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Marketing Theory


Here are some definitions of Marketing

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’ (Chartered Institute of Marketing)”

“Marketing …is providing a product or service that people want and in the commercial sector are willing to pay for. The marketing concept acknowledges that a business geared to serve the needs and requirements of customers will achieve better results” (NASES (2008))

[Marketing is…] ”The management function which organises and directs all those business activities involved in assessing and converting customer purchasing power into effective demand for a specific product or service and moving the product or service to the final consumer so as to achieve the profit target or other objectives of the company” (IoM 1996, quoted in Cole(2004))

“Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they want through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value to others” (Kotler, 1994, quoted in Cole (2004))

[Marketing is]…”the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view” (Drucker 1954 quoted in Cole (2004))

“The need for marketing is universal. The survival of any organisation depends on the extent to which its members can persuade others that it should stay in existence” (Chapman, Cooper and Page,Management for Engineers quoted in Frain(1994))


Consider these definitions of marketing and any others which you are aware of. They are from different times and different perspectives, but can you identify any common threads?. Which one(s) are you most comfortable with? Do some of them seem irrelevant to your circumstances?

Now watch the short video clip 'Definitions Video', where John Leston, who has many years experience in the marketing industry discusses his definition of marketing.

A transcript of his remarks is contained in the word document Marketing Definitions.doc

Marketing Orientations

There are four commonly described approaches to marketing (Production, Product, Sales, Market). These are described on this blog, with a car industry example.

The orientations are:

Production Orientation – a company is heavily focused on streamlining production processes and concentrating on improvement efficiencies with little focus on anything else. it assumes that customers will buy whatever is available and works best when demand is greater than supply and goods and services are easy to sell.

Product Orientation – An approach to business that centres its activities on continually improving and refining its products. All efforts are put into making the product better, asuming that customers are well informed and sales promotion is unnecessary.

Sales Orientation – A sales orientated business assumes that customers need to be persuaded to 'buy', particularly when supply outstrips demand and with 'unsought' goods

Marketing Orientation – These organisations shift the focus away from production and the needs of the organisation: They are driven by customer needs which are identified in their objectives. Sce

Research has been carried out on how relevant market orientation is to the nonprofit sector. Some results indicate that it can be relevant with adaptations, especially for the education sector. However other authors, for example Liao, Foreman and Sargeant (2001) argue that in fact a market orientation (or any of the others identified above) is inappropriate in this context and that instead a ‘societal’ orientation is required which takes account of the needs of wider society.

Think about….

What would a careers/placement/job shop service look like if it had each of the four orientations above?

When your service engages in marketing activities, does it take one of the approaches above?