Marketing Is Marketing

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Introduction:

"Marketing is marketing, irrespective of the product or marketplace". This is a theme common to many introductory marketing texts and degree courses. The two most common exceptions cited to this proposition are buying behavior models between consumers and business buyers and the extended ingredients of the services marketing mix. While the overall sentiments of marketing hold true across product and market boundaries, perhaps the differences are in fact more marked? Intends to spark some discussion pertaining to the extent to which marketers can safely generalize when discussing the nature and characteristics of marketing. Are we correct in offering students and in-company training program generalizations that cut across the marketing domain? Are we doing justice to the core nuances if we simply draw out the variations between consumer goods, services, industrial and business-to-business marketing? Is there a different perspective that should, in the new millennium, be the focus of textbooks and marketing courses?

Content Indicators: readability, Practice implications, originality, Research Implications*

Marketing is marketing, irrespective of the product or marketplace.

This is a theme common to many introductory marketing texts and courses. The two most common exceptions cited to this proposition are buying behavior models between consumers and business buyers and the extended ingredients of the services marketing mix (cf. Dibb et al., 1997; Kotler, 1998). While the overall sentiments of marketing hold true across product and market boundaries, perhaps the differences are in fact more marked?

The marketers of services were the first to "speak out", arguing that the nature of marketing is different owing to the basic characteristics of services:

·intangibility;

·direct organization-client relationship;

·consumer participation in the production process; and

·Complexity.

The upshot for services marketers has been the extension of the marketing mix from the classical product, price, place (channel) and promotion "4Ps" to include at least people, physical evidence (ambience) and process. These marketers also point to the characteristics of services, notably intangibility of the service "product", restricting opportunities for creating a differential advantage over competitors, with the inevitable dependence for differentiation and competitive edge on branding initiatives and personnel.

While services marketers have outlined significant differences for "their marketing", on the whole, texts and marketers have argued there are relatively only minor differences between the marketing of consumer goods and industrial or business-to-business goods. This paper is intended to spark some discussion pertaining to the extent to which marketers can safely generalize when discussing the nature and characteristics of industrial, business-to-business marketing. Are we correct in offering students and in-company training program generalizations, which cut across the marketing domain? Are we doing justice to the core nuances if we simply draw out the variations between consumer goods, services, industrial and business-to-business marketing? Is there a different "cut of the cake" which should, as the new millennium dawns, be the focus of textbooks and marketing courses?

As co-author of one of the leading introductory marketing texts, Marketing: Concepts & Strategies (Dibb et al., 1997), regular MBA, undergraduate and in-company lecturer, as well as marketing consultant, these are themes which, increasingly, are causing this author concern when preparing seminar papers and lecturing sessions. Based on many years of researching and working with consumer brands, services and industrial products, as a starting proposition, here is a very personal view of how marketing in industrial markets really is different. Or is it?

The core dissimilarities

From basic...
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