The American Marketing Association states that:
“Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”
However, a common mistake that I observe among marketing practitioners is the failure to realise that it is the market (the aggregation of customers) that has the final say on what is of value. They fail to understand that while businesses are responsible for creating the product, they should not be the ones to dictate how the product is to be designed. The product needs to be created, communicated, and delivered to the market according to that market’s own terms. Otherwise, the product will not sell.
True, the market does not always know what it needs or wants. That does not mean, however, that there’s no way for marketers to find that out. On the contrary, there are a plethora of tools available for obtaining/inferring the needs and wants of the market. Lead-user research, focus groups, surveys, or simply talking to your customer are but some of the tools at a marketer’s disposal. Practitioners will do well to learn about these things.
Just as what Vargo and Lusch in their 2004 paper said, the customer is a co-creator of value. We have to respect that if we want our business to succeed. We must all remember that Marketing is NOT about communicating to the customer, it’s about communicating with him/her.