Professional Studies for Screen-Based Media
Foundation Degree South West
Defining Marketing

The expanding scope of marketing

Recent definitions of marketing acknowledge that the concept is no longer just about consumer goods. The idea of marketing is now a key aspect of modern society. It can inform the objectives and actions of service organisations, of charities and other not-for-profit (NFP) organisations and of governments. Local councils have marketing departments, as do universities, political parties and even pressure groups (although they might give them different names). There is even a potential profitable business in producing guides that help individuals market themselves to prospective employers or partners, for example see Careersnet.

Marketing products
The marketing discipline originated in manufacturing organisations and most of the products that we buy are now aggressively marketed to us. Consumer goods companies have been the first to embrace the idea of marketing and Interbrand's list of top brands is dominated by consumer products such as Coca-Cola, Marlboro and Mercedes, (although this list is changing and now includes an increasing number of service brands, such as Microsoft and Disney). Almost all the products that we buy are branded. For most goods we have a very wide range to choice from and every individual need or desire is catered for. Even individual products have a vast range of options, for example see Mercedes.

Marketing services

According to UK National Statistics, 50% of household expenditure is on services. Housing is the largest single expense, but following this are transport, then recreation and culture, then hotels and restaurants. The UK is therefore a economy dominated by the service sector. Banks, restaurants and hotels may have recognised the importance of marketing later than product manufacturers, but now all these areas are strongly influenced by the acceptance of a marketing orientation. For an example of a marketing orientated travel organisation, visit

Services marketing has also forced a development in some of the main principles of marketing -especially a focus away from the tangible aspects of meeting needs and a focus on service quality and relationships between an organisation and its customers. In addition, as organisations increasingly aim to meet social and psychological needs more and more products can be seen to have a service element to them.

Marketing not-for-profit

Heather Moore, Marketing and Promotions Officer Marwell Zoo, Hampshire

We now see the techniques and principles of marketing applied to almost all organisations and, in fact, recent governments have encouraged this by introducing market mechanisms into most aspects of public services. So schools and universities now develop specialist services to provide more choice to 'consumers'. Charities also need to understand their donors and position themselves to meet their needs.

Political parties make more effort to understand and segment the voter 'market' - positioning themselves to appeal to the widest possible range of voters and exploiting sophisticated advertising techniques. For example see the Labour Party website (note particularly that you can 'join', 'volunteer', 'donate' or 'shop'!).

These areas of marketing also require specialist knowledge and have the potential to add to the techniques and approaches available to all marketers.