel focused on making cigarette smoking appear healthy. The focus was on changing the notion of unhealthy nature of smoking. In order to achieve such a marketing objective, Camel resorted to making dubious claims. Despite the difference between the marketing message of Camel and Lucky Strike, they shared a common aspect in the sense that they were trying to reverse the widely held view regarding smoking. For instance, Camel focused on transforming cigarette smoking from an unhealthy trend towards a healthy phenomenon. In the same vein, Lucky Strike sought to transform female cigarette smoking in something associated with prostitution and lack of morals towards fashionable, socially acceptable and feminine trends. Another tactic adopted by Camel in marketing messages involved linking a Camel smoking to the image of a successful man during 1928-1930. In advertisements, it portrays a man with a Camel cigarette to be handsome and successful. Camel relied on poetry for depicting its ideal image of a man. Lucky Strike also adopted a similar approach in its advertising campaign by linking a smoking woman to an emancipated woman. The only difference is the fact that the marketing messages of Camel were more oriented towards men, while Lucky Strike placed substantial attention on women by using the same approaches to alter widely held views concerning smoking. By the end of 1930, Camel started targeting young female smokers aggressively by suggesting that rich, classy women smoke cigarettes in golf and tea parties.