The 5 Essential Marketing Concepts [2021]

In this article, we will cover the 5 essential marketing concepts that everyone should know before diving into deeper waters.

The business landscape changed dramatically in the past decades and continues to do so. Nonetheless, come core marketing concepts remained the same to date. In this article, we are going to take a look at the 5 marketing concepts essential to every business to identify and fulfill the needs of their customers.  

Note: Before we start, I recommend checking our article about what marketing is and what marketing is not as a prerequisite to what you will learn here. 

Marketing Concepts

There is no one-fits-it-all marketing solution for every business. During the past decades of study and practice, a set of marketing philosophies were developed in an attempt to identify and fulfill customer needs and provide benefits for both consumers and companies. 

The 5 marketing concepts became essential in understanding and anticipating the needs and wants of potential customers as well as satisfying those needs better than other competitors. 

The 5 marketing concepts were introduced first by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations book he wrote nearly two centuries ago. 

The 5 Essential Marketing Concepts 

The 5 Marketing concepts are:

  • The Production Concept
  • The Product Concept
  • The Selling Concept
  • The Marketing Concept
  • The Societal Marketing Concept
marketing concepts
The 5 Essential Marketing Concepts

Let’s quickly understand each of them.

The Production Concept

This concept was first introduced in the 1950s when production-oriented businesses dominated the market. During this time, companies believed that all customer wants are affordable and accessible products. No wonder that companies’ main focus was on manufacturing, production, and solving efficiency problems. 

The production concept relies on the belief that a company can decrease its costs by increasing the supply. There is no surprise that a company focused on production also believes in the economy of scale. In other words, profit can be maximized by mass-producing a product while decreasing product cost per unit. Sounds familiar? 

The Product Concept  

The product concept works with the assumption that customers value high-quality products. The price and availability are not playing a major role in their purchasing decision as they hold the belief that quality products are usually expensive and exclusive. 

Think of the IT industry today. Most IT companies compete to provide the highest quality customer experience possible, constantly improving their products and services to differentiate themselves from the competition. In exchange, those products or services fail to appeal to customers who’s decision is driven by price, availability, etc. 

The Selling Concept

In contrast with the product and production concept, the selling concept focuses on selling – as the name suggests. Companies following the selling concept are interested in making every possible sale of products (aggressive selling), regardless of customer needs or quality of the product. 

The selling concept assumes that customers will buy a product only if it’s sold aggressively. Companies practicing this philosophy do not focus on customer relationships. Returning customers are rare, and customer satisfaction is often low. 

The Marketing Concept

Widely used today, the marketing concept puts the consumer needs at the center of the organization. Everything a company does is geared towards building solid customer relationships and satisfying customer’s needs

The marketing concept focuses on needs and wants first, to deliver more market value than its competitors. The marketing concept follows the ‘pull strategy’ and believes that customers always prefer a strong brand instead of others. 

The Societal Marketing Concept

The societal marketing concept is relatively new. The easiest way to explain this philosophy is by taking everything that the marketing concept does and adding an extended interest to the well-being of society as a whole. In simple words, the societal marketing concept focuses on customer needs and wants as well as the impact on society. 

Marketers using this philosophy are called to build their marketing practices on social and ethical considerations and not neglect the impact a production process or product can have on our society.  


The marketing concepts are a good example of how marketing shifted its focus over the years from product to users and society. Modern times favor businesses willing to go beyond just profitable agreements and value their users and society. 

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