What Marketing Really Is ?

Marketing Picture
Exactly, what is marketing? It seems like everyone has his/her own idea, opinion when it comes to marketing and it is confusing. So I thought to give my own though backed by research (coming from well reputed marketing, business journals, respected and renowned academics and practitioners).

Well in my opinion (marketing definition) Marketing is actually acquisition and retention of target market/customers by creating value, delivering value and capturing value”, it’s not a function of business but is the function of business (1).

Well since I am no Philip Kotler, McKitterick, Borden therefore I am required to support my position (definition) on marketing with their understandings, theories, position on marketing. And that sounds reasonable, right ?!

So let’s give it a try!

Marketing concept was first introduced by McKitterick (1957) (2) and subsequently it was developed into marketing theory or the famous marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) by Borden N.H (1964).  These four P’s relates to and supports three aspects of my marketing understanding (definition ) that are creating value (product), delivering value (place, promotion), capturing value (price).

Now let’s take a look at how others understood and defined marketing and how do those understandings, theories, definitions supports my definition or position on marketing.

1.      According to Mcarthy E.J 1960 (3), N.H Borden 1964 (4)

Marketing is about four P’s and I explained that above, that how those do 4 P’s relate to and support my definition of marketing.

2.      According to Mindak W.A and Fine (1981) (5)

Marketing is about four P’s and Relationships, here the fifth P or “Relationship” supports two other elements of my marketing definition and those elements are “Acquisition and Retention”.

And acquisition and retention or long term relationship with your customers/target market can only be achieved by constantly creating (involving your customers in value creation or in other words open innovation), delivering and capturing value which leads to quality, customer focus, competitiveness, customer trust, reliability, constant purchase behavior. 

In a nutshell a relationship that is beneficial to both parties (Manufacturer and Consumer).

3.      According to Woodall, T. (2007) (6)

Marketing is nothing but selling, this view too supports couple of elements of my definition and those are Delivering value, Capturing value. As we know exchange of value takes place in selling, the manufacture delivers (Delivering Value) value to the customer and the customer pays for that value (Capturing Value).

4.      According to Morgan, R.E (1996) (7)

Marketing is all about advertising, this view is too supported by my position on marketing, that is “Delivering Value (which includes Promotion, Distribution, Supply of product/service etc)” and as we all know promotion is all about promoting your product/service through various customer touch points (mass media, social media, company outlets, outdoor advertising, public relation so on and so forth).

5.      According to Michael Saren, (2007) (8)

Marketing is everything, so when it’s everything then I think it would also cover my position (definition) too , right?!

Okay now, why would someone come to such a conclusion (that marketing is everything) ?!

Well because marketing is dynamic and constantly evolving (9) and this is perhaps the reason for all this schism when it comes to “What marketing really is ?!”, but despite of all this schism, differences among marketing scholars and practitioners, all of them have been in complete agreement for the last five decades that Marketing represents the customer focus of any business/organization (10).

And this view too supports what my position on marketing is, acquisition and retention of target market/customer by creating, delivering and capturing value = Customer Focus.

While sales, pricing, promotion, customer relation management, relationship marketing, branding, social media marketing, internet marketing, content marketing so on and so forth are different aspects of that process (marketing), which is “Customer/target market acquisition and retention by creating, delivering and capturing valueand for this reason it’s not function of business but is the function of business.

That's it, over to you guys, what you think what marketing really is ? I am sure many of you would want to contribute, so let's talk!


1.        Moorman, C. and Rust, R.T. (1999), “The role of marketing”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 63, pp. 180-97 (special Issue).

2.        McKitterick, J.B. (1957), “What is the marketing management concept”, in Bass, F. (Ed.), Frontiers of Marketing Thought and Action, American Marketing Association, Chicago, IL, pp. 71-82.

3.        McCarthy, E.J. (1960), Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, Irwin, Homewood, IL.

4.        Borden, N.H. (1964), ``The concept of the marketing mix'', Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 4, June, pp. 2-7.

5.        Mindak, W.A. and Fine, S. (1981), ``A fifth `P': public relations'', in Donnely, J.H. and George, W.R. (Eds) Marketing of Services, American Marketing Association, Chicago, IL, pp. 71-3.

6.        Woodall, T. (2007), “New marketing, improved marketing, apocryphal marketing”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 41 Nos 11/12, pp. 1284-96

7.        Morgan, R.E. (1996), “Conceptual foundations of marketing and marketing theory”, Management Decision, Vol. 34 No. 10, pp. 19-26.

8.        Michael Saren, (2007),"Marketing is everything: the view from the street", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 25 Iss: 1 pp. 11 – 16

9.        Carson, D., Cromie, S., McGowan P. and Hill, J. (1995), Marketing and Entrepreneurship in SMEs: An Innovative Approach, Prentice Hall, London.

10.     Gro¨nroos, C. (2006), “On defining marketing: finding a new roadmap for marketing”, Marketing Theory, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 395-417.

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of www.easymarketinga2z.com and www.topexpertsa2z.com

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