Marketing is the term given to those activities which occur at the interface between the organization and its customers. It comes from the original concept of a marketplace, where buyers and sellers would come together to conduct transactions (or exchanges) for their mutual benefit. The aim of marketing as a discipline is to ensure that customers will conduct exchanges with the marketer's organisation, rather than with the other ‘stallholders’. To do this effectively, marketers must provide those customers with what they want to buy, at prices which represent value for money.
The two most widely used definitions of marketing are these:
Marketing is the management process which identifies, anticipates, and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably. (UK Chartered Institute of Marketing)
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchange and satisfy individual and organizational objectives. (American Marketing Association)
To the non-marketer, marketing often carries negative connotations; there is a popular view that marketing is about persuading people to buy things they do not want, or about cheating people. In fact, marketing practitioners have the responsibility for ensuring that the customer has to come first in the firm's thinking, whereas other professionals might be more concerned with getting the balance sheet to look right or getting the production line running smoothly.
Competition in many markets is fierce. If there is room for four companies in a given market, there will be five companies in there, each trying to maximise their market share; the customer is king in that situation, and the firms that ignore the customer's needs will go to the wall. Marketers therefore focus their attention entirely on the customer, and put the customer at the centre of the business.
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