Most people, when asked what marketing is all about, usually give the following responses:
Advertising! Sales! Products! Free gifts!
This isn’t unusual. These words often describe what most
people think marketing represents, whether they’re students or indeed fellow professionals who work in industry.
The descriptive words above certainly form part of the
jigsaw puzzle of what the world of marketing constitutes, but marketing itself is so much more. This is one of the first myths of marketing that needs dispelling. Marketing is not just about advertising and promotional work. People perceive it as such because promotional work, whether it be advertising, PR or
sales promotional activity, is often the most visible part of a marketing team’s effort to the outside world.
The second myth that needs dispelling, one most people,
even those who work in business often believe, is that
marketing is just a function of business that merely churns out
4 ■ Develop your marketing skills
products, free gifts and advertising matter from employees who work in the marketing department. However, marketing is
much deeper and significantly more profound than this.
If marketing is used and truly understood and implemented
correctly in a business, it becomes a philosophy, a way of doing business – a whole approach, which should and must permeate throughout an entire organisation. Hence, marketing is everybody’s responsibility, not just the specialist marketers who work in the marketing department.
Why is it everybody’s responsibility?
Well, think about it logically. How many times have you
phoned an organisation and been cut off, or not spoken to in a professional manner, or not been given the answers you
deserve? How many times have you visited organisations as a
customer and your feet stick to the floors because they haven’t been cleaned properly, or you meet staff who haven’t been
trained to deal with questions and queries?
The reason marketing is everybody’s responsibility is quite simple, yet incredibly important – it is because we all play a part in creating the ‘customer experience’.
So – what actually is it?
If one word had to be chosen to encapsulate the central focus of marketing it would be ‘customer’. Marketing is about understanding who your customers are, being able to anticipate what they require now and in the future and, ultimately, satisfying their every need. All the work your organisation undertakes
(not just the marketing department) should therefore be created and implemented to serve the customer.
The definition put forward by the Chartered Institute of
Marketing (see www.cim.co.uk) is a sound one; it describes
marketing as ‘the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’. This definition is useful in understanding the key facets
Marketing: separating fact from fiction ■ 5
of what marketing is truly all about as it is direct, concise and almost every word means something that is critical to understanding exactly what the marketing philosophy entails. The first three words of this definition are particularly
important in understanding marketing. First, marketing is
now seen as being of senior management importance, being
strategic as well as tactical and operational. For it to be truly embedded into the culture and heart of an organisation, it
needs commitment from top management, and in many
organisations today a marketing director will be on the board to lead the organisation forwards with a marketing-based
Secondly, marketing is a process. There is no clinical start and end. It isn’t linear. It’s continual – a process – it never stops or ends. As the world changes, so do our customers, hence our businesses adapt and evolve to move with the times.
Before we can satisfy the customer we must truly understand
who they are as well as we...
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