What is Marketing?
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What is Marketing?

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

This post and more is contained within our CIM ebook, 7Ps: a brief summary of marketing and how it works

Every product we buy, every store we visit, every media message we receive and every choice we make in our consumer society has been shaped by the forces of marketing.

CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing) offers the following definition for marketing: 

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Sometimes people assume marketing is just about advertising or selling, but this is not the whole story. It is a key management discipline that ensures producers of goods and services can interpret consumer desires and match, or exceed them.

The marketing process is central to the business performance of companies, both large and small, because it addresses the most important aspects of the market. It is about understanding the competitive marketplace and ensuring you can tap into key trends, reaching consumers with the right product at the right price, place and time.

Clever marketing has led to many recent business success stories - from pharmaceuticals to airlines, sports brands to food and drink, and business-to-business [B2B] companies to small, niche players.

Conversely, history reminds us that without proper marketing, you can’t get close to customers and satisfy their needs – and if you can’t, a competitor surely will.

Getting close has become more important than ever as digital and mobile technology make inroads into all aspects of life. This revolution has also provided new tools to make marketing more targeted, relevant and effective.

Today, as competitive pressures increase, marketing skills have never been more highly valued. What was once seen as a departmental activity is now regarded as a frontline business attitude for all employees.

The professionals who shape and implement marketing strategy contribute directly to the economy. Their skills attract and retain customers, build sales and increase profits – generating wealth for all.

Why Marketing?

Many organisations - especially small firms - are already marketing without realising it.

You might not be advertising your services, but you probably do make an effort to know your customers well. Your instincts tell you that figuring out what every customer wants, and meeting those expectations, will keep you in business. You know that you need to improve and extend existing products, and sometimes develop new ones.

If this description rings true, your marketing activity closely fits the classic definition used by CIM.

But is this kind of ‘unconscious’ marketing adequate? If you don’t understand that you’re ‘doing’ marketing, it’s hard to keep things consistent over time. This isn’t an obvious problem for very small organisations, but marketing on the hoof becomes less feasible as you grow.

How do you create a proper marketing strategy for the future? How can you keep up with your competitors, exploiting all the latest technological developments at a time of rapid change?

Applying a simple marketing framework is vital. It enables you to plan your activities in advance, find out what works, and then use them again when and where they are most effective. The rest of this series will help you to do just that, giving you suggestions for practical marketing that builds on what you are already doing.

It deals with what a company is going to produce; how much it is going to charge; how it is going to deliver products or services to the customer; and how it is going to tell its customers about its products and services.

Traditionally, these considerations were known as the 4Ps — Product, Price, Place and Promotion. As marketing became a more sophisticated discipline, a fifth ‘P’ was added — People.

More recently, two further ‘P’s were added — Process and Physical evidence. Originally formulated for the service industry, they are just as important in other sectors.

In the 1990s, as experts realised that business had to become more customer-centric, an alternative ‘4 Cs’ of marketing was proposed. Correlating almost directly with the original 4PS, they were: Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. The 7Ps model, however, has endured and more than adequately incorporates today’s customer-first marketing world.

Want to read more about the fundamentals of marketing? Check out our later posts in the series The 7Ps of marketing and Planning a marketing strategy, or take a look at our marketing fundamentals course which has all of this info and more to get you immersed in everything marketing.

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