Marketing as we know it today began in the 1970's with the birth of the "marketing orientation". During the first stage of capitalism business had a production orientation. Business was concerned with production, manufacturing, and efficiency issues. By the mid 1950's a second stage emerged, the sales orientation stage. Business's prime concern was to sell what it produced. By the early 1970's a third stage, the marketing orientation stage emerged as businesses came to realize that consumer needs and wants drove the whole process. Marketing research became important. Businesses realized it was futile putting a lot of production and sales effort into products that people did not want. Some commentators claim that we are now on the verge of a fourth stage, one of a personal marketing orientation. They believe that the technology is available today to market to people on an individual basis (see personalized marketing, permission marketing, and mass customization). They feel it is no longer necessary to think in broad aggregated terms like market segments or target markets.
Marketing has become an academic discipline in itself, with tertiary degrees in the field now routinely awarded. Masters and Doctrinal degrees can be obtained in numerous subcategories of marketing including: Marketing Research, Consumer Behaviour, International Marketing, Industrial Marketing (also called b-to-b marketing), Consumer Marketing (also called b-to-c marketing), Product Management, and e-Marketing.
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