Marketing: the unappreciated workhorse

Philip Kotler
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

The venerable Peter Drucker was an early fan of the new field of marketing. He struggled to explain it as a customer-centred discipline involving value creation. He wanted so much to disengage it from its confusion with selling that he penned the challenging statement: 'The aim of marketing is to make selling unnecessary.'

Yet Peter Drucker's view of the role and importance of marketing still needs to penetrate the thinking of companies and the public at large. We need to seriously address the following questions:

  • How is marketing seen by various publics?

  • What is marketing's real role?

  • What can marketing do to gain a better public understanding, image and influence?