The Nature of Marketing

John McCann
Last update: March 7, 1995

Marketing can be examined from many perspectives, and this page presents severals of those perspectives. I will be adding others over time, and would like to learn of ones that you use in your work and teaching. Please send your ideas via email.

My definition of marketing
Marketing is the process of understanding and influencing markets.

Marketing as a process
Marketing is a process that marketing managers execute. In a number of instances, a marketing manager does not manage people, but manages the marketing process. A product manager is an example of such a marketing manager; s/he manages the marketing process for a product within a larger marketing organization. We, as consumers, see the results of that process in the form of products, stores, shopping malls, advertisements, sales pitches, promotions, prices, etc. This process usually involves four phases.

The D Roles of a marketing manager
Marketing managers play many roles, and we can describe them with words that begin with the letter D:

Managing the Marketing Mix
Marketing managers can control or influence four aspects of the firm's output: its products, promotions, prices, and the places that all of these are offered.

Operating within constraints
Marketing managers must undertake all of the above activities within various constraints, all of which start with the letter C. None of these constraints are under the direct control of the marketing managers; some can be influenced; all can be understood.

Marketing is Collaboration
The nature of marketing requires marketing managers and professionals to work together on all aspects of marketing. It is common for the marketing manager to be at the center of a set of activities being worked on by people within the company (sales force, promotion manager, product development teams, etc.) and outside the company (ad agencies, consultants, marketing reseach firms, etc). Thus marketing managers must spend considerable time in consultation and collaboration with other people.