UK Marketing Body Redefines The Name of the Rose

14 September 2007

COOKHAM, UK: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," wrote William Shakespeare. But Britain's Chartered Institute of Marketing begs to differ with the national Bard.

The Institute's director of research and information David Thorp believes the term 'marketing' is well and truly overdue for redefinition.

"Marketing has become more sophisticated," he opines "and yet its status with the customer and the rest of the business has never been lower.

"Complicating this is an increasing divide between the thoughts of academics and the experiences of practitioners."

The CIM's old definition of the arcane art ...

'The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably'

... is, it seems, no longer fit for purpose.

And at just twelve words, too short and simple. Instead, the CIM has come up with a sixty-one word alternative. Deep breath now ...

'Marketing is the strategic 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 opening customer-centrically, marketing brings positive return on investment, satisfies shareholders and stakeholders from business and the community, and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future.'

Those present at the unveiling were reportedly unimpressed, both with the verbosity of the new definition and its lack of clarity. It was criticised for being too broad and of confusing the relationship between 'marketing' and 'sales'.

Countered Thorp: "This [definition] should be viewed as an opening salvo. It is likely to have a far shorter shelf life than thirty years, but that is how it should be. The debate starts here."

The new denotation will be honed at a CIM roadshow, which in coming months will invite the views of its 50,000-strong membership.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff