Marketing comes in a wide variety of flavors based on audience, media platform and business in today’s evolving and dynamic marketplace. Therefore, it is no surprise that marketers define what they do differently. Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. This definition clearly places marketing as a process. Within most organizations this process is managed by the marketing function. Baker (1), Bernard and Brown (2) among others, however, have argued that in addition to being a function, marketing is clearly an organizational philosophy- an approach to doing business. This approach is exemplified by the quote of Professor Stephen Burnett, appearing in the preface to the 6th edition of the influential marketing text by Philip Kotler (3): In a truly great marketing organization you can’t tell who’s in the marketing department. Everyone in the organization you can’t tell who’s in the marketing department. Everyone in the organization has to make decisions based on the impact on the customer. In addition King 4 has criticized too narrow perspective on marketing- confining it to what a “bolt on” marketing department does- and recommends a broader interpretation of terms. Despite the current levels of interest in defining the domain of marketing, and in particular the function- philosophy debate, few studies have focused on what marketing means. The generally accepted European definition of marketing is given by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). It might be wise to commit this particular definition to memory: Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumer requirements profitability. Some writers use the terms ‘need’ and ‘wants’ rather than customer ‘requirement’. Kotler(1991) one of the world’s leading academics in marketing, defines a ‘need’ as a basic requirement such as food, shelter, self-esteem, etc. He defines a ‘want’ as a particular way of satisfy a ‘need’. For e.g, a person may need food, but he or she may not necessarily want beans on toast! A more technical definition is given for marketing by the American Marketing Association: Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. Although this definition is not as concise as that provided by the CIM, it is more correct, as the CIM definition highlights the ‘profitability’ criterion.
To look at marketing as a business philosophy is to take a hostilic view of the discipline. This approach is explained by Peter Drucker (1954): Many people think of marketing only as selling and advertising. And no wonder-everyday we are bombarded with television commercials, Newspaper ads, direct-mail campaigns, and sales calls. However, selling and advertising are only the tip of the marketing iceberg. Although they are important, they are only two of many marketing functions and are often not the most important ones. Today marketing must be understood not in the old-sense of marketing- “telling and selling”- but in the new sense of satisfying customer needs. If the marketer does a very good job of understanding consumer needs; develops product that provide superior value; and prices, distributes, and promotes them effectively, these products will sell very easily. Thus selling and advertising are only a part of a larger “marketing mix” – a set of marketing tools that work together to affect the market-place.
(1) Baker, M.J., marketing an introductory text, 4th edition, Macmillan, london, 1985 (2) Bernard, K.N, “functional practice and conceptual function-the inherent dichotomy of marketing,” journal of marketing...