When I was studying at a well known advertising school in Denmark in the mid-90’s, I asked my lecturer a pointed question “What is marketing?”
The answer my learned lecturer gave me was not very satisfying. She mumbled for 15 minutes about communicating to markets and contained stuff about the ‘P’s’ of marketing. The response was long and rambling, and left me a little bewildered.
If you Google the phrase “What is marketing” now you will find the answer just as bewildering. There are many differing definitions.
As the CEO and Creative Director of a company concerned primarily with offering marketing services, I’ve grappled with the challenge of defining the term correctly for some time. It is a sprawling, convoluted subject and tough to get to the heart of what we marketers do.
At the same time, marketing has experienced seismic change in our generation.
Social media, in particular, is the most exciting innovation in communication since Alexander Graham Bell unveiled the telephone in 1876.
After a lot of thought and discussion, head butts and tequilas, Mike and I finally settled on this:
“Initiating and maintaining profitable relationships.”
This definition cuts to the core of the marketing process. Our jobs as marketers, digital or otherwise, is to first find customers or clients (initiate); then maintain interaction with those customers (maintain); while ensuring that the interaction has value for both parties (profitable) in order to build a sustainable community (relationships).
As the internet exposes us to larger audiences, the functions of forging relationships, building communities, mass dialogue and customer interaction are now particularly important – concepts vital for marketers to grasp if they are to remain relevant in an increasingly noisy environment.