A simple definition of marketing

Here is a straightforward definition of marketing…

Marketing is the delivery of customer value and satisfaction at a profit

When you first start learning about marketing, you will notice that there are lots of different definitions. The above definition is a nice and simple one to start with – and it’s quite applicable for most profit-driven firms.

From this marketing definition you can see that the purpose of marketing is to balance the needs of:

  • The firm (and their need for profits) and
  • Customers (and their need for value and satisfaction).

The clear intention of marketing is to create a win-win situation for both the firm/organization and its customer base.

It’s fairly clear what profit is, so let’s quickly look at value and customer satisfaction. (Please see the article on the difference between value and satisfaction for more information.)

Customer value occurs when the benefits to the consumer exceed the costs of the product. If a consumer is hungry and they see value in a $3 slice of pizza, then they will buy it. But if the pizza slice is $20, then the consumer will probably not see value and then either buy something else or stay hungry.

Customer satisfaction happens AFTER the purchase – and it can be simplified as “did the product deliver the value as expected?

If a consumer does buy the $3 pizza slice and it’s tasty and filling, then the customer will be satisfied and is likely to become a repeat customer. But if the pizza is dry and does not taste good, then the customer will be dissatisfied with their purchase and will not re-buy.

Therefore, the firm needs to provide both good value (to attract new customers) and deliver customer satisfaction (to retain existing customers).

Related topics

Formal definitions of marketing
Marketing in simple terms
Customer value
Customer satisfaction


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