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Monday, September 11, 2006

21st Century Marketing Defined....Simply.

Marketing has changed profoundly in the last 5-10 years, fueled by advances in data accessibility, targeting capabilities, technology-enabled interactivity, etc. It is no longer the marketing of old, before the Internet and the advent of brand management. Spend five minutes looking at job postings of today and compare versus your recollection (or your paper archives, if you've beeen around long enough!) and you'll see what I mean.

So, how should "marketing" be defined in this day and age?

But first, you may ask why this matters....well, it matters in as much as it has become a driver of the business-world of today that many of us now live in for up to 12 hours a day and six or seven days a week. It also embodies aspects that have permeated the entire non-work ecosystem that we live in as "consumers."

So, back to the question at hand: marketing defined. To describe it in a simple, straight-forward fashion (hint: think "what would you tell your grandma" simple), and taking account of its most fundamental components and functions, then my definition of marketing is as follows:

A function of building relationships, demand, interest, and/or sales for a brand, utilizing: segmented audience targeting and engagement, words, numbers/data, data capture and measurement techniques, analysis and pattern recognition, and iterative planning.

Of critical importance for marketers like me are the two variables : data and words. Critical for the offline world and connecting with targeted audiences, and critical for the online world of search and promotions.

Compare this from definitions on Wikipedia:


* Marketing, as suggested by the American Marketing Association, is "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders".[1]

* Another definition, perhaps simpler and more universal, is this: "Marketing is the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a decision to purchase, use, follow...or conform to someone else's products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn't facilitate a "sale" then it's not marketing."[2]

* Philip Kotler in his earlier books defines as: "Marketing is human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes". Add to Kotler's and Norris' definitions, a response from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) [3]. The association's definition claims marketing to be the "management process of anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer requirements profitably". Thus, operative marketing involves the processes of market research, new product development, product life cycle management, pricing, channel management as well as promotion.

All three definitions are somewhat abstract. Two of the three describe only the pursuit of marketing, but do not present the methods. The third definition, from the reputable Kotler described methodology but at an extremely high macro-level. The variables that I've presented in my definition all apply to the Kotler version, but provides marketers and non-marketers alike with something more tangible to grasp.

It is my hope that the definition of marketing continues to evolve within industry and academia into a more suitable form, one that captures its true nature of the science and the art that ties business to its various audiences. For marketers, reminding ourselves of these basic building blocks is ideal. So whether you're spreading the marketing bug to junior cohorts or simply planning the next marketing campaign and you remember to start with your segmented audience profiles and move to keywords that will resonate with them and the audience of search engines, hopefully this fundamental reminder serves you well.


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Blogger Cynthius said...

hey, i like ur work on this topic...could i borrow some part of it? i am conducting a national seminar and want your permission to use ur work.

5:47 AM

Blogger I.R. Palmer said...

Cynthius - yes, please feel free! Thank you for checking on permissions.
- I.R. Palmer (

10:14 AM


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