The American Marketing Association definition of marketing says:
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.
The definition summarized above has four critical features. These are:
Marketing Is a Process. A process is a particular method of doing an activity, generally involving a series of steps or operations. The classical marketing approach involves four broad steps: market analysis, market planning, implementation, and control. Market analysis involves searching for opportunities in the marketplace. Market planning requires segmentation, target market choice, positioning, and the design of the marketing mix. Market implementation includes the systems and processes to go to market with the marketing program. Finally, marketing control refers to the informal and formal mechanisms that marketing managers can use to keep the marketing program on course.
It Involves a Mix of Product, Pricing, Promotion, and Distribution. Strong marketing programs do not involve one action, such as the design of a great product. Rather, the most successful marketing programs involve mixing the ingredients of marketing to deliver value to customers. This mixing entails blending the right amounts of the 4P ingredients, at the right time, and in the right sequence.
It Is About Exchange. Marketing is not successful unless two parties exchange something of value. The buyer may exchange time, money, or services, while the seller must exchange something of value to the buyer.
It Is Intended to Satisfy Individual and Organizational Needs. The aim of marketing is to provide a satisfactory outcome for both the firm and the customer. Firms can have highly satisfied customers if they provide services for free. The key to modern marketing is simultaneously satisfying the customer, the firm, and its shareholders.