What is Marketing?

Wow, I’ve either chosen a really easy question to answer or quite a tough one, I can’t quite decide yet.

What is Marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) definition of “Marketing” is;

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

So let’s break that down;

Process – It’s a process that requires buy-in from the whole business. A marketer will need input from other departments within the business and external support. This ‘process’ is also likely to change over time.


Identify – When you had your business idea, one of the first things you were likely to do is identify your customers (and your competitors). This is such an important step. Without knowing who your customers are, how can you target and connect with them? It’s also important to continue to review who your customer is, as this may change over time.


Anticipate – Moving on nicely from above, we all know circumstances in our life can change, just as in the world. It could be your client who has bought from you for the past 10 years has just started a family, so they don’t have the same disposable income to continue or the industry your business operates in has come under tighter legislation. Your company needs to be anticipating and planning for these changes.


Satisfy – We need to be able to satisfy our customer’s needs. There is a popular statistic that says it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer, but many companies still put all their time, money and effort into acquiring new ones. Your marketing shouldn’t solely be focused on acquiring new customers but also retaining those that you already have which can be done at a lower cost. Take a look at this great infographic from Invespro.

Customer Satisfaction

Profitability – We have to ensure that we are spending money sensibly on proven methods. We need to know how much is costs us to acquire and to retain a customer and the lifespan of a customer. All marketing efforts have to work towards achieving the business goals, of which, profitability is often one. There will often be times we may identify a different tool or new technology that could improve customer satisfaction and also increase profit margins.


Have you been reading this thinking I already do a lot of this but I don’t see it as marketing? You wouldn’t be alone! The CIM have said that many small businesses are already marketing without realising it, but this ‘unconscious marketing’ is not sustainable. 

In a report they said;

“If you don’t understand that you’re ‘doing’ marketing, it’s hard to keep things consistent over time. This isn’t an obvious problem for very small organisations, but marketing on the hoof becomes less feasible as you grow.

How do you create a proper marketing strategy for the future? How can you keep up with your competitors, exploiting all the latest technological developments at a time of rapid change?

Applying a simple marketing framework is vital. It enables you to plan your activities in advance, find out what works, then use them again when and where they are most effective.”

It’s imperative that a company knows its business objectives and goals. Without this, it is almost impossible to plan, create and implement a successful marketing strategy [I’ll cover marketing strategy in another blog post] but I will leave you with this afterthought.

In a day when everything seems to be focused on digital marketing, don’t forget traditional techniques. The two, blended together, can make a big difference to your business. Come back next week where I’ll be discussing this with a real-life experience….


How would you sum up marketing?

Written by Anna Bell, an Associate member of the CIM and experienced marketer, working in-house as a Marketing Manager for almost 8 years. Cross Bay Marketing can support businesses looking for a flexible management solution or for one off projects such as strategy, website redesign, social media training and more.

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