What is marketing? For years the American Marketing Association defined marketing as “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, proton and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.” Whew! Last July the AMA approved a change in its definition to “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Still a lot in that definition, though the rewrite seems to have left out the value for the organization.
For me, I have been defining marketing as “inviting people into your world where you can share your gifts to help them solve their problems.” If you do a good job, you are rewarded for it, both monetarily and in other ways. It is about creating a relationship with others to serve them. I was reminded of the value of relationship marketing this week.
At my home, we contracted with a company to do some work on our deck, replacing bad boards and re-staining the surface. We have had numerous problems with the company, whom I will call Company A. Company A actually subcontracted the job to Company B. Company B did the board replacement and subcontracted with Company C to do the actual staining. We did not realize we were contracting with so many companies.
Yesterday I had a conversation with R, the man who owns Company C. He came to the United States from Jamaica and was sharing his philosophy of marketing. (He told me he had been an entrepreneur for 14 years now.) What was most important for him was building a relationship with the customer. It was not about the money; it was about the relationship. He said that if he put the relationship first and went beyond doing his work, the rewards would follow. Watching his work and listening to his stories, I can see why he experiences the results he does.
I also read an interesting article in the New York Times over the weekend by Arthur C. Brooks titled “Love People, Not Pleasure.” It was about unhappiness and filling our empty spaces by loving things and using people. Adversely, the formula to happiness is to love people and use things.
That ties right into my, and Company C’s R, theory about marketing. It is about loving and serving people.
How do you define marketing? Leave a reply below.