In 2007 the board of directors of the American Marketing Association adopted this definition of marketing:
Marketing is 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.
For another take on the definition of marketing, consider this from The Chartered Institute of Marketing, a professional association based in the United Kingdom:
Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
Management guru Peter Drucker defines marketing this way:
Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of the final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.
Finally, Regis McKenna, an influential marketing consultant whose professional career includes authorizing five books on marketing, succinctly states
Marketing is everything.
What all these definitions have in common is the recognition that marketing requires businesses and organizations to be customer-centric – to shift from a focus on production to a focus on what customers need and want.
Traditionally, marketing activities have included advertising, distribution, and selling. However, with the shift in emphasis from products to customers, marketing now includes insight gained from the study of customer behavior (incorporating the disciplines of social science, psychology, and sociology) as well as input from hard science (economics and mathematics). Thus relationship marketing and social marketing are now being added to traditional marketing activities.