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What is Marketing, Exactly?

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as A process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. We would add the following:

  • Marketing is a process - it is communication that keeps on keeping on - it's not a communication that is finished, put on the shelf and never revised or reviewed. It is continuous and it evolves with the marketplace. In other words, the plan changes as the business changes.
  • Marketing is an exchange - this means two things - there has to be something to exchange - a product, a service or an idea.
  • An exchange is a two-way street, requiring two or more parties to be involved.
  • A satisfactory exchange means both sides have to walk away satisfied - a fact that both sides sometimes forget.

Professor E. Jerome McCarthy developed the 4Ps of marketing. They are:

  • Product - a good, service or idea to satisfy customer needs
  • Price - what is exchanged for the product
  • Promotion - communication between buyer and seller
  • Place - a means of getting the product into consumer's hands

But there is another important P -  People - the people involved on both sides of the exchange. You need to know as much as possible about the people you want to do business with. Why? To save yourself time and money. And, to build the relationships based on trust and loyalty that will keep your customers coming to you instead of to the competition.

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