In the last post we offered up Dr. Philip Kotler's current definition of marketing as given in the 13 edition of his Principles text.
It is interesting to put the current definition in context - here are some earlier Kotler definition...
the set of human activities directed at facilitating and consummating exchange
(Kotler, 1972, 2nd ed).
human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes
the social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products of value with others
(Kotler 7th, 1988).
a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and exchanging products and value with others.
What we see in the good Doctors evolution is a move from a rather simple definition - facilitating and consumating exchange to today's, longer, more complex definition.
And Dr. K is not alone in is move from simple to complex - here are three American Marketing Association Definitions covering the last 50 years or so,
the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers or users.
(AMA, 1948, 1960)
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 objectives.
an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
Note that both the AMA and Dr. Kotler have added the idea of relationship managment to their definitions - we can thank the Swedes for that one. A virtual deluge of papers came out of Scandanavia in the later part of the last century which argued that we had been focused on the wrong core construct - exchange. They basically argued that all of the ills of marketing would be cured if we just shifted our focus to relationships giving birth to "Relationship Marketing".
Here we have our first argument for abandoning Marketing - if you can't explain it simply - think E=mc2 - then perhaps we are not working on something amenable to a general theory.