B629 week one: What is marketing?

I’ve now completed week one of the course, and so far I’m really enjoying it. I’m finding it particularly interesting applying marketing concepts to my day job (which is not traditionally understood to be marketing-oriented).

A few notes to help me remember key points:

What is marketing?

Marketing is much more than selling or advertising – it covers the identification of customers, grouping of them into segments, researching needs, expectations and behaviours, and designing product or service offerings that meet those needs and expectations.

Need to be more aware of marketing for internal customers and stakeholders. For example, in IT, the other departments (business) in an organisation are internal customers. Other stakeholders such as business analysts and developers are also internal customers.

Marketing in different contexts

Marketing considers ‘wants’ as well as ‘needs’.

Marketing provides a means to satisfy customer needs. A need represent something that motivates customers to seek out a product or service to satisfy that need.

Need to be aware of the difference between internal and external stakeholders.

Also need to be aware of the difference between a process definition of marketing and marketing as a concept or philosophy.

Criticisms on marketing are that it places too much emphasis on profits and the for-profit context, meaning many of the concepts need to be adapted for other contexts. It is also criticised for encouraging excessive material consumption, particular in the for-profit context where marketing is associated with trying to get people to buy and consume more. Marketing is also criticised for focusing on immediate gratification of minor wants instead of larger, long-term needs – thus ignoring the wider social and environmental implications of the materialistic lifestyle.

Customers, consumers and clients

Need to recognise the difference between customers and consumers – they are not always the same individual (e.g. parent buying ice cream for a child).

Also need to be aware of the difference between customers and clients – especially how the power balance between the marketer and the person being provided with a product or service can be different depending on whether or not the person is a customer or client.

Exchange, fairness and satisfaction

A core concept in marketing is mutually satisfactory exchange. This usually means it needs to be regarded as fair – two things of equivalent value (financial or otherwise) will be exchanged.

Definition of fairness differs between people, but this usually means the exchange is free from unjustified bias or dishonesty.

In any exchange the amount of power held by the exchange partners will influence the level of fairness of the exchange.

If a product or service meets or exceeds expectations, the customer or stakeholder will usually feel they had a fair exchange. Otherwise, fairness will be judged on hoe the resulting dissatisfaction is resolved.

Consideration of fairness, power and exchange leads to the question of ethics in marketing. Marketing ethics refers to the question of whether marketing activities can be considered morally right or wrong.

– Utilitarianism is an ethical theory concerned with consequences.
– Deontology is concerned with whether the underlying principles of a decision are right.
– Virtue Ethics is concerned with the moral integrity of the individual making the decision.

Making ethical judgements is rarely clear cut! It is often appropriate to look at ethical questions using a number of theories before making a decision.

(Source: B629, Understanding marketing and financial information).


  1. oumaths says:

    Good luck with B629 and B690.
    How does the pace of B629 compare with B628?
    I’m also wondering if you have idea yet where the mini-residential fits into the B690 calendar as that will be a critical element in my deciding whether to complete the certificate, or not.
    All the best,

  2. Brian says:

    The pace is pretty much the same so far, I’d say. However, I’m only a week in officially, so maybe things will change over the next few weeks as I approach TMA01.

    I’ll keep you posted!

    The residential school is 2.5 days, and takes place sometime during the first two weeks of March, with the exam following in April. That’s all I know so far – no exact dates yet.

  3. oumaths says:

    Good luck with it all.
    I’ll be visiting once a week to see how you get on (trying to limit time spent on the computer so I can get loads of study done).
    March is doable for me next year, too. Happy days.

  4. Brian says:

    Thanks. I’m finding it hard getting back into the swing after the summer break.

    As for “trying to limit time spent on the computer” … mmm, good luck with *that*!

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