Principles of MarketingGuidelines for effective practice

Published January 2012 Updated November 2014 30 lectures
Prof. Michael J. Baker
Emeritus Professor, University of Strathclyde Business School, UK

Marketing is an enigma. It is one of mankind's oldest activities or practices and yet it is widely regarded as the most recent of the business disciplines. As consumers, all of us are part of the marketing process so it is unsurprising that everybody thinks they know what marketing is... read moreall about. In reality, however, this is often very far from the truth with the result that marketing is both misperceived and misunderstood.

According to this misperception marketing is:
• A modern /recent development,
• Which uses advertising (misleading), and high pressure sales techniques to persuade people to consume more, particularly of things they do not really need,
• To encourage a materialistic society resulting in a decline in values and social conscience,
• A kind of “Selling with knobs on”.

The reality is that marketing is:
• one of humankind's oldest practices,
• built upon enlightened self interest and recognition that specialisation and exchange enhance the standard of living and quality of life,
• thereby adding value and creating wealth which can be used for the benefit of society as a whole.

Modern marketing probably owes its origins to the writings of Peter Drucker who, in the Practice of Management (1954), said: "If we want to know what a business is we have to start with its purpose…. there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer."

"It is the customer who determines what the business is. For it is the customer, and he alone, who, being willing to pay for good or service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance - especially not to the future of the business and to its success. What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers is "value", is decisive. Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two - and only these two basic functions: marketing and innovation."

And later he went on to say:
"Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialised activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer's point of view."
These statements summarise what has come to be known as "the marketing concept".

In order to implement this in practice a consensus began to emerge as to what constituted the "principles of marketing". Taken together these principles summarised what management needed to do to implement the marketing concept and led to what is now regarded as the 'marketing management school of thought', epitomised by Philip Kotler's seminal textbook Marketing Management. By the 1990s however it became clear that the emphasis was upon what management needed to do to customers to secure their patronage rather than what they should do with them. While some might argue that the outcome would be the same, an alternative school of thought began to emerge with an emphasis upon what has come to be known as "relationship marketing". Under this concept marketing is perceived to involve the co-creation of value between producer and consumer with exchange incorporating both physical objects and intangible services.

Over the past two decades there have been major developments in marketing thinking and practice. This redefinition of what is regarded as the "marketing orientation" has resulted in a reappraisal of the nature of marketing and its underlying philosophy. However, this redefinition has not radically affected what are considered to be the principles of marketing i.e. what are the constituent elements of marketing practice, but it has had far-reaching effects on how these elements should be implemented. In this series of talks leading authorities will explain what are regarded to be the principles of marketing and how they may be applied in practice in the 21st century.

View the Talks (30 Lectures)