What Is Marketing?


Marketing, more than any other business function, deals with customers. Although we will soon explore more-detailed definitions of marketing, perhaps the simplest definition is this one: Marketing is managing profitable customer relationships. The twofold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and keep and grow current customers by delivering satisfaction. For example, Walmart has become the world’s largest retailer—and the world’s largest company—by delivering on its promise, “Save money. Live better.” Nintendo surged ahead in the video-games market behind the pledge that “Wii would like to play,” backed by its wildly popular Wii console and a growing list of popular games and accessories for all ages. And McDonald’s fulfills its “i’m lovin’ it” motto by being “our customers’ favorite place and way to eat” the world over, giving it a market share greater than that of its nearest three competitors combined. Sound marketing is critical to the success of every organization. Large for-profit firms, such as Procter & Gamble, Google, Target, Toyota, and Marriott use marketing. But so do not-for-profit organizations, such as colleges, hospitals, museums, symphony orchestras, and even churches.

You already know a lot about marketing—it’s all around you. Marketing comes to you in the good old traditional forms: You see it in the abundance of products at your nearby
shopping mall and the ads that fill your TV screen, spice up your magazines, or stuff your mailbox. But in recent years, marketers have assembled a host of new marketing approaches, everything from imaginative Web sites and online social networks to your cell phone. These new approaches do more than just blast out messages to the masses. They reach you directly and personally. Today’s marketers want to become a part of your life and enrich your experiences with their brands—to help you live their brands.
At home, at school, where you work, and where you play, you see marketing in almost everything you do. Yet, there is much more to marketing than meets the consumer’s casual eye. Behind it all is a massive network of people and activities competing for your attention and purchases. This book will give you a complete introduction to the basic concepts and practices of today’s marketing. In this chapter, we begin by defining marketing and the marketing process.