There are many definitions of marketing. The better definitions are focused upon customer orientation and satisfaction of customer needs. The marketing concept is the philosophy that firms should analyze the needs of their customers and then make decisions to satisfy those needs, better than the competition. The marketing concept relies upon marketing research to define market segments, their size, and their needs. To satisfy those needs, the marketing team must make decisions about the controllable parameters of the marketing mix.
Under the marketing concept, a firm must find a way to discover unfulfilled customer needs and bring to market products that satisfy those needs. The process of doing so can be established in a series of steps. These steps include: analysis of the situation to identify opportunities, the marketing strategy that is formulated, the decisions regarding the marketing mix, and the final implementation of the plan.
Situation analysis serves as the basis for identifying opportunities to satisfy unfulfilled customer needs. In addition to the identification of these needs, a firm must understand its own capabilities and the environment in which it is operating. This analysis can be viewed in terms of both the external and the internal environments; the external being the macro-environmental factors that may affect many firms, and the internal being the micro-environmental factors that are closely related to a firm's specific situation. The situation analysis should include past, present, and future aspects; it should include a history outlining how the situation reached its current state, as well as a forecast of where the firm is heading. Good forecasting can reduce the chance of spending a lot of time and money bringing a product to market only to find the need no longer exists. The analysis should also state any problems or opportunities that are found; from this summary, a firm can match its own capabilities with the opportunities in order to satisfy customer needs better than the competition.