The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is calling on marketers to re-examine how they view themselves - to challenge traditional norms and redefine where the profession is going.
In its latest Shape the Agenda paper, Tomorrow’s Word: Re-evaluating the Role of Marketing, the body proposes a new definition that turns the focus away from management to the customer in order to reflect the current nature of marketing.
In the last 10 years marketing has grown by around 80 percent and there are now well over half a million marketers in Britain. Digital media has also exploded onto the scene and social marketing has changed the ethics of the profession.
However, the way marketing defines itself has not changed in 30 years. Widely regarded by the profession as the benchmark, the CIM defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably."
As such, the Institute has proposed a new definition:
"The strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand. It does this by building brands, nurturing innovation, developing relationships, creating good customer service and communicating benefits. By operating customer-centrically, marketing brings positive returns on investment, satisfies shareholders and stakeholders from business and the community, and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future."
David Thorp, director of research and information at The Institute, explained: "We want to make it reflect the reality of marketing today. That marketing’s a strategic business function not a ‘fluffy’ subject. That it delivers tangible and measurable benefits for the business, that it’s geared towards the customer, addressing their needs and demands and not the ones marketing thinks they need or want.”