For almost a century, marketing has made massive steps to become a recognized and respected discipline. At the same time, marketing as a concept has been evolving and adapting to different definitions; indeed, it is the definition of marketing by Kotler and Keller (cited in Falkenreck 24) that, in depth, captures the concept where they see marketing as “a societal and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and exchanging products and services.” Furthermore, marketing has been regarded as the logical process that constitutes a natural structure which in primary sense forms a method of: understanding marketing environment; using the marketing mix; developing a marketing plan based upon the use of this mix; implementing the plan through a strategy; and using a control method to ensure that the approach is followed (Harris and McDonald 5). This marketing process is not static but undergoes regular evaluation and if necessary, modifications are done to it in relation to the market changes and the increasing competition. As a result of these, there has been development of sub-branches of marketing just with the big aim to remain competitive in the market front. The sub-branches are many, but of significant to this discussion are two major sub-branches: industrial marketing and retail marketing.
Industrial marketing can be seen as the process of marketing of goods and services to industrial and institutional customers who may include manufacturing firms, governments, public utilities, educational institutions, hospitals, wholesalers and retailers, and other formal-type organizations (Webster 4).
Retail or consumer marketing is basically concerned with marketing to individuals, families and households who generally make purchases of goods and services for their own consumption. The difference between these two types of marketing is portrayed greatly in the nature of the customer than by the nature of the product (Webster p.9).
Differences between Industrial Marketing and Retail Marketing
There are a number of explicit differences emanating from the characteristics of these two types of marketing:
- In industrial marketing customers are normally few in number to any given supplier while for the retail marketing, the size and scope of consumers is large (Webster, p. 9).
- Comparing decision making process in the two types of marketing, it can be concluded that industrial buying behavior largely portrays participation of many people who associate with each other within the context of a formal organization as a result, industrial buying process takes a long time and is generally highly structured than in the retail buying process (Webster, p. 9).
- In industrial marketing the hallmark of the business depends on the buyer-seller interdependence. In such case the buyer becomes significantly dependent on suppliers for many things and the act of selling does not end the relationship of interdependence, whereas for retail marketing the buyer-seller relationship usually ends with the sale of a product or a service (Webster, p. 16).
- In industrial marketing, negotiation process is important and determines the buyer-seller relationship while in retail marketing, this aspect is not common but it largely relies on impersonal market relations (Webster, p. 16).
- Compared to retail marketing, industrial marketing exhibit greater complexity of the buying process where various factors have to be considered such as, the influence of the organization, the large number of persons involved, the complex technical and economic factors that have to be considered, the environment in which the firm functions and lastly the large sum of money involved in transactions. For retail marketing although the household is the major player the complexity in such case does not exceed like that of industrial marketing (Webster, p. 17).
- Industrial marketing lays much and greater dependence upon other business functions in order for it again to function effectively unlike the retail marketing which appear to be independent of other business functions (Webster, p. 17).
In conclusion, although retail and industrial marketing shows many differences it has to be noted that one distinctive feature between the two is that they use purchased goods and services in their own production of goods and services.
- Falkenreck, Christine. Reputation Transfer to Enter New B-to-B Markets: Measuring and Modeling Approaches. NY: Springer, 2009. Web.
- Harris, Phil. and McDonald, Frank. European business and marketing. NY: SAGE, 2004. Web.
- Webster, Fredrick. E. Industrial Marketing Strategy. NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 1995. Web.