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:

  • The power of the customer – to shape branding rather than have brands thrust upon them;
  • The proliferation of advanced technologies which have reduced the importance of geography;
  • The fragmetation of communication systems into multi-media;
  • The importance and growing spohistication of metrics – measuring marketing effectiveness scientifically;
  • The emergence of people (team members) as key players in the delivery of a marketable experience through customer service and
  • 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.  

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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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.