What is Marketing?
- The activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service. It includes advertising, selling and delivering products to people. People who work in marketing departments of companies try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure. The four ‘Ps’ of marketing are product, place, price and promotion.
- Many people believe that marketing is just about advertising or sales. However, marketing is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee can be thought of as marketing. The ultimate goal of marketing is to match a company’s products and services to the people who need and want them, thereby ensure profitability.
- The exchange of goods or services for an agreed sum of money.
- The commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service; “most companies have a manager in charge of marketing”.
Synonyms: administration, allotment, allotting, apportioning, apportionment, assessment, assigning, circulating, circulation, dealing, delivery, diffusion, dispensation, dispersal, dispersion, disposal, disposing, dissemination, dissipating, division, dole, handling, mailing, marketing, partition, partitioning, propagation, prorating, rationing, scattering, sharing, spreading, trading, transport, transportation, auction, barter, business, buying, clearance, closeout, commerce, consuming, deal, demand, disposal, dumping, enterprise, exchange, negotiation, purchase, purchasing, reduction, selling, trade, transaction, unloading, vending.
Marketing’s primary focus is on the customer and all marketing decisions should revolve around customer issues.
In order to focus on the customer, we must realize that marketing covers a wide range of distinct activities that often require different skills to perform well. While these activities may be different, they do not operate in isolation since decisions in one activity could affect other activities. Marketers also operate in an environment that is fluid and requires constant monitoring both internally and externally. The use of marketing research to monitor the environment in which the marketer operates as well as employing research for nearly all marketing decisions is a constant concern.
Definition of Marketing
If you look around the Internet you will find marketing defined in many different ways. Some definitions focus on marketing as the process involved in satisfying the needs of a particular market, while other definitions lean more toward defining marketing in terms of its most visible functional areas, such as advertising and product development. There probably is no one best way to define marketing, though whatever definition is used should have an orientation that focuses on satisfying customers.
Let’s define marketing as follows:
Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer.
Let’s examine this definition in a little more detail by focusing on a few of the key terms.
Strategies and Tactics – Strategies are best explained as the direction the marketing effort will take over some period of time, while tactics are actionable steps or decisions made in order to follow the strategies established. For instance, if a strategy is to enter a new market, the tactics may involve the marketing decisions made to carry this out. Performing strategic and tactical planning activities in advance of taking action is considered critical for long-term marketing success.
Identify – Arguably the most important marketing function involves efforts needed to gain knowledge of customers, competitors, and markets.
Create – Competition forces marketers to be creative people. When marketers begin new ventures, such as building a new company, it is often based around something that is new (e.g., new product, new way to distribute a product, new advertising approach, etc.). But once the new venture is launched innovation does not end. Competitive pressure is continually felt by the marketer, who must respond by devising new strategies and tactics that help the organization remain successful.
Maintain – Today’s marketers work hard to insure their customers return to purchase from them again. Long gone (see History below) are the days when success for a marketer was measured simply in how many sales they made each day. Now, in most marketing situations, marketing success is evaluated not only in terms of sales figures but also by how long a marketer can retain good customers. Consequently, marketers’ efforts to attract customers does not end when a customer makes a purchase. It continues in various ways for, hopefully, a long time after the initial purchase.
Satisfying Relationships – A key objective of marketing is to provide products and services that customers really want AND to make customers feel their contact with the marketer is helping to build a good relationship between the two. In this way the customer is made to feel as if she/he is a partner in the transaction not just a source of revenue for the marketer. In recent years this has lead to the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which has emerged as a strategic approach that insures that everyone in an organization, not just the marketer, understands the importance of customers. Maintaining close and consistent relationships with customers through all points of customer contact is crucial but difficult to do well.
Value for Both Customer and Marketer – Value refers to the perception of benefits received for what someone must give up. For customers value is most often measured by how much they feel they are getting for their money, though the value one customer feels she/he obtains may differ from the perception of value from another customer even though they receive the same product or service. On the other side of the transaction, the marketer may measure value in terms of how much profit they are making for the marketing efforts and resources expended. For a successful marketing effort to take place both the customer and the marketer must feel they are receiving something worth while in return for the efforts. Without a strong perception of value it is unlikely a strong relationship can be built.