According to the American Marketing Association’s new definition written in 2007, marketing is:
the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
This definition is important because the question always comes up as to whether marketing and sales are the same, or marketing and advertising are the same, or marketing and public relations are the same. Just fill in the blank and marketing and ________ are the same.
Based on the AMA definition, its easy to see that none of the similarities contained above is marketing. Sales is really just the exchange of offerings, while advertising and public relations are just the communication aspect of marketing. Certainly, sales, advertising, and public relations USE marketing, but they are NOT marketing. In fact, each of these is an element, but not the whole.
So what IS marketing. Marketing consists of a set of processes or tools, based on the definition. Common processes used are:
Tools for creating value
These include processes like new product development, which involves innovation, commercialization, and adoption.
Tools for communicating value
These include use of media, such as advertising and public relations.
These include word of mouth, such as social networks and social media.
Tools for delivering value
These include channels and logistics.
Tools for exchanging value
These include sales, sales management, retailing, and services.
But, marketing is MORE than tools. The key element delineating marketing is that it is strategic.
Marketing strategy involves plans integrating these tools with other marketing concepts, such as target marketing and market segmentation. Marketing strategy builds on understandings of consumer and firm behavior, as well as international cultural differences. Marketing strategy is information based, including marketing research, as well as marketing analytical tools. Marketing strategy involves long-term planning for future product and service offerings, planning for new channels and distribution outlets, planning for sustainability, planning for changes in demographics and culture, contingency planning, and planning for the continued success of the firm.