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a blog by Chris Barrow

A new definition of marketing

At a Dental Business School workshop on marketing last week, I was curious to see that the room next door had been booked by The Chartered Institute of Marketing to deliver a day-long course – at £499 a ticket by the way – I need to put my prices up ;)Browsing their promotional material was interesting – and I picked up a small booklet which explained how the Institute has been conducting a member survey to decide upon a new definition of the word “marketing”. Business owners and acedemics were consulted and it emerged that change was considered necessary because of:

  1. The power of the customer – to shape branding rather than have brands thrust upon them;

  2. The proliferation of advanced technologies which have reduced the importance of geography;

  3. The fragmetation of communication systems into multi-media;

  4. The importance and growing spohistication of metrics – measuring marketing effectiveness scientifically;

  5. The emergence of people (team members) as key players in the delivery of a marketable experience through customer service and

  6. The power of ethics – through socially responsible marketing that embraces environmental, social and wider ethical considerations.

They suggest that “the current definition of marketing as a “management discipline” is outmoded. Marketing is something that the whole organisation should engage in. Succesful companies don’t manage customers, they interact with them.”The Institute conclude on a new definition – proposed to it’s members as follows:

The strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand.It does this by building brands, nurturing innovation, developing relationships, creating good customer service and communicating benefits.With a customer-centric view, marketing brings positive return on investment, satisfies shareholders and stakeholders from business and the community and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future. Â

Now although parts of that sound like a political broadcast – the sort of plain vanilla, catch-all statement that would emerge from Brussels, there is a seed of authenticity about where the statement is going.I like it because it says many of the things I say about marketing being a team event – it’s just that I say it plainly.I may expand upon this definition if the blogging fancy takes me – because I think it illustrates many of the issues around marketing that I’m dealing with daily.

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