I run across a lot of people who want to work in marketing without really knowing what it is. In general, when you ask them, you get some vague answer about advertising, media, and promotion – in other words, the fun stuff, and certainly something that many marketers do every day.
But truly, what is marketing? What is the objective of marketing? One of the texts from which I taught as a professor used this definition:
An organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
So, let’s break that down. An organizational function is a job within a company. The set of processes are the things you do to get that job done. The key words in this definition, in my mind, are creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers. Most wannabe marketers focus on the communication portion of that statement and forget that they have to create value. Interestingly, social media marketers, probably the largest group of untrained marketers on earth, get that they have to create and communicate value, and because the value they are creating is informational, they are delivering it as well.
Another somewhat ignored function is managing customer relationships to benefit the organization and its stakeholders. While providing information has value, it’s generally considered more of a promotional function. Marketers have to manage customer relationships – requiring them to know who they are targeting, what market position and pricing will be attractive to them.
And who benefits? The customer frequently benefits from the created value, but the main goal is to benefit the organization and its stakeholders by adding profits to the bottom line and increasing the long-term value of the organization to the owners.