Basics of Marketing
According to Philip Kotler marketing is all about "building profitable customer relationship or the art and science of creating value for customer in order to capture value from customer in return" (Kotler P. A., 2005). It is directed by satisfying needs and wants of the target customers through exchange process.
Marketing is supported by some of the terms below
Needs: It's the first and basic step for marketing. Before producing a product we must focus on the need for the product. The need is the basic needs for living. The need is not decided by the marketers but by the basic people. (Kotler P. , 1984)
Want: The need is to be transformed into the want and it is a step above the need because it is based on culture and individuals. (Kotler P. , 1984)
Demand: Demand is the next step to want. When want is supported by the purchasing power then it is said to be a demand. (Kotler P. , 1984)
Product: It is the final step where the need, want and demand are transformed to a final product that satisfies the best of our end user customer. (Kotler P. , 1984)
Basic definition of marketing
According to Philip Kotler marketing is defined as "Marketing is the human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process". (Kotler 1980)
Kotler has refined his definition as " Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individual and group obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others". (Kotler et al., 1999)
According to Chartered institution of marketing (CIM) "Marketing is managerial process responsible for anticipating, identifying and satisfying the customer need profitably".
The uncontrollable variables are the variables on which the company has only a limited control. The uncontrollable variable is also referred to a term called Marketing Environment. The marketing environment is collection of all the factors that affect the companies' efficiency in reaching their target market. The marketing environment is a very important tool of decision making in a company. The marketing environment has a vast influence on the company's decision. It may lead to loss in profit or may collapse the entire company if the company avoids the marketing environment while decision making. If it is considered then it may have a chance to get into a new source of revenue.
The marketing environment is also subdivided into two group based on its influence on the company. It is micro environment and macro environment.
The micro environment consists of all the forces within and around the company that influence the marketing management. The forces are the company, suppliers, competitor, marketing intermediaries, customer and public. They are the part of the environment affecting the company's marketing management.
The marketing plan of a company must consider all the various groups of the concern such as Top level management, finance, research and development etc. When the top level management prepares a mission and objectives then the marketing manager must plan the marketing with the mission and objective of the top management. The marketing manger must also consider all the other departments of the company. The end result of the departments will have a great impact on marketing plan and action. The role of marketing mangers is to plan such as the end product of the company is the best to meet the customer expectations. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
Suppliers are the very important part of the company. The company is a customer to the suppliers because they supply the resource to the company. If there is a problem in resource delivery then the company is in a serious trouble. So the marketing manager must always treat their suppliers as their partners. There may be various reasons for the delay in resource such as strike, shortage of resource etc. It may affect the company very badly by increasing in price of product, increase in resources etc. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The marketing intermediaries are also the important part of the organization. They help to promote, sell and distribute the product to the end user. There are various forms of marketing intermediaries in involve in the company. There are resellers, physical distribution firms, marketing service agencies and financial intermediaries (Kotler P. A., 2005).
The resellers are the distribution channel of the company. There are whole sellers and retailers. They buy the products from the company and channelize them to the customers. According to Kotler nowadays the resellers are not a small firm they are the giants of markets through which the customers but the product example Wal-Mart.
The physical distribution channel involves the companies which look over the transportation and stocks of the companies' product. The company must select a perfect distributor for its product because it may have huge impact on the price of goods, lower maintenance of stock etc. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
Marketing service Agencies are the companies involving the marketing research, advertisement agencies, media firm and marketing consultancy. They will take care of how the target market will reach the product in the market.
Financial Intermediaries are the financial concerns like banks, credit companies, insurance companies and various concerns which will support the companies finance. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
According to Kotler the company has five types of customer market which it has make a careful study.
- Consumer market: This market has customers like individuals and household. They are mainly concentrating in goods and service for personal use. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Business Market: business market is a place where good and service are bought for processing of a product or in a production process. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Reseller Market: This market has customer who buy the goods and services to resell them and gain profit. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Government: Market: The government market are the government agencies which buy the goods and services to provide those good and service to the people in need and to the public. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- International Market: This market consists of people from all around the world. International market encompass all the above markets such as government, reseller, business and consumer market. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The marketing concept of a company is successful when it provides more value to the product than expected by the end user the target customer. The company must adopt a perfect strategy so that it can show themselves more than their competitor. There is no single strategy plan that is always successful. The company must plan its strategy bearing mind their company size and their industrial position and it must always know clearly what their competitors are doing in the market. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The public are the important part of the micro environment. They have the potential value or an impact on the organizations ability to attain its objective. According to Kotler there are about seven types of public (Kotler P. A., 2005).
- Financial publics: This type of public help the company to resource the funds. They may be banks, stockholder, investment house etc. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Media publics: The media publics are the source of the company to reach their product to the target customers. They are sources such as newspaper, magazine, television and radio.
- Government Public: The Company must always take the government developments into account when preparing their marketing plan. The company should develop their product based on safety, law issues, advertising and others.
- Citizen action publics: The citizen action public are the group of consumer organization, environmental group, minority group and others who can question the company on their product and marketing issues. This type of publics is usually dealt by the public relation officer of the company. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Local Publics: The local publics are the people live in the neighborhood residents and from the community organizations. They are dealt with the community relation officer. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- General public: The general public are the also the important part of the public. The general public image can affect the company's product form buying. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
- Internal Publics: The Internal publics consist of the people within the company like managers, directors, presidents and all others working in the company. The companies uses news letter and other means of communication to spread the positive attitude and inform the employers about the current progress of the company. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The macro environment is a wider range of the environment which affects the companies' marketing. They impose threat and shape the opportunity of the company. There are basically four elements in the macro environment such as Political, Economical, Social and technological. According to Kotler he has added another two to the list Cultural and Demographic. The company must take these factors into account for them to prepare the marketing plan.
The demography is the major actor of the companies marketing plan because they involve factors of perople. They are size, density, location, age, gender,race, occupation and other satatistics related to people. The company must take people into account because they make up the market. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The companies' marketing must take great care towards the economic factors because it involves the buying power and the spending of the people. These factors vary all around the world because of various level of distribution pattern in the income. The marketers must pay attention to the major trends in the economy and spending pattern in the global market. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The natural environment in the company's marketing plays a major role. The environmental concern has grown up steadily in the past three decades. The environment takes up various aspects that the company should follow such as pollution, recyclable materials and others. The marketers should be aware of the shortage of the raw materials, increasing in pollution and government intervention in natural resource management while planning the marketing plans. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The technological environment has taken our marketers to think because technologies have been improved a lot in the past decades. The marketer must invest a lot in R & D because people are aware of latest technology and expect any bit of increase in technology in the product every time. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
According to kotler the marketing decisions are strongly influenced by the political environment. These environment comprise of law, government agencies and pressure group that constraint the companies' marketing plan in the given society. It is also affected by the new rules and legislation passed by the political body that can affect the companies' product and marketing plans. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The Cultural environment also strongly influences the marketing plans. This environment is made up of the basic value of the society, perception and behavior. The companies' marketing plan should be in such a way that doesn't affect the cultural value and belief of the company. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The controllable variable in a company are generally called as the Marketing Mix. They are said as controllable variables because in these variables the company can have its full influence.
There are four main variables are comprised to form the marketing mix of the company. They are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
The product in the marketing mix is the goods and service provided by the company to its target customers. The goods comprise of the core value of the product and the services are the auxiliary items added to the core product. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The price is the amount of money that the customer pays to buy the product. The price of the product must be appealing to our customers because if we fail in setting up the price they may buy our competitors product. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
Place includes the various activities that the company provide to keep our product available to our customers all time. The place must be in such we make a good attention, exposure, storage and transportation of the product. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The promotions are the activities done buy the company to exhibit the merits of the product and tempt the customers to buy the product. (Kotler P. A., 2005)
The Sony Corporation is the leading innovators of latest technology and their roots headed back in 1946. It is a Japanese company and it was first called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunication Engineering Limited). Later in 1955 they coined the name Sony to enter the new market in US and Europe. The name Sony is coined from the Latin word Sonnu means Sound. Their first entry in the UK market is in the year 1968. The Sony Corporation holds the pride that it is the first Japanese company to start its manufacturing plant in UK.
Product of the Company
The Sony Corporation is one of the leading technology innovators in present competitive market. They are also pioneers in their products. Their first innovation was the electric rice cooker. Later they invented the pocket transistor, walkman, Discman, play station etc. Their marketing plan is very much concerned on the environment and they have also been affected by the environmental factors. The Sony play station 2 was developed by the Sony Corporation in the year 2000. It is complete package of gaming console but it has faced some serious problem in the market due to the controllable variables in their market. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
Major Factors Affecting the Companies Controllable Variable
The major factors affecting the companies controllable variables are the companies uncontrollable variable. To study this effect I have chosen a product of the Sony Corporation, Play station.
The economic stability is the very important factor for the company to launch its product. The low interest rate can increase the buying power of the customers. According to Mintel 2004 the economic stability of United Kingdom is very high so that the Play Station 2 was very successful. The profit made from the Sony Play Station 2 made Sony to invest in new product development. Later the company launched Play Station 3 console but the situation was entirely different. There is an economic crisis worldwide. So that the Sony Corporation have to revise the entire marketing strategy of Play Station3. These economic crises affected the price of the console. They had to reduce the price of the Play Station 3 (Financial times, 2007). This situation proves that the economic factor can affect the marketing mix. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
The socio- cultural environment is based on the customers perspective. They vary from person to person. Some socio-cultural issues affected the Play Station 2 market is given below.
Price Conscious: According to MINTEL 2004, In the UK market the people are becoming more price sensitive. The price of the product is the order winning variant. The people are also very keen on offers provided and the best price for the product.
MMO games: The developments of Massive Multi Player Online games have the changed perspective towards the gaming console. The trend is set such as the MMO games are the new form of communication medium. So the Sony Corporation has to invest a large amount of money in the research and development. This has indirectly increase the cost of the Play Station gaming console.
Fashion: According to MINTEL 2004, In the UK market customers are very much conscious about the style and appearance of the product. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
Political and Legal Environment
The political and the legal environment comprise of the various rules and Regulations Company has to follow while producing and launching the product. Here are some issues which affect the Sony play station. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
Industrial Regulation: The United Kingdom being the business leader of Europe, there are only least constraint toward business environment within Europe (British High Commission, 2005)
Censorship Regulations: The European Union has decided possibly to ban the violent video games soon because it cultivates the brutal and violent nature in the children and adults, (MINTEL, 2008). By this rule the Sony Corporation has to reduce the action games by which it can lose the customers who like to play the action game.
This environment highly affects the Sony Corporation because their products are all based on technology. The customers always like to adopt latest technology so that the life time of the Sony products are minimized. There are also various issues of the play station in the technology environment. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
Introduction of a New Generation Console: The recent trend the people are driven towards technology. If a new technology console is being introduced the company has to search for a new segment and place to launch a product. According to MINTEL 2005, certain time is required to adopt the market for the new generation console.
New information Required: The latest technology development have increased more peoples expectation such as hi- speed, more flexible in the gaming and increased dependability.
This environment increases the care for the natural environment and health. There are various serious problem due to the continuous usage of video game such as eye strain, fatigue, mood swing etc (Tazawa et al. 1997). This issue also increases the investment in the research which in turn increases the cost of the product.
Safety Requirement: There is a serious problem with the Sony play Station 2. There are chances of fire in the adapter due to the overheating. So they have to recall all the faulted adapters everywhere possible and find the fault and resolved the problem effectively. This issue affected the product sales very much. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
According to MINTEL 2004 the marketing intermediaries for the UK gaming market is broadly classified into three groups. They are specialist chain, non- specialist retailers and online retailers. In the specialist retailer the main problem in UK market is that, Games group play the dominant role by operating 360 outlets. If there is a some internal problem or a shutdown of the chain store then the sales of the Play station console is in a problem. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
The online retailers are groups such as Amazon, Kays and GameSeek etc. It is strength to the marketing but it has increased high pressure on sales because Play station has to compete with many other competitors. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
The video games market is highly competitive market but there are only two main competitors in the market Sony and Microsoft Xbox. They hold the high market share with Sony, Xbox, Nintendo and other PC games. (ivoryresearch, 2005)
From the above graph we can clearly sort out the market share for the Sony play station is on the down fall. That is to some extent is by the competitors. The Nintendo Wii is more innovative and introduced the motion games. So the Sony Corporation is facing a serious completion. This has also affected the sales of the product.
The Effect of Micro and Macro environment of a company over their Marketing Mix is carefully analyzed. From this we can clearly understand that the companies marketing strategy must be planned in such a way it is flexible to the uncontrollable environment. Thus by making it we can manage the risk to a certain level.
Introduction to marketing game
Goal of the marketing game
We are one of the tough competitors in the market of Word processing software. Our company goal is to give a tough fight in the market by obtaining new marketing strategy and attaining high profit.
The concept of marketing game
The marketing game is a simulation of the real time process of marketing a product developed by a firm. Our firm Four Star develops and markets the word processing software. We are one of the four competitors of this type of product in the market. Our management has allocated us a budget for the development and the marketing of the software. Since we play the role of marketing manger we are suppose to plan the marketing strategy to market our product successfully in the competitive scenario and to provided with some other tool and technique for the marketing. The end result of the marketing game is to attain high profit by competing with other three firms.
We have adopted some strategic process in our company in order to improvise the sales of our product and attain the company goal. We have also adopted various strategic tools such as marketing segmentation, mix, research and various other tools of marketing strategy.
Selecting the target segment
As he said, our company has already identified the segments for this product in the marketing they are students, home, typist, writers, managers and parents. Our company has chosen the target segments as Students, parents and home as our target segment. We have chosen these three segments because their price range are almost similar and the product modification is also easier compared to other segments.
According to Kotler market segmentation has two parts they are
- Identify ways to segment the market
- Develop profile of resulting segments
As we move on the next step of Kotler's model, developing our profile to the resulting segments we have decided to make changes in the variants of our product. We are planning to make a new product more appealing to our target customers.
According to Kotler marketing mix is a set of controllable marketing variable that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market.
We also have followed the marketing mix concept for our product the marketing mix comprises of product, Price, Promotion and Place.
After the segmentation process we decided to develop a new product for our segment. Since we have selected three segments we have to develop a HYBRID Product. Our product must satisfy all our three segments. There are three variants in our product they are
- Special command(5-20)
- Protection against error(1-10)
- Ease of learning (1-10).
Our pervious product had a band of 8 3 3 in each variant. Now we have to improve the standard of our product to successfully meet the requirement of our target customers so we have decided to modify the design of our product.
The products are modified each time of the period to attract the customers and to develop the product. We can also penetrate into other segments and thus in the first three period we developed products for the three segments and period 4 we develop product for first three segments and also for the typist.
Price is the most important aspect of the marketing mix because it will directly affects the revenue of the company. According to Dennis Adcock "Price is what paid as a part of exchange process being passed from customer to the supplier either as money or in a kind". (Adcock, 2001) The pricing of our company is based on the target customers. The distribution is done in two channels they are Channel 1 and Channel 2.
From the above table we can clearly see that in the period one and two we followed the market penetration strategy and the price of our product is less than our competitors and we landed in loss but became the leader in market share of our product. The ultimate goal of our company is to attain profit so we have obtained the price skimming in the period three the result was success and also we have obtained the market share of other segment which are typist.
So we modified our product towards satisfying them. In the period four we have increased the price and we have attained the company goal profit.
According to kotler "promotion stands for various activities of the company to communicate the merits of the product and to persuade target customers to buy it".
For our word processing software we have chosen three types of promotion they are Personal selling, advertising and sales promotion.
This type of selling is very important for software products. We will have our own trained sales people who will sell the product to the dealers personally. The sales representatives directly go to the dealers and sell our products and get new market for our product.
From the above table we have can observe that the period one we have retained all the sales reps and have given 13% commission but we ended up in total loss.
In period two we didn't employee extra sales reps but we increased the commission to 15% to encourage the workforce but we again landed in loss because they were working in the efficiency of 115%. We have also increased the non-selling time to improve the profit.
We have found out that the reason for the loss in previous terms is price penetration. So In the period 3 and 4 we have adopted price skimming strategy. We have raised the price from 85 to 120 in channel 1and 99 to150 in channel 2. By raising the price it has show a great difference in the profit.
Advertising is the biggest form of promotion. It involves various sources like media, magazines, business publication, television etc. The advertisements are of various types depending on the company's reputation and brand name.
There are four types of advertisements they are
- Pioneering Advertisement - Used by company whose brand is in introductory stage.(Marketing Game Notes)
- Direct Advertisement - Used by company who are in the process of building their brand and directly reaches the target market.
- Indirect Advertisement - Used by company who have their own customers and further influencing the purchase.
- Reminder Advertisement - Used by company who has a good brand name and wants to keep their brand name familiar to the customers.
From the above chart, we have chosen the Pioneering Advertising in the period 1 because we have to introduce the new product into the market. In the period 2 and 3 we have chosen direct advertising because we have reached the target market by attaining the high market share and we have also obtained profit in the third period.
In the fourth period we have chosen the remainder Advertisement because we have obtained a good brand name in the market and at present our company is the market leader of the word processing software.
It's a type of promotion used to promote our product to dealers. This type of sales promotion includes trade show presentation, special brochures, contest and variety of deals to the trade. This type of promotion will encourage the dealer to carry a particular brand or to devote special attention to selling our product.
We have also invested a lot in the sales promotion of our product.
In the period 1 we have invested £350,000 in the advertisement because we are introducing a new product to the new target customers.
In the Period 2 we invested more on the promotion for about £450,000. We have increased the promotion cost because our company failed to meet the expected profit level.
Period 3 our company has reached the level of expectation and we have reached the target market so we have reduced the promotion cost to £250,000. We concentrated more in product modification
In the period 4 we have again increased the promotion cost to £325,000 because we are going to enter into a new target market typist so we started concentrating in the promotions.
Place is also an important phenomenon of marketing mix. We must launch our product in the perfect place so that we can move into the market easily.
For our software we have chosen a place of dual distribution Channel 1 and Channel 2. We have well trained sales people working in each channel.
Channel 1 the sales people will give personalized information about the product to the customers. (Marketing Game Notes)
Channel 2 Sales people offer limited service and contact the customers by email, telephone and various means. (Marketing Game Notes)
According to Kotler "Marketing research uses information to identify and define marketing opportunities and problem; refine and evaluate marketing action; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. It communicates findings and their implication". (Philip kotler 1987)
Marketing research is done by two methods one is by the sources found inside the company that is Marketing Information System (MIS) and second is from the outside resource. (Marketing Game Notes)
Information Available at No Cost
The information available within the firm is Industrial report, Product feature and Price Report, Marketing Activity Report. With these reports we can come to the partial conclusion, how the market is and how is our product in the market and how far our competitors are and various details (Marketing Game Notes)
Reports from an Outside Market Researching Firm
These researching firms specialize in the recent trends of the market for our product. From the analysis of the study it will generate a report on various aspects of our product in the market. These researching firms will charge quit a large sum of money for conducting the research. The various researches conducted on Market share by segment, Market share by channel, Consumer preference study, marketing effective study, Sales by segment by channel and Customer shopping habits survey. (Marketing Game Notes)
These reports are given yearly and they are very much useful to locate our product in the market and we can know what we can improvise in our product.
Market research report should be carefully analyzed because we have all the information about the market. We must weigh the potential benefits of the information against the cost.
In all the four periods we have bought all the market research reports of our company. For each term of the year marketing report cost about £67,000.
Development of the product
After a detail study of the market and getting the clear picture our customers expectation, we move on to the development of the software. The number of units to be produced must be clear so that we must maintain the inventory for our product. The software which was developed earlier is revised and a new package of software is launched. Then we must closely observe the movement of the product until we cross the breakeven point in sales.
Launch of product
Our product has reached the end stage of the development. Now we have to set the price and promotion for the product. Then, when the product is being launched we are awaiting for the result of our product. We are filled up with questions like have we met the requirements of the customer, do we satisfied all the segments, etc.
Result of our product
The first term result of our product was total disaster to our company. We landed in the total loss of £975,975.00 but we have sold out all the products we produced.
The second term we have modified the product and increased the production and again we landed in loss. It was £728,291 and again we have sold out all the products. We found ourselves as the leader for the markets of our target segments.
The third term we have maintained the same product but we have increased the price using price skimming strategy.
We also recruited many sales representatives. The result was very fruitful. We made a profit of £774,647 and we also captured various other segments.
In the fourth stage we again went to product modification because we have entered other segments and increased the price. In the result again we succeed and gained a profit of £702,000.
Learning points of the Marketing game
The marketing game gave us a real world experience and we learned Do's and Don'ts of the marketing strategy concepts. Here are the few important learning points of the game.
The Importance of pricing
In the marketing game we had four terms and terribly lost the first two terms. The only reason is PRICING. The prices we fixed for our product was too low and we couldn't make up the final goal PROFIT.
First two terms we concentrated more on segmentation and product development and less on pricing. We did not know the importance of pricing. Our price was too low for a software product and it was £80 in the first term and £85 in the second term.
Third term we changed the strategy and concentrated more on pricing, adopted price skimming. We raised our price from £85 to £120. The result was success. We attained organizational goal, the PROFIT.
Fourth term also we followed same strategy and ended up successfully in the marketing game.
The production is also a main learning point we have learnt in the game. The production is a part of marketing which will affect the revenue of the company on a large scale. There are two opposite phases of the production. One is when we produce product in excess we will have products unsold and other one is, if we are in short of products customer will lose the impression of our product and move on to our competitors product.
In the first term we have developed all the variants of marketing and the production of our products we have only produced 5000 products. The entire product produced was sold and there was a shortage of our products in the market. So our return was not so good.
In the second term we realized the mistake and rectified it. We produced 45,000 products and maintained zero inventories again. Still we are in shortage of production but now the return was better than the first time.
The third and the fourth term we increased more production and we sold all our products and we had a good return.
Recruitment of Sales force and providing benefits
The sales force is also an important part in marketing a product. In our case we have 20 sales representatives in our company and their work is to move to the dealers and market the product they are also provided with the sales commission and percent of Non-selling time.
In the first two terms we employed all the 20 sales representatives and their work efficiency was too high. It was 120% and we gave a commission of about 13%. It sounds good but the output in terms of money we paid commission of £56,000 and £530,000. It was a large amount which reduced the profit.
In the third term we employed more sales representatives and we gave all of then the same 13 percent as commission. This time we reduced the work efficiency of the work force but we paid £950,276 as commission. It really gave worst effects on profit.
We realized the mistake of giving huge amount of the revenue in commission. In the fourth part we reduced the percentage of commission from 15 to 8 percent. It made a drastic effect on the profit. We had a good profit in the fourth term.
Thus the recruitment of the sales force and providing commission plays a main role in the profit making.
The marketing game is a place to practically face the real time problem of the organization. We had a great experience in marketing scenario. We learnt the do's and don'ts of the marketing. We planned the strategy for a company and failed to attain success but learnt from our mistakes and changed many strategies. At last we could attain success and started gaining profits in the last two terms.
Reference and Bibliography
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- Baker, J. M. (1987). The Marketing Essentials. Oxford: Heinemann Professional Publishing Ltd.
- image. (2009, november 5). trump university. Retrieved november 5, 2009, from trump university websitr: http://www.trumpuniversity.com/business-briefings/lib/resources/images/graphs/marketing_mix.gif
- ivoryresearch. (2005, 05 23). Retrieved 11 23, 2009, from www.ivoryresearch.com
- Kotler, P. A. (2005). Marketing An Introduction. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- Kotler, P. (1984). Marketing Essentials. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.