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A Statement of Marketing Philosophy


This statement is a summary of the basic ideas or convictions about marketing which are shared by the marketing faculty of The Ohio State University.

It was formulated by them in order to provide the faculty with a formally stated sense of purpose…

A means of unifying individual efforts…

A tool for achieving consistency…

A guideline for maintaining charted courses…

A basis for evaluating marketing educational and research programs…

A prerequisite to the development of a formally stated philosophy of marketing education…

And a statement to clarify their views to the academic and business community.

BASIC to a philosophy of marketing is one’s concept of the nature of marketing itself. We have felt it imperative to reexamine and clarify our concept of the nature and purpose of marketing in order to determine whether our views were adequate to advance our goals as marketing educators. These goals involve striving for higher levels of sophistication in marketing knowledge and facilitating socially useful and self-fulfilling careers for marketing students. Plans for the attainment of such goals are clearly related to the nature of marketing itself.

Certainly there is no lack of divergent viewpoints concerning the nature of marketing.

It has been described by one person or another as a business activity; as a group of related business activities; as a trade phenomenon; as a frame of mind; as a coordinative, integrative function in policy making; as a sense of business purpose; as an economic process; as a structure of institutions; as the process of exchanging or transferring ownership of products; as a process of concentration, equalization, and dispersion; as the creation of time, place, and possession utilities; as a process of demand and supply adjustment; and as many other things. Each of the foregoing concepts may be appropriate for a given person, at a given time, when examining marketing problems from a given point of view. We have felt it necessary to conceive of marketing in a manner sufficiently comprehensive to encompass other viewpoints which may be narrow or more specialized.

Accordingly, we have formulated a definition of marketing as follows:

“Marketing is the process in a society by which the demand structure for economic goods and services is anticipated or enlarged and satisfied through the conception, promotion, exchange, and physical distribution of such goods and services.”

When so viewed as a composite process, marketing is clearly a subject of much broader scope than the compilation of functions or managed activities commonly identified as marketing responsibilities in individual companies. It includes the continuous inter-action of original producers, middlemen, facilitating agencies, governments, and consumers. As such, marketing possesses a dynamic quality and a sense of purpose.

For some purposes, marketing may appropriately be defined as an area of management responsibility within the business firm, or as a technology by means of which action in the marketing process is planned, organized, and controlled. We hold, however, that such views are partial and can properly be understood and evaluated only with reference to the broader process of which they are a part.

Marketing can also be conceived as an area of knowledge involving both scientific and disciplinary study and research. As a subject, its scope may be broadly coextensive with our definition of marketing as a social process or, for more restrictive purposes, equated to its technological or managerial aspects.

Convictions About Marketing

Some of our most basic ideas or convictions about marketing are summarized as follows:

  1. Whether marketing is more of a science or more of an art is debatable, but it is certainly an area in which considerable scientific progress is being made, both in the sense of the expansion of a body of classified and systematized knowledge and also with respect to increasing application of scientific methods to basic research and in decision making processes within firms.
  2. Marketing is both a formative influence and an adaptive aspect of our culture. It is adaptive in the sense that business firms in the marketing process must be responsive to the changing wants and circumstances of dynamic markets if they are to survive and grow. Marketing is also a formative influence in our culture in the sense that the aggregate impact of product offerings, marketing communications and institutions contribute to the formulation of attitudes or values.
  3. Significant contributions have been made to marketing knowledge by such fields as economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural ecology, demography, political science, and history. Scholars and technicians from such disciplines, contributing new concepts, viewpoints, and methods to the study and practice of marketing, have made notable contributions to marketing thought. At the same time, marketing has had a significant impact upon the content and methods of cognate disciplines.
  4. With expected continuing increases in population, productive capacity and living standards, marketing will become increasingly significant, by developing better means of enlarging and servicing markets, thereby enabling our economy to produce more and better goods and services. The ends served by the marketing process are, hopefully, the more complete satisfaction of human, business, and public wants, and at the same time provision for the highest attainable degrees of utilization of our technological and human resources.
  5. Marketing is an integral part of our whole productive process, in the sense that it adds values to goods and services through the creation of time, place, possession, and information utilities. A positive approach to marketing as a part of our productive process calls for changes in certain common concepts, such as the meaning of product, production, and productiveness of the labor force and other factors of production.
  6. Taking a broad view of marketing as a social process does not preclude functional specialization nor does it diminish the importance of managerial competence in marketing divisions of business firms. On the other hand, such a broad view gives to managerial marketing a sense of purpose, clearly calling for high degrees of efficiency in functional responsibilities and for the utilization of the most advanced problem solving methods so that the firm may deliver to customers what they most want in the best manner.
  7. Because the scope of marketing is broader than marketing management per se, there is much need for:
  8. An understanding of the entire marketing system, its historical development, and the forces within it that spell its dynamics, which may be useful for purposes of making appropriate choices and decisions, recognizing its contribution to the social order, or developing the knowledge and perspective.
  9. An understanding of the environment within which the marketing process is being performed as illuminated by other social disciplines.
  10. Duly considering all points of view, with emphasis on consumer or social welfare, on the maximization or optimization of profit or efficiency in individual enterprises, and on relationships between social and acquisitive efficiency.

^Journal of Marketing, Vol. 29 (January, 1965), pp. 43-44.

AB0UT THE AUTHORS: This article is the result of the composite efforts of the following full-time marketing faculty of the Ohio State University: Robert Bartels, Theodore N. Beclkman, W, Arthur Cullman, William R. Davidson, James H. Davis, Alton F. Doody, James F. Engel, Jimmie L Heskett, Rate A. Howell. Robert B. Miner, William M. Morgenroth, Louis W. Stern, and James C. Yocum.

The material reproduced here was originally published as a pamphlet by the Bureau of Business Research in cooperation with the Department of Business Organization, College of Commerce and Administration, The Ohio State University.

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