Marketing is one of the terms in academia that does not have one commonly agreed upon definition. Even after a better part of a century the debate continues. In a nutshell it consists of the social and managerial processes by which products, services and value are exchanged in order to fulfill individual's or group's needs and wants. These processes include, but are not limited to, advertising.
In his book, The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker wrote that "Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business." 
If marketing is the distinguishing function of the business, then what is marketing and how is it achieved?
1. "...an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders." 
2. "Human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes." Philip Kotler
3. "...the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a decision to purchase, use, follow, refer, upload, download, obey, reject, conform, become complacent to someone else's products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn't facilitate a "sale" then it's not marketing."
4. "...the thing process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably" Chartered Institute of Marketing
5. "...find a limited market and seek to dominate it totally." Bill Good Marketing
Take these definitions collectively and a comprehensive definition of marketing, applicable to both business and non-business environments, emerges:
Processes, functions, exchanges or activities – that create perceived value by satisfying needs of those involved in the transaction. These processes succeed in moving people closer to making a decision to purchase and facilitate a "sale." Afterwards, these processes anticipate, identify and satisfy customer requirements profitably and successfully manage existing relationships.
Marketing, as suggested by the American Marketing Association, is "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders". Another definition, perhaps simpler and more universal, is this: "Marketing is the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a decision to purchase, use, follow...or conform to someone else's products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn't facilitate a "sale" then it's not marketing." Philip Kotler in his earlier books defines as: "Marketing is human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes". Add to Kotler's and Norris' definitions, a response from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) . The association's definition claims marketing to be the "management process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably". Thus, operative marketing involves the processes of market research, new product development, product life cycle management, pricing, channel management as well as promotion. Marketing-"taking actions to define, create, grow, develop, maintain, defend and own markets". An approach to business that seeks to identify, anticipate and satisfy customers needs. Al Ries and Jack Trout defined marketing as simply "war" between competitors, however this is clearly absurd - 'Ali v Frazier' is not marketing...however the publicity and hyping of the event for commercial purposes is.
"this is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to satisfy customers." Nick Jones, The Concepts of Business
The practice of marketing is almost as old as humanity itself. A Market was originally simply a gathering place where people with a supply of items or capacity to perform a service could meet with those who might desire the items or services, perhaps at a pre-arranged time.
Such meetings embodied many aspects of today's marketing methods, although sometimes in an informal way. Sellers and buyers sought to understand each other's needs, capacities, and psychology, all with the goal of getting the exchange of items or services to take place. Today's New York Stock Exchange had its humble beginnings as an open air market located at Wall Street in New York City.
The rise of Agriculture undoubtedly influenced markets as the earliest means of 'mass production' of an item, namely foodstuffs. As agriculture allowed one to grow more food than could be eaten by the grower alone, and most food is perishable, there was likely motivation to seek out others who could use the excess food, before it spoiled, in exchange for other items.
In 1960 Theodore Levitt wrote a journal article called Marketing Myopia. This is said to have really begun the marketing craze. In it he discussed that the big manufacturing industries at the time were misinterpreting what industry they were part of. He stated that until you fully understood the industry you were part of you were likely to fail. For example the rail industry was not in the business of rail transport but in the industry of transport in general they were still competing with the likes of cars and public transport.
Levitt is said to be one of the founders of the marketing discipline, and contributed to the making of the 4Ps framework that transactional marketing is based around.
A market-focused, or customer-focused, organization first determines what its potential customers desire, and then builds the product or service. Marketing theory and practice is justified in the belief that customers use a product/service because they have a need, or because a product/service has a perceived benefit.
Two major factors of marketing are the recruitment of new customers (acquisition) and the retention and expansion of relationships with existing customers (base management).
Once a marketer has converted the prospective buyer, base management marketing takes over. The process for base management shifts the marketer to building a relationship, nurturing the links, enhancing the benefits that sold the buyer in the first place, and improving the product/service continuously to protect the business from competitive encroachments.
Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Anthropology is also a small, but growing, influence. Market research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts.
For a marketing plan to be successful, the mix of the four "Ps" must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers in the target market. Trying to convince a market segment to buy something they don't want is extremely expensive and seldom successful. Marketers depend on marketing research, both formal and informal, to determine what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for it. Marketers hope that this process will give them a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing management is the practical application of this process. The offer is also an important addition to the 4P's theory.
Within most organizations, the activities encompassed by the marketing function are led by a Vice President or Director of Marketing. A growing number of organizations, especially large US companies, have a Chief Marketing Officer position, reporting to the Chief Executive Officer.
 Transactional Marketing
- There are a large number of potential customers
- Customers and their needs are fairly homogenous
- It is rather easy to replace lost customers with new ones
 Two Levels of Marketing
Marketing is understanding that marketing operates on 2 different levels.
 Strategic Marketing
Strategic Marketing attempts to determine how an organization competes against its competition in a market place. In particular, it aims at generating a competitive advantage relative to its competition. When Jack Trout says that marketing is 'the war between competitors' and 'the conflict between companies' what he is really doing is defining marketing at the business level.
 Strategic marketing process
– remember a process consists of steps which are in a specific sequence.
Step 1: Develop a vision, mission and set objectives: Top management needs to determine what type of business to run and where the business wants to be in 15 - 20 years time.
Step 2: To enable management to make well informed decisions, information needs to be gathered from the environment. The environment is divided into three main parts namely the micro environment (This represents the business itself and is also known as the internal environment), the market environment (this represents part of the external environment and engages those participants that closely interact with the business) and the macro environment (this represents political (policies & license),economical and social environment of the region). This is also part of the external environment but there is limited direct interaction with the business. An assessment of all three environments are known as a situation analysis. All data gathered during the situation analysis must be processed into a usable format so that the managers can use it (known as information). An aid in analyzing the information to support management in decision making is using a SWOT grid. A SWOT grid is a summary of the findings of the situation analysis in Strengths, Weaknesses (both from the internal environment) and Opportunites and Threats (both from the external environment).
Step 3: Decision making. Once the marketing managers are in possession of suitable information, they embark on a process of decision making. The combined result of the decisions forms the marketing strategy. First the marketing manager will (in conjunction with the top management of the business) participate in determining the main strategic direction of the business. Based on the information available, they decide whether it is appropriate to grow the business, keep it as it is, turn it around or even get out of the market (divest). After this decision has been made, the marketing manager must decide what competitive advantages a business possesses. A decision on segmentation follows, and from these segments a business can decide which and how many segments to select as target markets. Following the selection of target markets, a positioning sub strategy should be created for each and every target market selected to serve. Positioning consists of two steps. First, the positioning instruments (marketing mix variables) are employed to create in the mind of a consumer a favorable picture of the business when compared to rivals. Secondly, the position should be communicated to the targeted consumers by using one of the positioning instruments, namely marketing communication. Marketing communication consists of the communication mix (instruments), such as personal selling, advertising, publicity, public relations and sales promotion.
Step 4: Implementation. Once all the decisions are made it is said that the strategy is created. It can be the best strategy ever, but if it stays on paper nothing will happen. Implementation is a two part process. The first is the development of the marketing plan. The second is the development of an action plan. A simplified example of an action plan: (Flowcharting can help here) Action i.e. Budget Responsible person Starting date Completion date
Many influences exert pressure on the environment. Some of these include your own and your competitors' business decisions and the government. These pressures causes the environment to change, thus forcing businesses to revisit their visions, missions and objectives and the whole strategic process repeats itself.
 Operational Marketing
Operational Marketing executes marketing functions to attract and keep customers and to maximize the value derived from them. Also to satisfy the customer with prompt services & meeting the customer expectations.
This includes the determination of the marketing mix, advertising execution etc..
 Four Ps
- Main article: marketing mix
In popular usage, "marketing" is the promotion of products, especially advertising and branding. However, in professional usage the term has a wider meaning which recognizes that marketing is customer centered. Products are often developed to meet the desires of groups of customers or even, in some cases, for specific customers. E. Jerome McCarthy divided marketing into four general sets of activities. His typology has become so universally recognized that his four activity sets, the Four Ps, have passed into the language.
The four Ps are:
- Product: The Product management and Product marketing aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual good or service, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants.
- Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary - it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or service, e.g. time, or attention.
- Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling, and refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
- Placement or distribution refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point of sale placement or retailing. This fourth P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc.
These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix. A marketer can use these variables to craft a marketing plan. The four Ps model is most useful when marketing low value consumer products. Industrial products, services, high value consumer products require adjustments to this model. Services marketing must account for the unique nature of services. Industrial or B2B marketing must account for the long term contractual agreements that are typical in supply chain transactions. Relationship marketing attempts to do this by looking at marketing from a long term relationship perspective rather than individual transactions.
As a counter to this, Morgan, in Riding the Waves of Change (Jossey-Bass, 1988), adds "Perhaps the most significant criticism of the 4 Ps approach, which you should be aware of, is that it unconsciously emphasizes the inside–out view (looking from the company outwards), whereas the essence of marketing should be the outside–in approach". Even so, having made this important caveat, the 4 Ps offer a memorable and quite workable guide to the major categories of marketing activity, as well as a framework within which these can be used.
 Seven Ps
As well as the standard four Ps (Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement), services marketing calls upon an extra three, totaling seven and known together as the extended marketing mix. These are:
- People: Any person coming into contact with customers can have an impact on overall satisfaction. Whether as part of a supporting service to a product or involved in a total service, people are particularly important because, in the customer's eyes, they are generally inseparable from the total service. As a result of this, they must be appropriately trained, well motivated and the right type of person. Fellow customers are also sometimes referred to under 'people', as they too can affect the customer's service experience, (e.g., at a sporting event).
- Process: This is the process(es) involved in providing a service and the behaviour of people, which can be crucial to customer satisfaction.
- Physical evidence: Unlike a product, a service cannot be experienced before it is delivered, which makes it intangible. This, therefore, means that potential customers could perceive greater risk when deciding whether or not to use a service. To reduce the feeling of risk, thus improving the chance for success, it is often vital to offer potential customers the chance to see what a service would be like. This is done by providing physical evidence, such as case studies, or testimonials.
In India '4 As' are reffered to. Reflecting a consumer-centred perpective, these are:
- Acceptability of the product or services.
- Affordability of the product or services.
- Awareness of the product and services
- Availibility of the product and services.
 Eight Ps
As well as the other 7, Packaging has been added to this list by some people. The rationale is that it is very important how the product is presented to the customer, and the packaging is often the first contact that a customer has with a product. Although some disagree because packaging is seen as a subfield of promotion. Packaging is also sometimes viewed as a subfield of placement if the primary intent of the packaging is to protect the product during shipping.
"PHILOSOPHY" is the potential 8th P of marketing. Products (or services) should reflect the underlying philosophy or ethos of the organization. It should also be clear what the philosophy behind the introduction of the particular product is, as well. In his book, "Meeting Need", Ian Bruce explains this concept as it relates to marketing for charities. It also applies to other products and services.
 Beyond the 4 Ps
 Resources, Relationships, Offerings and Business Models
Marketing in the past focused mainly on basic concepts like the 4 Ps, and primarily on the psychological and sociological aspects of marketing. Competitive advantage was created by directly appealing to the needs, wants and behaviors of customers, better than the competition. Successful marketing was based on who could create the better brand or the lowest price or the most hype. Marketing in the future will be based on a more strategic approach to competitive marketing success. Marketers will consciously build and allocate resources, relationships, offerings and business models that other companies find hard to match. This does not mean the four P approach is dead, simply that it has been expanded upon.
Companies with a greater number of resources than their competitors will have an easier time competing in the marketplace. Resources include: financial (cash and cash reserves), physical (plant and equipment), human (knowledge and skill), legal (trademarks and patents), organizational (structure, competencies, policies), and informational (knowledge of consumers and competitors). Small companies usually have a harder time competing with larger corporations because of their disadvantage in resource allocation.
Success in business, as in life, is based on the relationships you have with people. Marketers must aggressively build relationships with consumers, customers, distributors, partners and even competitors if they want to have success in today's competitive marketplace. There are four type of relationships 1)win-win 2)win-lose 3)lose-lose 4)lose-win.(customer-vendor)
 Business Models
The concept of product vs. product in competitive marketing is dying. It's slowly becoming business model vs. business model. Business model innovation can make the competition's product superiority irrelevant. Business model innovation allows a marketer to change the game instead of competing on a level playing field.
 Customer focus
Many companies today have a customer focus (or customer orientation). This implies that the company focuses its activities and products on consumer demands. Generally there are three ways of doing this: the customer-driven approach, the sense of identifying market changes and the product innovation approach.
In the consumer-driven approach, consumer wants are the drivers of all strategic marketing decisions. No strategy is pursued until it passes the test of consumer research. Every aspect of a market offering, including the nature of the product itself, is driven by the needs of potential consumers. The starting point is always the consumer. The rationale for this approach is that there is no point spending R&D funds developing products that people will not buy. History attests to many products that were commercial failures in spite of being technological breakthroughs. 7
A formal approach to this customer-focused marketing is known as SIVA (Solution, Information, Value, Access). This system is basically the four Ps renamed and reworded to provide a customer focus.
The SIVA Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known 4Ps supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing management.
Product -> Solution
Promotion -> Information
Price -> Value
The four elements of the SIVA model are:
- Solution: How appropriate is the solution to the customers problem/need
- Information: Does the customer know about the solution, and if so how, who from, do they know enough to let them make a buying decision
- Value: Does the customer know the value of the transaction, what it will cost, what are the benefits, what might they have to sacrifice, what will be their reward?
- Access: Where can the customer find the solution. How easily/locally/remotely can they buy it and take delivery.
This model was proposed by Chekitan Dev and Don Schultz in the Marketing Management Journal of the American Marketing Association, and presented by them in Market Leader - the journal of the Marketing Society in the UK.
The model focuses heavily on the customer and how they view the transaction.
 Product focus
In a product innovation approach, the company pursues product innovation, then tries to develop a market for the product. Product innovation drives the process and marketing research is conducted primarily to ensure that a profitable market segment(s) exists for the innovation. The rationale is that customers may not know what options will be available to them in the future so we should not expect them to tell us what they will buy in the future. However, marketers can aggressively over-pursue product innovation and try to overcapitalize on a niche. When pursuing a product innovation approach, marketers must ensure that they have a varied and multi-tiered approach to product innovation. It is claimed that if Thomas Edison depended on marketing research he would have produced larger candles rather than inventing light bulbs. Many firms, such as research and development focused companies, successfully focus on product innovation. Many purists doubt whether this is really a form of marketing orientation at all, because of the ex post status of consumer research. Some even question whether it is marketing.
 Other aspects
- An emerging area of study and practice concerns internal marketing, or how employees are trained and managed to deliver the brand in a way that positively impacts the acquisition and retention of customers (employer branding).
- The use of herd behavior in marketing.
- In an article entitled "Swarming the shelves: How shops can exploit people's herd mentality to increase sales", The Economist recently reported a recent conference in Rome on the subject of the simulation of adaptive human behavior. Mechanisms to increase impulse buying and get people "to buy more by playing on the herd instinct" were shared. The basic idea is that people will buy more of products that are seen to be popular, and several feedback mechanisms to get product popularity information to consumers are mentioned, including smart-cart technology and the use of Radio Frequency Identification Tag technology. A "swarm-moves" model was introduced by a Princeton researcher, which is appealing to supermarkets because it can "increase sales without the need to give people discounts." Large retailers Wal-Mart in the United States and Tesco in Britain plan to test the technology in spring 2007.
- Other recent studies on the "power of social influence" include an "artificial music market in which some 14,000 people downloaded previously unknown songs" (Columbia University, New York); a Japanese chain of convenience stores which orders its products based on "sales data from department stores and research companies;" a Massachusetts company exploiting knowledge of social networking to improve sales; and online retailers who are increasingly informing consumers about "which products are popular with like-minded consumers" (e.g., Amazon).
 Criticism of marketing
Some aspects of marketing, especially promotion, are the subject of criticism. It is especially problematic in classical economic theory, which is based on the assumption that supply and demand are independent. However, product promotion is an attempt coming from the supply side to influence demand. In this way producer market power is attained as measured by profits that would not be realized under a free market. Then the argument follows that non-free markets are imperfect and lead to production and consumption of suboptimal amounts of the product.
Critics acknowledge that marketing has legitimate uses in connecting goods and services to the consumers who want them. Critics also point out that marketing techniques have been used to achieve morally dubious ends by businesses, governments and criminals. Critics see a systemic social evil inherent in marketing (see No Logo, Bill Hicks, Marxism or Commercial Alert). Marketing is accused of creating ruthless exploitation of both consumers and workers by treating people as commodities whose purpose is to consume. (see Fashion victim)
Most marketers believe that marketing techniques themselves are amoral. While it is ethically neutral, it can be used for negative purposes, such as selling unhealthy food to obese people or selling SUVs in a time of global warming, but it can also have a positive influence on consumer welfare.
The Observer’s survey among 1’206 UK adult consumers in 2001 highlighted some of the stark changes our society has gone through in the last two decades. This raises a question on the effectiveness of the CIM’s definition of marketing (anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer needs profitably), mainly in consumer marketing. There are similar concerns in industrial markets, also known as business-to-business or B2B. Industrial market segmentation attempts to provide some answers.
Core marketing elements such as segmentation, targeting and positioning are still relevant in the modern (or post-modern) world. However, they are complex topics that need a high level of effort, intelligent thinking as well as resources to be implemented successfully. A definitive statement cannot be made whether the conventional marketing concept is applicable in today’s environment. Its relevance is very much situational and depends on many factors such as the product, the segment, time, location, political and economic conditions and the inner workings of a company.
However, some scholars such as Stephen Brown challenge the marketing concept in an extreme language. Their statements, sometimes unfair, are relevant, which is why Post-Modern Marketing 2 was chosen as a key reference point for this chapter.
On the one hand Brown makes positive statements about marketing, e.g. “marketing is endowed with considerable personal charm and has enjoyed more than its fair share of conquests” (Brown, 1998:16); and “indeed, the increasing academic attention that is being devoted to marketing and consumption-related phenomena by non-business disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and history; far from being the second-hand rose of the scholarship, marketing is now something of a fashion leader” (p 17)
On the other hand, he condemns marketing by saying “marketing has to decide whether to expose its intellectual nakedness or press itself against the searing heat of postmodernism” (p 17); and using quotes such as “mid-life crisis” (p 23); “in decline; failing; anachronistic; being abandoned; no longer appropriate; in an unprecedented state of crisis; delivered nothing of value; failure; confusion; misunderstanding; occasional inexplicable hitting of the jackpot” (p. 21).
This apparent love-hate relationship is proof in itself that even a skeptics find it difficult to deny the contribution that marketing has made and can make to customer satisfaction and economic value. It has contributed to both customers’ and suppliers’ quality of life by selecting profitable customer satisfaction as its sole objective. The marketing concept, together with other business disciplines, helped the UK to make the transition from a 19th-century manufacturing economy to a modern model of success in the service industry, creating an economic growth period never seen before in the United Kingdom.
Marketing has helped create value through customized products, no-questions-asked refund policies, comfortable cars, environmental attention, shopkeepers’ smile, and guaranteed delivery dates. Even some government departments address the public not as ‘the Queen’s subjects’ or ‘the applicants’ any more but as ‘customers.' Of course all of the above is done for economic or political gain, for better or worse. Despite all this achievement, to dismiss marketing as a failure is unfair.
Marketing also helps companies avoid unnecessary R&D, operational and sales costs by helping to develop products because customers want them, not for the sake of innovation. Another success is the now commonly implemented value-pricing principle, whereby a product or service is sold for the price the customer is willing to pay, not on a cost-plus basis. This way, both suppliers and customers get a fair deal.
In the context of segmentation, Brown suggests that “the traditional, linear, step-by-step marketing model of analysis, planning, implementation and control no longer seems applicable, appropriate or even pertinent to what is actually happening on the ground” (p. 23-24). If Mr. Brown had studied “the ground” before making his statement, he would have realised that companies are successful the world over precisely because they implement this model.
They segment their markets, relate their products and services to them, define their value proposition and serve their customers accordingly. Examples are General Electric, HSBC, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Smiths Aerospace, BAE Systems, BOC Edwards, Weir Group and the BT Group to name but a few. A brief visit to their websites can make this point clear.
Stephen Brown also has a constructive suggestion: “I reckon we need more passion in marketing, not less; it is time we banished banishing passion from works of marketing scholarship” (p. 256). This refers mainly to promotion, which is only one element within the marketing concept. The truth is that marketing today leads the way in segmentation, innovation, pricing, product management, distribution, and last but not least, promotion.
After all the contribution as well as further potential, to deny its successes and try to reduce it to only promotion is a great injustice to the marketing profession as well as to academic insight. Contrary to Brown’s suggestion in his final paragraph (p. 257), we need objectivity, rigour, quantification, models, relationships, paradigm shifts and (some application of) science.
- ^ Adapted from Kotler, Armstrong, Brown Adam & Chandler, (1998)Marketing 4th edition, Pearson Education, Australia.
- ^ http://www.forbes.com/columnists/2006/06/30/jack-trout-on-marketing-cx_jt_0703drucker.html
- ^ "Dictionary of Marketing Terms" from marketingpower.com.
- ^ “What is Marketing? 
- ^ "The Concept of the Marketing Mix" from the Journal of Advertising Research, June 1964 pp 2-7
- ^ "Passionate & Profitable: Why Customer Strategies Fail and 10 Steps to Do Them Right!", Lior Arussy, John Wiley & Sons, 2005
- ^ "Marketing Management: Strategies and Programs", Guiltinan et al, McGraw Hill/Irwin, 1996
- ^ "In the Mix: A Customer-Focused Approach Can Bring the Current Marketing Mix into the 21st Century". Chekitan S. Dev and Don E. Schultz, Marketing Management v.14 n.1 January/February 2005
- ^ "Swarming the shelves: How shops can exploit people's herd mentality to increase sales?", The Economist, 2006-11-11, p. 90.
- ^ Marketing Nutrition: Soy, Functional Foods, Biotechnology, and Obesity (2005), Brian Wansink, Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press
- ^ "The Customer Driven Company: Moving From Talk to Action" R.C. Whiteley, Pfeiffer & Company, 2000
- ^ Brown, Stephen (1993), „Postmodern Marketing?“, European Journal of Marketing Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 19-34
- ^ Brown, Stephen (1998), „Post-Modern Marketing 2 – Telling Tales“, Thomson Business Press.
 See also
 Related lists
has a collection of quotations related to:
- See list of marketing topics for an extensive list of the marketing articles