What exactly is ‘marketing’ as a business discipline?

Is marketing the same as selling (but with a college education)?
10th August 2018

We are constantly surprised at how few business leaders truly understand the primary role of their marketing director and the marketing department.

Marketing is fundamentally about understanding your customers because they are directly relevant to your most basic business objective i.e. profit.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

Hmmm, that is a little tricky to digest in an every day business context, so, in simpler terms….
You need to understand your customers so well that you can produce propositions that they really want to buy. They get what they want and you make a healthy profit in the process. Both sides are very happy.

That's it. Simple.

Some managers make the mistake of thinking that becoming a marketing-oriented business means making the marketing department the primary department within the business.

This is most definitely not the case!

All successful companies recognise the words of David Packard, Hewlett Packard‟s chief executive, when he said, “Marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department”.

What he meant was that marketing is a philosophy that places the customer - not the marketing department - at the centre of the business. It is the responsibility of everyone within the company to focus on anticipating and satisfying the customers’ needs and wants.

It is true that the marketing department frequently controls the visible trappings of marketing, such as advertising and promotions. However, successful marketing relies upon cross-functional co-operation.

Success goes to the organisations that are best positioned to meet the needs of their customers.


Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the resulting application of the marketing strategy across sales, communications and business development.

Companies need to understand their clients’ needs, pains and wants extremely well so that they can effectively match their corporate offerings to address those very pains.

The concept of marketing is not a theory of marketing, but rather a philosophy of business that is directly relevant to the most basic business objective i.e. profit. It affirms that the key to meeting the objectives of stakeholders is to satisfy customers.

In competitive markets and in times of recession, commercial success goes to the organisations that are best positioned to meet the needs of their customers.