Marketing: In the Beginning…

Determining an exact definition for marketing is not an easy task. That said, there are many definitions available, compelling us as Christian marketers to peruse them and glean essential meanings.

Marketer/instructor/author Heidi Cohen has compiled more than 70 marketing definitions on a single web page. Note two important concepts in the definition from the American Marketing association:

Exchange

Value

The first term, “exchange,” denotes an equality between parties, a balance of actions. The second term, “value,” speaks for itself. Marketers must provide real benefit for their customers.

The second definition in Ms. Cohen’s list comes from the dean of marketing educators/authors, Philip Kotler. Note the emphasis on needs and desires, which must be unfulfilled and thus identified and addressed by marketers. Suspicion of marketing hinges on the concept of “needs.” Do marketers “enflame” consumers’ passions, driving them to covet the frivolous, the unnecessary, the inferior cloaked in clever messaging?

When in doubt as a Christian marketer, return to the concept of “value.” Dr. Kotler spotlights “genuine customer value” on his homepage. Value is a highly personal conclusion, yet one that can be established through careful research, dedicated product development and delivery, and constant dialog between customer and marketer.

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God knows what is best for us, separating our true needs from our worldly wants. Marketers are often expected to cater to consumer wants and turn them into needs in consumers’ minds.

Why is “turning wants into needs” not always the prudent course for Christian marketers?

How can marketers be godly in determining and fulfilling true needs for consumers, using both their marketing expertise and Christian learning?

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