Interpretation of marketing theory in Islamic context

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Interpretation of marketing theory in Islamic context

The interpretation of economic questions represented by Islamic religion, especially due to the global political situation of our era, stands for an extremely popular topic in the international academic life. One of its spheres is the research of Islamic marketing, that presents a new approach to marketing. The thesis below contains the comparative analysis of the traditional marketing mix and the Islamic marketing. Islamic Marketing is the study of marketing phenomena in relation to Islamic principles and practices or within the context of Muslim societies. The Islamic Marketing is religion-based marketing in which marketing activities are guided within the framework of Islamic Shariah.

Introduction

One of the most discussed questions of present era is the Islamic religion and the other smaller or bigger religions, respectively, the coexistence of their followers. This has become an essential matter in many spheres, for example due to the migration crisis, the human rights or the culminating extension of globalization, as well as in the sphere of business life. This all, however, does not appear in the political, judicial or financial spheres only, it rather presents a topic covering life-affairs in full extension, that affects every aspect from the smallest segments to the most extended branches.
On one hand, because of investments and tourism there are more and more Muslims appearing in Europe, and therefore the knowledge of their addressing, cultural and ethic expectations can mean an advantage opposing to those countries which do not put this question into consideration so much. On the other hand, through the even currently happening refugee crisis masses of Muslim consumers have arrived to allover Europe, whose market awareness, demands, advertisements and messages which can address them, in many cases are built on different basis, than that of the native population, but it can differ even formal so Muslim immigrants living in the given country since some generations, too. Therefore, each economic field whether it is about from the beauty care through tourism to the bank sector, shall find out itself that under what extent its functioning, promotion and structure is supposed to adapt to the new expectations, the requirements of consumers and investors with the Muslim background.
The sphere of marketing stands for a good example, where the appearance and spread of the so called Islamic marketing has introduced a new aspect for researchers dealing with the topic, professional as well as businessmen.
Therefore the aim of the script is the introduction of marketing activities connected with Islam, as well as its comparison with the methods of traditionally considered marketing, with its features and other features. Although it is obvious that the growing interest in Islam and marketing covers a number of reasons, which mostly has its source in reaching each Muslim country´s market, as well as making efforts for it, the script´s intention is not to deal with this aspect, but the background of marketing theory.

Synthesis and methodology

The first chapter of the script intends to present the general characteristics of Islamic marketing, its origin, importance, in order to make this new direction generally applicable within the sphere. Following this a partial presentation of traditionally considered marketing mix is explained, using the aspects of 7P at first. The third more extended part of the script traces the differences and similarities between the Islamic marketing and traditional marketing mix according to the first two chapters. The whole material is enclosed with a short conclusion and suggestions for further research topics.
It is essential to note right now, that although the Islamic marketing stands for a direction within the marketing in some terms, while the 4P as well as the 7P and the traditional marketing regards the complete sphere, i.e. reinterpreting the classic example, „we are comparing a beetle with and insect“, so a subterritory with a complete sector, the scripts goal among others is to release this paradox. It is also important to mention about the script, that it has been provided as a summarizing essay with the usage of reachable literature.

Conventional marketing mix

The marketing mix is the tactical or operational part of a marketing plan. The marketing mix is also called the 4Ps and the 7Ps. The 4Ps are price, place, product and promotion. The services marketing mix is also called the 7Ps and includes the addition of process, people and physical evidence (Kotler and Armstrong 2010).

Figure 1: 7P marketing mix
Source: marketingmix.co.uk (2017)

The 7 Ps of marketing

The 7 Ps are a set of recognized marketing tactics, which you can use in any combination to satisfy customers in your target market. The 7 Ps are controllable, but subject to your internal and external marketing environments. Combining these different marketing tactics to meet your customers’ needs and wants is known as using a „tactical marketing mix“ (Business Queensland 2017).
1. Product
The Product should fit the task consumers want it for, it should work and it should be what the consumers are expecting to get.
2. Price
The Product should always be seen as representing good value for money. This does not necessarily mean it should be the cheapest available; one of the main tenets of the marketing concept is that customers are usually happy to pay a little more for something that works really well for them.
3. Place
The product should be available from where your target consumer finds it easiest to shop. This may be High Street, Mail Order or the more current option via e-commerce or an online shop. .
4. Promotion
Advertising, PR, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling and, in more recent times, Social Media are all key communication tools for an organization. These tools should be used to put across the organization’s message to the correct audiences in the manner they would most like to hear, whether it be informative or appealing to their emotions.
5. People
All companies are reliant on the people who run them from front line Sales staff to the Managing Director. Having the right people is essential because they are as much a part of your business offering as the products/services you are offering.
6. Physical environment
The environment is where the customer and the seller step into interaction, where the customers are served. It includes furnishing and the built-up or natural environment as well.
7. Process
Almost all services include some physical elements even if the bulk of what the consumer is paying for is intangible. (professionalacademy.com 2017)

Islamic marketing mix

Islamic Marketing is a very new field in Marketing. Islamic ethics within economics as well is not new, with the Prophet being known as the Truthful one (Al-Amin) and himself a trader. Transactions and trade (Muamalat and Tijarah) are also not new in the Islamic tradition and are much related with the revenue and costing aspects of the process of marketing too. Here the attention is towards fair pricing, removing of uncertainty, gambling, interest and activities considered haram (Ramadan 2009, Islamicmarketing 2017).
The relevant questions were rated to multicultural or ethnic marketing categories earlier, however, in recent half decade it has been made clear, that these two conceptions do not reflect correctly the shades connected with Muslim consumers and markets, the characteristics of marketing activities necessary to reach these markets (Abdullah 2015).
Actually the modern Muslim world has unique features: the so called Islamic brand joins the branches, including fashion, cosmetics, entertainment, tourism, education, pharmacy and professional services (Wilson 2014).
The importance of Islamic marketing is also raised by the fact, that the markets of Muslim countries with remarkable population, like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Egypt, do not belong to the developed countries in European and American terms only, but they also have stressed significance for improving economies as well, like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey).
It is important to stress on the markets of countries belonging to the Muslim world, that at the dawn of globalization there were few brands reachable in each sphere, respectively, it was a typical feature, that the consumers were supplied by local companies. Therefore, the sellers were marked by short-term mentality and efforts for the maximalization of profit, the idea of a conscious marketing construction was not present. At the same time the build-up of a brand did not play in strategic roles either, the completion of each advertisement was supposed to be more like a plan of tactics (Wilson 2014).
However, this all with the strengthening of globalization evokes a new direction, which is worthy of dividing it into two parts. From one side, the actors of markets of Muslim countries, with the spread of information about the pursuit of foreign marketing, have began to recognize the advantages of marketing construction and the benefits of marketing in general. In this reflection more and more companies have tried to break out of the trap of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) status, and they wished to take control over the final sale as well, together with the production and delivery. From the other side, an international know-how has arrived to various markets thanks to globalization, so next to the defined countries, Muslim-directed companies have started to develop on international level, making the portfolios of each countries´ products and services more colorful, making the local competition more vibrant, evoking the battle for the consumers. It has also been a revolutionary idea, that the marketing experts are able to answer the opportunities and dangers covered by globalization (Temporal 2011).

The Islamic marketing in general

One of the most important peculiarities of Islamic marketing is its relation to its Muslim consumers: we can state, that the ambitious Islamic marketing is an ideology, according to which the professionalism cannot be judged by the products and services only. „the Islam claims, that individuals both in their professional life and private life must practice, what they preach.“ (Wilson 2014).
This powerful religious effect on marketing as well as on the commercial lives of Muslim markets and companies is approachable in more points. For example, regarding the grocery products it is important to know whether they categorize it according to halal, i.e. to availability for the religious orders, therefore the merchants, services wishing to approach the Muslim consumers must add special remarkability to reach a qualification (Salam 2017).
Before we would get on to the specifications of the Islamic marketing field it is essential to emphasize that the studied fields themselves do not necessarily agree with the branches of traditional marketing developed through decades either. Sula and Kertajaya in their work from 2006 introduce four such fields which instead of the traditional marketing tools, or rather they are able to define the pursuit of Islamic marketing more precisely. These are spiritual, ethical, realistic and human tools (Sula and Kertajaya 2006).
This evokes a question, to what extension the methods and principles applied in the scientific research of the sphere and the commercial pursuit, for example the 7P, are able to cover the spheres of Islamic marketing. According to related researches, however, it does not represent a problem, rather the completion of the 7P – or any other applied mix – is necessary. This is presented by Damirchi´s study, according to which the product – i.e. the „product“ part of 7P – is applicable the same way, but requires to be completed with the Islam´s spiritual and ethical demands (Damichi 2017). For example the product cannot cause bemusement of mind, the product must be transportable, it is needed to provide information about the added value, which influences the product value, to support the consumer´s decisions and so on (Damichi 2017). In case of advertisements, promotions – „promotions“ it is important to fit the criteria as well, where, for example it is forbidden to use pressure or to deceive families and consumers. These examples are a few only, a more detailed division according to 7P is found in the chapter dealing with the comparison of the Islamic and traditional marketing.
We cannot classify the Islamic marketing as a sphere originated from Islamic religion, as next to the pursuit of Muslim markets the Muslim and non-Muslim mundane actors of the market form it with their activities as well. It is being formed as part of a natural phenomenon, where the marketing grows between the evolutional and revolutionary mind and its practical phases, in order to preserve its relevance and effectivity in the new environment.

Differences and similarities

Up to now the existence of Islamic marketing is an issue that is being discussed by researchers, experts and other scholars, especially in non-Muslim countries. Many of them use the argument that Islamic marketing is important in contemporary commercial activities, but the conception of 7P in marketing should be built up with the Islamic principles (Hashim and Hamzah 2013). According to the latter suggestion, hereunder the Islamic marketing and the traditional marketing are compared on the basis of 7P aspects:

1. Pragmatism and product
Wilson (2012) determined pragmatism with its studies about its applicable theories in the real world or its truth and meaning. The aim of the products is providing the clients essential benefits and services with high values (Lovelock 2011). This conception of product and pragmatism mean coordination with the Islam teachings, therefore there is no significant difference here.

2. Pertinence and promotion
In case of the second P we must build in the phrases of sensitivity and promotion. Wilson (2012) describes the relevance and applicability of Islamic marketing in the traditional marketing study-plan of English commercial schools. The logic of integrating the availability and promotion is that the conception stresses the spread of suitable information for the clients. At the same time the clients are being taught about the practical benefit of a purchase of the products or services and their advantages. This conception is simultaneous with the teaching of Islam, according to which the products must communicate within the ethical limits, as the Islam forbids the practice of exaggerating promises in order to avoid the clients´ disappointment (Trim 2008, Arham 2010).

3. Palliation and the price
In case of the third P the relationship between the palliation and the price may be reasonable, as palliation presents the minimalization of difficulties between marketing managers and clients (Wilson 2012). Meanwhile the price does not define the company´s profit only, but also the Islamic marketing recognizes those expenses of clients, which may represent a higher amount, than the price paid to the seller (Lovelock 2011). Palliation is a form of this case: to assure discounts budget reduction arrangements to the clients in order to release the load of purchase when it is being effected by economy and inflation of expenses. Therefore, the integration of these phrases are also in coordination with the teachings of Islam, according to which prophet Mohamed sells his products, on the basis of selling volume and determining a price which can be acceptable by the market (Trim 2008).

4. Peer-Support and people
The integration of peer-support and the people belong to the fourth P. It ensures consistent and mutual efforts between marketing managers in order to construct positive relationships both with inner and external individuals involved, that is also possible to coordinate with the Islam theses (Hashim and Hamzah 2013).

5. Pedagogy and physical environment
In case of the fifth P the pedagogy and the physical environment should be built in as a common conception. Pedagogy stands for the realization and subscription to clear educational conception, methods and practices (Wilson 2012). Meanwhile, the physical environment is defined as the creation of a service environment, which evokes the client´s attention on the company-profit relationship. In case of prophet Mohammed the name itself meant guarantee for quality, honesty and integrity (Arham 2010).

6. Persistence and process
In case of the sixth P the integration of persistence and process seem relevant in the Islamic marketing, as persistence is defined as consistent work without problems and difficulties (Wilson 2012). At the same time the process refers to the best practices on providing products and services to the clients with the aim to make them happy and satisfied (Lovelock 2011). This is in harmony with the teachings of Islam, which prescribes to make a mutual agreement during the selling and buying process, and the absence of the agreement´s conditions makes the delivery unacceptable (Hashim and Hamzah 2013).

7. Patience and place
Last but not least, the seventh P, which involves patience and the conception of unity, assures, that the marketing managers must express an honest and ethic behavior at spreading their products and services (Hashim and Hamzah 2013). For a company to achieve an advantage in competition in a certain industrial branch, they must understand the needs and demands of clients. Marketing may support the company in its work, respectively in surviving in this complex, changing and stormy environment. Essentially, the main aim of marketing is to maintain the satisfaction of clients, and together with it to make a profit for the company.
Regarding the Muslim consumers, it is essential to mention, that they prefer the purchase of Islamic products and services. Therefore, the companies aiming at Muslim consumers must be able to differentiate their marketing strategies, which include products originated from traditional marketing as well. The differentiation must be described in a clear way (Shamsudin and Rahman 2014).

Conclusion

As it turns out of the above described, the basis of Islamic economy and marketing are highly determined by religious studies, as the actions of the world of business, so as the marketing are supposed to be in conformity with the Islamic doctrines. However, from the comparison it is clearly visible too, that the traditional marketing mix elements as the Islamic marketing mix principles, in the future will probably infiltrate into the traditional marketing concept. The Islamic marketing supplements and brings these statements to perfection, supporting the orientation to the Muslim consumer behavior. Besides, it defines the marketing mix according to the consumer behavior and demonstrates it from its practical side. It leads pragmatism to product policy, in which the usefulness, favorability of the product is pointed out furthermore, it judges the advantages added to product services important. The condemnation of exaggerated promises and the consumer´s ramping is significant as well as the introduction of the physical environment as service environment.
Besides the numerous similarities it is essential to emphasize, that the Islam has brought such elements to marketing mix as spirituality, ethics or humanism, which in the world of profit maximize was hardly or not at all present. Therefore, the main question of this thesis, which is the comparison of traditional and Islamic marketing, as well as its justification for existence is worth to close by claiming, that however the Islam marketing can be understood in comparison with the traditional marketing, it is more appropriate to define as its further development, which on one hand supports the involvement of Muslim trades and customers, on the other hand, with the integration of new components allows the extending and perfecting of traditional marketing mix.

Recommendation to further research topics

Regarding the above described, three research topics have arisen, whose survey can be broadened by the source material with its great amount according to the topics touched upon.
Firstly, it is worth to examine, whether the Islam studies related to Muslim trades can be repeated in cases of other religions or regions. In this way, for instance can through the teaching of Hinduism or Sikhism the relevant Hindu and other trades be reached, or by any chance, can some specific branches of teaching of Buddhism help to conquer the trades of principally Buddhistic countries.
Secondly, the novelties brought in by the Islam marketing can be an interesting field of research, too, to examine the possible results of spirituality or ethics from the point of view of the Quran regarding the trades of non-Muslim countries.
Finally, from the historical point of view, it would be interesting to look through, according to which marketing mix, 4C or 7C the adaptation to the Islam marketing can be carried out the most. In such case, it can help to understand the usage of which mix is the most up to date if we put the Muslim trades into consideration as well.

Literatúra/List of References

[1] Abdullah, Johari bin, 2015. Success strategies in Islamic marketing mix. In: International Journal of Business and Society. 2015, 16(3), pp. 480-499. ISSN 1511-6670.
[2] Arham, M., 2010. Islamic perspectives on marketing. In: Journal of Islamic Marketing. 2010, 1(2), pp. 149-164. ISSN 1759-0833.
[3] Business Queensland 2017, The 7 Ps of marketing, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing-sales/marketing-promotion/marketing-basics/seven-ps-marketing>
[4] Damirchi, Q. V., 2017. A guideline to Islamic marketing mix. Islamic Azad University, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <https://www.scribd.com/document/45336424/A-Guideline-to-Islamic-Marketing-Mix-Full-11285280319>
[5] Hashim, N. and Hamzah, M. I., 2013. 7P’s: A Literature Review of Islamic Marketing and Contemporary Marketing Mix. In: Procedia – Socialand Behavioral Sciences. 2013, pp. 155-159. ISSN 1877-0428.
[6] Islamicmarketing. What is Islamic marketing, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <http://islamicmarketing.org/what-is-islamic-marketing/>
[7] Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G., 2010. Principles of Marketing.
The Prentice-Hall series in marketing. Pearson Education, 2010. ISBN 9780137006694.
[8] Lovelock, C., Wirtz, J. and Chew, P., 2011. Essentials of Services Marketing. Singapore: Prentice Hall, 2011. ISBN 978-9810686185.
[9] marketingmix.co.uk/, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <http://marketingmix.co.uk/>
[10] professionalacademy.com, 2017. Marketing theories, Marketing theories – The marketing mix – from 4 PS to 7 PS, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <https://www.professionalacademy.com/blogs-and-advice/marketing-theories—the-marketing-mix—from-4-p-s-to-7-p-s>
[11] Salam, T., 2017. The [Muslim] consumer and [Islamic] marketing. Aurora, 2017. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <http://aurora.dawn.com/news/1141807>
[12] Shamsudin, S. Md. and Rahman, A. S. S., 2014. The Differences between islamic marketing and conventional marketing: A review of the literature. In: Proceeding of the 1st International Conference on Management and Muamalah. 2014. ISBN 978-967-0850-01-6.
[13] Sula, M. S. and Kartajaya, H., 2006. Syariah Marketing. Bandung: Mizan publishing, 2006. ISBN 979433426X.
[14] Temporal, P., 2011. Islamic branding and marketing, Why the interest in islamic branding and marketing? Asia: John Wiley & Sons Pte. Ltd., 2011, pp. 11. ISBN 978-0-470-82539-6.
[15] Trim, B., 2008. Business Wisdom of Muhammad SAW: 40 Kedahsyatan Bisnis Ala Nabi SAW (Business Wisdom of Muhammad SAW: 40 Business Breakthrough of Prophet SAW), Madania Prima, 2008, Bandung. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Muhammad_Ali_Farooqui/publication/319140988_Halal_Marketing_Islamic_Principles_of_Marketing_and_Marketing_Mix_Model_in_Islam/links/59945a0b0f7e9b98953af0fe/Halal-Marketing-Islamic-Principles-of-Marketing-and-Marketing-Mix-Model-in-Islam.pdf>
[16] Wilson, J. A. J., 2012. Looking at Islamic marketing, branding and Muslim consumer behavior beyond the 7P’s. In: Journal of Islamic Marketing. 2012, 3(3), pp. 212-216. ISSN 1759-0833.
[17] Wilson, J. A. J., 2014. Brand Islam is fast becoming the new black in marketing terms. The Guardian, 2014. [online]. [cit. 2018-04-12]. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/feb/18/islamic-economy-marketing-branding>

Kľúčové slová/Key Words

marketing mix, Islamic marketing, 7P, Islam
marketingový mix, islamský marketing, 7P, Islam

JEL klasifikácia/JEL classification

M31

Résumé

Interpretácia marketingovej teórie v islamskom kontexte

Vysvetlenie ekonomických názorov islamského náboženstva je v súčasnosti veľmi populárnou témou v medzinárodnom vedeckom živote, práve kvôli globálnej politickej situácii našej doby. Do tejto oblasti patrí aj skúmanie islamského marketingu, ktoré predstavuje nové prístupy k chápaniu marketingu. Islamský marketing sa zaoberá marketingovými javmi v súvislosti s islamskými princípmi a moslimskými spoločnosťami. Táto práca zahŕňa porovnávaciu analýzu tradičného a islamského marketingového mixu. Základom Islamu je náboženstvo, t. j. marketingovými činnosťami sa zaoberá iba v rámci Shariah.

Kontakt na autorov/Address

Mgr. Veronika Ferenczová, PhD student, UJS – Univerzita Jána Selyeho, Ekonomická fakulta, Hradná 21, 945 01 Komárno, e-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

prof. Dr. Józsa László, CSc., UJS – Univerzita Jána Selyeho, Ekonomická fakulta, Hradná 21, 945 01 Komárno, e-mail: [email protected]

Recenzované/Reviewed

6. marec 2018 / 24. marec 2018