Businesses adopt sound marketing policies to ensure that their product design tactics align with corporate resources and target markets. Inadequate policies often hobble companies and could throw off kilter their short-term initiatives and long-term expansion plans. To ensure product and market alignment, corporate management works in tandem with consultants to determine potential opportunities in the marketplace.
A product is anything a business manufactures or refines for sale. Unlike a product, a service lacks physical substance yet provides revenue to the provider the same way a product generates income to the maker. However, products lack physical matter in some industries. For example, an investment bank may engineer and market financial products, such as structured assets or retirement packages, to a variety of clients -- ranging from individual investors to corporations and nonprofits. Physical products are varied and run the gamut from raw materials and semi-finished items to completely finished goods.
The term "market" can have many purports. It can refer to a physical location where groups of individuals and organizations meet to conduct business and exchange goods or information about a particular product or group of products. A market also can refer to the demand for an item or service at a given point in time -- a metric that economists often calculate by multiplying the number of potential buyers by the unit price of the product or service. For example, if a car manufacturer estimates that there are 10,000 potential clients for its $25,000-per-unit vehicles, the total market is $250 million, or $25,000 times 10,000.
A resource is anything a business uses to make a product, bring it to the market and convince potential customers that the item is better than a rival's product. A resource can have physical substance, like equipment, machinery and land. Accountants call these types of resources "long-term assets," "capital resources" or "tangible assets." A resource also can lack physical matter and come from knowledge and operating expertise. Financial commentators use the term "intellectual capital' to describe all resources a corporation derives from its technological superiority and innovation. Corporate personnel also constitute resources -- perhaps the most important ones -- that a company relies on to advance its commercial interests.
A company's marketing strategy attempts to seamlessly combine product, market and resources to help the business make money and dominate its peers. In essence, the blueprint attempts to create order out of a chaos of seemingly unrelated concepts by determining the best way to align corporate resources and products with market conditions. To do so, marketing strategists rely on the 4-P concept, which stands for product, price, promotion and place.