Although commonly supplementary to each other, either of the two methods of selling may be used exclusively. Many unbranded and unadvertised raw materials and some manufactured commodities are sold without advertising. Many articles are sold by mail through advertising and without any personal salesmanship. The proportion of total goods sold by advertising alone is, however, exceedingly small. Furthermore, modern distribution is normally based on the use of both methods, neither one entirely supplanting the other.
The study of marketing must be approached from a social or consumer point of view. First, it must be recognized all people are consumers. Regardless of one’s circumstances, one takes the consumer point of view in purchasing things wanted for personal or family living. Second, ultimate consumers are generally unorganized and hence not as vociferous as farmers, manufacturers, or middlemen who have strong associations to represent them on controversial questions. Third, consumer welfare is paramount among the economic goals in our society.
There is widespread acceptance, even among business firms operated for a profit, of the concept that our economic institutions exist primarily to serve the consumer. This suggests a corollary, namely, that the economic system must be judged by the criterion of satisfactions which it brings
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In self-interest, a common attribute of all mankind, farmers seek to obtain the highest possible prices for their products. For the same reason, manufacturers or processors attempt to purchase agricultural raw materials at the lowest possible figure and strive to maximize their own profit when dealing with middlemen. In the same vein, merchant middlemen attempt to buy at low prices and to sell at as high prices as seem appropriate under current conditions of supply and demand.
Consumers often feel that their best interests cannot be readily identified with those of middlemen, farmers, or manufacturers. The matter is not quite as simple as even all this. Marketing institutions on the same level are sometimes in conflict with one another. In retailing, that which may prove advantageous for chain stores may be inimical to the interests of independent retailers, and both may actively oppose anything that may be of direct benefit to consumers’ cooperative associations or to manufacturers who sell direct to consumers.
It is obvious, then, that in the consideration of every important marketing problem, different interests are necessarily involved, and these may be at substantial variance. It is equally obvious that all interests must be duly considered, for the sake of fairness, to provide more complete understanding, and largely in order to insure their continuous functioning in our economy when deemed essential. Paramount, however, must be the interest and welfare of the ultimate consumer, for only in such a manner can our marketing system be best evaluated and appraised.
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