Marketing is a term so widely accepted that we
might be tempted to take its meaning for granted – although
few people could define it, most would know it when they saw it!
Alternatively we might accept that so broad is marketing in its
scope that no one explanation of its purpose will do.
|Spencer Brace, Sales & Marketing
Manager, Bournemouth International Airport.
Regional Director of Marketing (EMEA), Cunard Line Seaborne
Marketing and Promotions Officer Marwell Zoo, Hampshire
But definitions are important in so much as they force us to
think about the scope and meaning of a term. Here are three frequently
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines
marketing as: “The management process which identifies,
anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently
- The American
Marketing Association (AMA), defines marketing
as: “The process of planning and executing the conception,
pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services
to create exchange and satisfy individual and organisational
- Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders and Wong, (2001:5), define marketing
as: “A social and managerial process by which individuals
and groups obtain what they need and want though creating and
exchanging products and value with each other.”
There many other definitions (as many as there are textbooks
on the subject), but from these three we can see consistency in
the scope of marketing. Marketing is:
- a management process;
- it is about the exchange of goods and services;
- it anticipates and meets consumers needs;
- it creates profits.
Marketing as a management process
Definitions of marketing describe it as a business function
¬ rather like accounting, or human resource management. To ´do°
marketing is therefore to manage a complex business process.
Marketing as an exchange process
Marketing is about exchanges. Normally this is expressed
as the exchange of goods or services for payment. But more recent
applications of marketing techniques have complicated this definition.
For example "political marketing" might be seen as the
exchange of a preferred set of policies in return for a vote and
Marketing and the satisfaction of consumer needs
Central to idea of marketing is that individuals have
needs and wants that can be met through the purchase of goods
and services. These needs are most obviously physical (food, drink,
shelter), but may also be social (interaction with others and
group belonging), and psychological (self-expression, self-identity).
Now obviously in modern western society most people have enough
to eat and drink and have reasonably safe and secure accommodation,
so the focus of much modern marketing is actually on meeting the
"higher order" social and psychological needs. Any particular
need may also be met by a number of different products or services
so although absent from the definitions, "providing choice"
becomes a central aspect of modern marketing.
Marketing Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council
Psychological and social needs can be
met through a wide variety of different services and products,
so marketing also ensures
competition. For example the ‘need’ to be respected
by others could be met by an expensive luxury car, a designer
suit, an adventure holiday, or a higher degree. Each organisation
attempts to produce goods or services that are more effective
at meeting needs. Organistions also attempt to find new ways
meet new needs.
Marketing and the generation of profit
In return for satisfying consumers° needs, organisations expect
to make a profit. In other words marketers do not manage solely
with the aim of meeting consumer needs, they select those needs
which their oragnisation can meet most profitably. This also suggests
that choice is a key aspect of marketing management. Organisations
select what they judge to be the most profitable markets from
all the possible markets they can enter.
Note however that some definitions suggest "oganisational
objectives" or "value" rather than profit. These
definitions accept that in the short term at least, organisations
might want to grow their volume of customers at the expense of
profit. They also allow the marketing concept to be applied to
a wider range of organisations such as charities and political
parties, where profit is not an objective.