Levels of marketing systems
The origins of marketing date back to the era of bartering, when goods were
exchanged for other goods. This practice was widespread in primitive societies.
Bartering was an exchange ‘in kind’. That is to say, no money changed hands,
and those involved in the exchange were only interested in products they wanted.
Bartering remained popular even when currency, travelling salesmen and shops
simplifi ed the process of exchange. In the 21st century bartering is still an important
form of (international) trade in many countries and one that calls for a market-oriented
Marketing can be conducted and studied on different levels. If we are
considering those who make the marketing decisions in a company, we are
referring to micromarketing. However, because marketing at the societal level and
at the sector or branch of industry level offers important leads for marketers in an
organisation, we will fi rst consider macromarketing and mesomarketing.
If, rather than looking at marketing from the point of view of the individual
company, we see it – at a broader level – as a process that must function effectively
for a society as a whole to realise its economic objectives, we are talking about
macromarketing. At this level the role of marketing is described only in general
terms. After all, when it comes to macromarketing, we are primarily interested
in the system that a society has developed to arrange the exchange of goods
and services to ensure that its scarce resources will meet its needs as effectively
as possible. Today, because of new media, satellite connections and means of
transport, marketing functions are implemented more effi ciently than ever.
Improved communication systems, transaction possibilities through the Internet
and methods of distribution simplify the marketing process at a macro level. Yet
these tools and techniques are also important for marketers, for the less they cost,
the more effi cient the organisation’s marketing strategy.
So far we have distinguished two different approaches to the study of marketing:
macromarketing and – what is commonly referred to as – micromarketing.
Mesomarketing occurs at a level that lies between the two. This form of marketing is
best analysed within the framework of the supply chain.
12 part 1 Insight into marketing © Noordhoff Uitgevers
The supply chain
Historically, people produced things largely to meet their own needs. This system
of ‘direct production’ was later replaced by a more effi cient approach in line with
the economic principle. Division of labour, specialisation and the principle of exchange
gave rise to a system of production and trade in which different parties within society
were dependent on one another. We can depict this system by referring to the supply
chain: the series of persons and organisations – from the original manufacturer to
the consumer – involved in the production, distribution and consumption of products
and services. If these individuals and organisations in the supply chain organise
marketing activities, they do so at the level of mesomarketing.
Figure 1.3 shows – in a simplifi ed form – the elements that make up a supply
chain. This marketing system consists of various horizontal sections or links.
One such link, which is made up of companies that perform the same function in
the production or trade of a certain product, is known as a sector. Within such a
sector, a group of organisations that is similar in its production techniques and end
products is known as a branch of industry. The book industry within the graphic
sector is one example. The food industry within the retail sector is another.
Levels of marketing systems