Definitive explanation of marketing
Picture the scene. You’re at a job interview or at a board meeting. The question’s put to you, “Just what is marketing?”
Help may not be at hand. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is hoping to spark debate across the industry with the first proposed re-definition of the practice for over 30 years.
Back in 1976 the CIM’s definition of Marketing was, “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
This has now come under review on the back of the changing media landscape with developments such as customer power, technology, media fragmentation, metrics managing people and ethics.
Back in the Seventies, direct simply meant a mailshot but CRM now means marketers can build up a consensual and targeted relationship with consumers.
The explosion of numerous TV channels, specialist magazines and emergence of the internet now means there is no universal experience in the modern media world.
Other developments include an increased focus on ROI and accountability as, according to the CIM, the marketing profession has grown by 80 per cent in the past 10 years.
Ethics are now also more important than ever, leading CIM Director of Research and Information, David Thorp, to say, “We want to encourage attitudes where marketers accept responsibility for the social and environmental aspects of their work.”
“Corporate Social Responsibility will become a defining element of marketing in the early part of this century.”
He added, “Marketing is everywhere and is way too important to be left to marketers alone.
“Meanwhile, the growth of social marketing year on year could see social marketing teams soon working alongside established marketing teams.”
The new proposed definition has been shaped by academic and marketing professionals and reads:
“[Marketing is] the strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand.
“It does this by building brands, nurturing innovation, developing relationships, creating good customer service and communicating benefits.
“By operating customer centrically, marketing brings positive return on investment, satisfies shareholders and stakeholders from business and the community and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future.”
David Thorp said, “We want to stir up debate and engagement with the new definition. This is where we think it should be but we want people to question it.
“If this definition is relevant in five or 10 years time, I’ll be pleased because the marketing landscape is changing so rapidly.”
He added, “We want a new respect for marketing and for it to be seen as valuable.
“We’d like the new definition to be central to people’s understanding of marketing and be quoted around the world.”
Thorp admitted that although the definition had little impact on marketers in their day-to-day working it was valuable in underpinning the education of marketing and standards of development.
The proposed definition is to be taken ‘on tour’ and could be released as the official definition next year.