in Marketing & Media

What Is Marketing?

"Easy Button"Heidi Cohen recently asked me to define marketing.

I responded: Marketing is the art and science of creating, delighting and keeping customers, while making a profit and building enterprise value. Marketing integrates, formally or informally, many disciplines and every organizational function. Marketing should embrace the highest ethical standards, respect the environment, and strive to make the world a better place.

Heidi then asked 71 other marketing execs to define marketing, and compiled a nice summary of 12 marketing elements. While a great synthesis, this exercise underscores marketing’s generality and propensity to interpretation and circumstance. As a result, marketing — the term — too often becomes a catch-all phrase that professionals use instead of specifying exactly what they’re doing and trying to accomplish.

Practically speaking, it’s a good idea for an organization to publish its own definition of marketing in order to ensure understanding, align expectations and implement effectively. This is critical because everyone — from employees, customers, partners, investors, board members and more — contributes to the marketing result.

What is your definition of marketing?