This is the ‘approach or concept which can be used as the guiding philosophy for all of the activities of an organisation. Peter Drucker once wrote “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer.” At its simplest, if you do not have any customers for the product or service your business offers, then there is no reason for continuing existence.’ [Adcock et al 1995]. According to Philip Kotler organisations should adopt a marketing concept. He describes a market oriented company as one striving to better serve its customer’s needs.
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Marketing objectives, goals and targets have to be monitored and met, competitor strategies analysed, anticipated and exceeded. Through effective use of market and marketing research an organisation should be able to identify the needs and wants of the customer and try to deliver benefits that will enhance or add to the customers lifestyle, while at the same time ensuring that the satisfaction of these needs results in a healthy turnover for the organisation. To find out the needs of its most vulnerable customers, the orphans a marketing research was undertaken in one of the districts UNICEF supports.
2 Marketing Research According to Peter Drucker marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result , that is from the customer’s point of view. He goes on to say business success is not determined by the producer but the customer. (Kotler,1996) Corey also explains marketing as consisting of all activities by which a company adapts itself to its environment – creatively and profitably. The marketing process begins with customer needs analysis. (Kotler, 1996)
The current situation in Zimbabwe is such that there is a great need to match the capacities, capabilities and efforts of the organisation to the needs of customers. To date HIV/AIDS has affected and infected an estimated 36 million people and claimed 22 million lives globally. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is leaving increasing numbers of vulnerable children in need of special care and protection. This is the reason why it is vitally important that the needs of these orphans be identified and something be done to assist them to grow to adulthood in dignity.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as the systematic gathering, recording and analysis of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services. Research is the only tool an organisation has to keep in contact with its external operating environment. The investigation has been undertaken in the spirit of societal marketing concept, being a process of collecting information from clients/customers in order to answer such questions which will enable any organisation to address the need of meeting customer needs. Social marketing is defined by Kotler(1975) as the design, implementation, and control of programs seeking to increase the acceptability of a social idea, cause, or practice in a target group. It utilizes market segmentation, consumer research, concept development, communications, facilitation, incentives and the exchange theory to maximize target group response.
2.1.1 Research Methods Qualitative research methods have been carried out by means of in-depth interviews with orphaned children between 6 and 12 years of age and focus group discussions with organisations working directly with the orphans and vulnerable children. A qualitative research method was used as it focuses on people’s opinions and attitudes towards a service which is what the research intended to get. The aim being to find out the needs of the orphans and vulnerable children and what they expect from UNICEF.
2.1.2 Sampling frame In-depth interviews with the orphans were done at Mudzi District. Mudzi is situated in the North Eastern part of Mashonaland East Province. It borders with Mutoko District in the South West, Uzumba-Maramba- Pfungwe in the North West, Nyanga District in the South East, Mozambique in the North East and Rushinga in the north. Its proximity to Nyamapanda border post makes the people of Mudzi district more susceptible to HIV/AIDS transmission resulting in an increase of mortality cases due to HIV/AIDS.
The number of orphans within the District continues to swell due to escalating deaths from HIV/AIDS. Orphan care services need to be more available in the district. The database at district level indicates that 5000 children are orphans as at March 2002 but the figure is not exhaustive. Of the estimated 5000 orphans in the district, in-depth interviews were done with 20 children from different wards in the district. See Appendix C for the questionnaire used.
Questionnaires were also distributed to 10 caregivers with the aim of getting information of what they think the children need most and how the organisation can assist. (See Appendix D for the questionnaire.) The focus group discussions were held with the 6 district officials with the aim of getting information on the organisations assisting the orphans and vulnerable children and what they had done for the community. (See Appendix E for the questionnaire used.)