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Just what is Marketing?

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Summary: So very often, I read or hear business-to-business organisations describing the business discipline of marketing in terms which relate only to marketing communications, such as advertising. What about all the other marketing activities such strategy, market and competitor research, and business planning? All are vital and critical elements for business success….

Opinion: Frequently I find people and managers in business-to-business organisations describing the business discipline of marketing in terms which confine and relegate it to only marketing communications, such as advertising. I also believe that marketers themselves are responsible in part for this lack of perception of the whole range of activities which make up marketing, an understanding mostly derived, I think, from business-to-consumer marketing. Marketing is governed by a chartered body, the Chartered Institute of Marketing [CIM] (see: http://www.cim.co.uk/home.aspx) just as are the fields of accountancy, engineering or law, in order to maintain professionalism among its practitioners. As a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of both the CIM and of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, nothing annoys me more than to hear quite senior managers in industry, who really ought to know better, describing a business activity as “marketing” when they really mean publicity such as advertising or press relations. What about all the other activities under the heading of marketing, and taught in depth in undergraduate and post-graduate marketing degrees, such strategy, market and competitor research, and business planning? All are vital, critical elements of marketing that, together, ensure business objectives are reached successfully. After all, you wouldn’t set out on a long car journey at night without a map/satnav (business plan), headlights (research) and a clear understanding of where you are going and how you will get there (strategy and objectives)!

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