Per Drucker, perhaps the most famous business academic of all time, once wrote, "Business, because its function is to create and sustain a customer, has only two purposes: Marketing and Innovation. Everything else is an expense." While that is an exaggeration, there is truth to the idea that a business must add value to the lives of its customers if it is to become successful. And, it must commit to perpetual innovation to maintain its success.
Over the years, the word marketing has come to mean many things to many people: sales, advertising, product development, ecommerce, branding, etc. Unfortunately, it has also become associated with shortsighted behaviors that have nothing to do with good marketing.
Great marketing is about developing and delivering better solutions to how we live our lives. The first objective of great marketing is product development and innovation. Truly great products do not have to be heavily promoted, discounted or ‘spun’ to sell. The second objective of great marketing is to build customer commitment to products and services through relationship building. Great sales programs, branding and promotion forge relationships through information sharing, problem solving, trust-building and responsiveness.
The marketing discipline is built on learning the core practices associated with bringing a product/service/idea to market including product design and development, distribution, promotion and pricing. It also focuses on how to keep products competitive through branding, customer service and innovation. It is now generally accepted that the marketing perspective, a perspective when applied correctly truly puts the customer first, can improve the operation of any organization, including not-for-profit organizations and government agencies.
Yes, marketing has given us Nike, iPods, Starbucks, Hollister, Red Bull and McDonald’s, all of which help us to enjoy life. It is also important, however, to apply marketing principles to build a greener world, improve the health and fitness of our population, help the disenfranchised and find solutions to our energy needs.
I hope you will consider pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of Akron. On the next pages, you will find a description of our various majors as well as an introduction to some of the truly unique resources available to marketing majors here at the University of Akron.
William E. Baker
Professor and Chair, Marketing Department