Marketing is a social and managerial function associated with the process of researching, developing, promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.

October 10, 2006 — Leave a comment

Marketing is a social and managerial function associated with the process of researching, developing, promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.


Marketing, as suggested by the American Marketing Association, is “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”.[1]

Another definition, perhaps simpler and more universal, is this: “Marketing is the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a decision to purchase, use, follow…or conform to someone else’s products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn’t facilitate a “sale” then it’s not marketing.”[2]

Philip Kotler in his earlier books defines as: “Marketing is human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes”. Add to Kotler’s and Norris’ definitions, a response from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) [3]. The association’s definition claims marketing to be the “management process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. Thus, operative marketing involves the processes of market research, new product development, product life cycle management, pricing, channel management as well as promotion.


The practice of marketing is almost as old as humanity itself. Whenever a person has an item or is capable of performing a service, and he or she seeks another person who might want that item or service, that person is involved in marketing. A market was originally simply a gathering place where people with a supply of items or capacity to perform a service could meet with those who might desire the items or services, perhaps at a pre arranged time.

Such meetings embodied all the aspects of today’s marketing methods, although in an informal way. Sellers and buyers sought to understand each other’s needs, capacities, and psychology, all with the goal of getting the exchange of items or services to take place. Open markets throughout the world, with buyers and sellers mingling are today’s example of this basic activity.

The rise of agriculture undoubtedly influenced markets as the earliest means of ‘mass production’ of an item, namely foodstuffs. As agriculture allowed one to grow more food than could be eaten by the grower alone, and most food is perishable, there was likely motivation to seek out others who could use the excess food, before it spoiled, in exchange for other items.


Prior to the advent of market research, most companies were product-focused, employing teams of salespeople to push their products into or onto the market, regardless of market desire. A market-focused, or customer-focused, organization instead first determines what its potential customers desire, and then builds the product or service. Marketing theory and practice is justified on the belief that customers use a product/service because they have a need, or because a product/service has a perceived benefit.

Two major aspects of marketing are the recruitment of new customers (acquisition) and the retention and expansion of relationships with existing customers (base management).

Once a marketer has converted the prospective buyer, base management marketing takes over. The process for base management shifts the marketer to building a relationship, nurturing the links, enhancing the benefits that sold the buyer in the first place, and improving the product/service continuously to protect her business from competitive encroachments.

Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Anthropology is also a small, but growing, influence. Market research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts.

For a marketing plan to be successful, the mix of the four “Ps” must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers in the target market. Trying to convince a market segment to buy something they don’t want is extremely expensive and seldom successful. Marketers depend on marketing research, both formal and informal, to determine what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for. Marketers hope that this process will give them a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing management is the practical application of this process. The offer is also an important addition to the 4P’s theory.

Four Ps (marketing mix)

In popular usage, “marketing” is the promotion of products, especially advertising and branding. However, in professional usage the term has a wider meaning that recognizes that marketing is customer centered. Products are often developed to meet the desires of groups of customers or even, in some cases, for specific customers. E. Jerome McCarthy divided marketing into four general sets of activities. His typology has become so universally recognized that his four activity sets, the Four Ps, have passed into the language.

The four Ps are:

  • Product: The Product management and Product marketing aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual good or service, and how it relates to the end-user‘s needs and wants.
  • Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts.
  • Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling, and refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
  • Placement or distribution refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point of sale placement or retailing. This fourth P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to “where” a product or service is sold, e.g. in which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people, women, men, etc.).

These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix. A marketer can use these variables to craft a marketing plan. The four Ps model is most useful when marketing low value consumer products. Industrial products, services, high value consumer products require adjustments to this model. Services marketing must account for the unique nature of services. Industrial or B2B marketing must account for the long term contractual agreements that are typical in supply chain transactions. Relationship marketing attempts to do this by looking at marketing from a long term relationship perspective rather than individual transactions.

As a counter to this, Morgan, in Riding the Waves of Change (Jossey-Bass, 1988), adds “Perhaps the most significant criticism of the 4 Ps approach, which you should be aware of, is that it unconsciously emphasizes the inside–out view (looking from the company outwards), whereas the essence of marketing should be the outside–in approach”. Even so, having made this important caveat, the 4 Ps offer a memorable and quite workable guide to the major categories of marketing activity, as well as a framework within which these can be used. [4].

Seven Ps

As well as the standard four Ps (Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement), services marketing calls upon an extra three, totalling seven and known together as the extended marketing mix. These are:

  • People: Any person coming into contact with customers can have an impact on overall satisfaction. Whether as part of a supporting service to a product or involved in a total service, people are particularly important because, in the customers’ eyes, they are generally inseparable from the total service. As a result of this, they must be appropriately trained, well motivated and the right type of person. Fellow customers are also sometime reffered to under ‘people’, as they too can affect the customers service experience (e.g. at a sporting event).
  • Process: This is the processes involved in providing a service and the behaviour of people, which can be crucial to customer satisfaction.
  • Physical evidence: Unlike a product, a service cannot be experienced before it is delivered, which makes it intangible. This therefore means that potential customers perceive greater risk when deciding whether or not to use a service. To reduce the feeling of risk, thus improving success, it is often vital to offer potential customers the chance to see what a service would be like. This is done by providing physical evidence, such as case studies, or testimonials.

Customer focus

Enlarge picture

The next big thing in marketing: pedapod arrives in Sydney, Australia

Most companies today have a customer orientation (also called customer focus). This implies that the company focuses its activities and products on customer needs. Generally there are two ways of doing this: the customer-driven approach and the product innovation approach.

In the consumer-driven approach, consumer wants are the drivers of all strategic marketing decisions. No strategy is pursued until it passes the test of consumer research. Every aspect of a market offering, including the nature of the product itself, is driven by the needs of potential consumers. The starting point is always the consumer. The rationale for this approach is that there is no point spending R&D funds developing products that people will not buy. History attests to many products that were commercial failures in spite of being technological breakthroughs.

The next big thing is a concept in marketing that refers to a product or idea that will allow for a high amount of sales for that product and related products. Marketers believe that by finding or creating the next big thing they will spark a cultural revolution that results in this sales increase.

Product focus

In a product innovation approach, the company pursues product innovation, then tries to develop a market for the product. Product innovation drives the process and marketing research is conducted primarily to ensure that a profitable market segment(s) exists for the innovation. The rationale is that customers may not know what options will be available to them in the future so we should not expect them to tell us what they will buy in the future. It is claimed that if Thomas Edison depended on marketing research he would have produced larger candles rather than inventing light bulbs. Many firms, such as research and development focused companies, successfully focus on product innovation. Many purists doubt whether this is really a form of marketing orientation at all, because of the ex post status of consumer research. Some even question whether it is marketing.

Other aspects

Advertising and promotions

Businesses need to advertise for the following four main reasons:

  • To raise customer awareness.
  • To remind customers about existing facilities.
  • To persuade customers to switch from rival businesses.
  • To improve and maintain the image of the business.

The ultimate aim of these points is to attract more customers. The places our business will advertise from depends on three things:

  • Its audience.
  • The size of their market.
  • The size of their advertising budget.

Forms of Advertising and their advantages and disadvantages:


Newspapers and Magazines

  • Advantages – A lot of information is known about the people who read certain papers
  • Disadvantages – Often not in color and are static and silent

Posters and Billboards

  • Advantages – High visual impact for a long time and will be seen by a lot of different people
  • Disadvantages – Are only seen for a few seconds by drivers and are vulnerable to weather and graffiti

Yellow Pages

  • Advantages – Anyone looking in the Yellow Pages wants to buy
  • Disadvantages – A lot of your competitors are on the same page you are



  • Advantages – Can reach millions of people all over the country
  • Disadvantages – Very expensive


  • Advantages – Cheaper than T.V, can be used to reach certain listeners
  • Disadvantages – Sound only, smaller audiences


  • Advantages – Very high visual and sound effect, captive audience
  • Disadvantages – Are relatively expensive


Leaflets and junk mail

  • Advantages – Cheap to produce and distribute
  • Disadvantages – Are easy to ignore


  • Advantages – Direct to customer, interactive, receive instant feed back.
  • Disadvantages – makes some customers feel their privacy has been violated, sometimes has negative results.


  • Advantages – High visual impact, interactive and can link directly to buying the product, is relatively cheap
  • Disadvantages – There is a lot of competition so getting people’s attention may be difficult, needs to be continually updated, can become expensive

Criticism of marketing

Some aspects of marketing, especially promotion, are the subject of criticism. It is especially problematic in classical economic theory, which is based on the assumption that supply and demand are independent. However, product promotion is an attempt coming from the supply side to influence demand. In this way producer market power is attained as measured by profits that would not be realized under a free market. Then the argument follows that non-free markets are imperfect and lead to production and consumption of suboptimal amounts of the product.

To some critics, the ability of marketers to alter consumer behavior is powerful and frightening[citation needed].

Critics acknowledge that marketing has legitimate uses in connecting goods and services to the consumers who want them. Critics also point out that marketing techniques have been used to achieve morally dubious ends by businesses, governments and criminals. Critics see a systemic social evil inherent in marketing (see No Logo, Bill Hicks, Marxism or Commercial Alert). Marketing is accused of creating ruthless exploitation of both consumers and workers by treating people as commodities whose purpose is to consume.

Most marketers believe that marketing, like any other technology, is amoral. It can be used for good or evil purposes, but the technique itself is ethically neutral.

See also

Related lists

See list of marketing topics for an extensive list of the marketing articles

External links

Product management is a function within a company dealing with the day-to-day management and welfare of a product or family of products at all stages of the product lifecycle.
….. –> Pricing is one of the four p’s of the marketing mix. The other three aspects are product management, promotion, and place.
….. –> Promotion is one of the four aspects of marketing. The other three parts of the marketing mix are product management, pricing, and distribution.
….. –> ‘Distribution‘ is one of the four aspects of marketing. A distributor is the middleman between the manufacturer and retailer.
….. –> service is the non-material equivalent of a good. Service provision has been defined as an economic activity that does not result in ownership, and this is what differentiates
….. –> Market research is broader in scope and examines all aspects of a business environment. It asks questions about competitors, market structure, government regulations, economic
….. –> Marketing strategies serve as the fundamental underpinning of marketing plans designed to reach marketing objectives. It is important that these objectives have measurable results.
….. –> Marketing management is a business discipline focused on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of a firm’s marketing resources and activities.
….. –> Advertising is the commercial promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas, usually performed by an identified sponsor, and performed through a variety of media.
….. –> In marketing, sales promotion is one of the four aspects of promotion. (The other three parts of the promotional mix are advertising, personal selling, and publicity/public relations.
….. –>

Salesman redirects to here.

Sales, or the activity of selling, forms an integral part of commercial activity.
….. –> Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people (for example, politicians and performing artists), goods
….. –> Public relations is the art and science of managing communication between an organization and its key publics to build, manage and sustain its positive image.
….. –> Direct marketing is a discipline within marketing that involves the planned recording, analysis and tracking of individual customers’ (business-to-business or consumer) responses and
….. –> A newspaper is a publication containing news and information and advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint.
….. –> magazine is a periodical publication containing a variety of articles, generally financed by advertising and/or purchase by readers.
….. –> Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video signals (programs) to a number of recipients (“listeners” or “viewers”) that belong to a large group.
….. –> E-marketing is a type of marketing that can be defined as achieving objectives through the use of electronic communications technology such as Internet, e-mail, Ebooks, database, and
….. –> A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order.
….. –>

worldwide view.
Please improve the article or discuss the issue on the .

A billboard or hoarding
….. –> Some references:

  • Herbert Gintis, Samuel Bowles, Robert T. Boyd, and Ernst Fehr (eds.), Moral Sentiments and Material Interests,

….. –> ManaGeR (MGR) is a graphical window system. The MGR server provides a builtin window manager and windowed graphics terminal emulation on color and monochrome bitmap displays.
….. –> Product may mean:

  • Product (biology), something manufactured by an organelle
  • Product (business), an item that satisfies a market’s want or need

….. –> service is the non-material equivalent of a good. Service provision has been defined as an economic activity that does not result in ownership, and this is what differentiates
….. –> The American Marketing Association is a professional association for marketers. It has approximately 38,000 members.
….. –> Dr. Philip Kotler (born 27 May 1931 in Chicago) is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern
….. –> Market research is broader in scope and examines all aspects of a business environment. It asks questions about competitors, market structure, government regulations, economic
….. –> In business and engineering, new product development is the complete process of bringing a new product to market.
….. –> The conditions a product is sold under will change over time. The Product Life Cycle refers to the succession of stages a product goes through.
….. –> Pricing is one of the four p’s of the marketing mix. The other three aspects are product management, promotion, and place.
….. –> Sources=Sources | 128

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