Philip Kotler and Butler Definition of Marketing

Philip Kotler Marketing Definition

Philip Kotler’s book “Marketing Management” is the most popular marketing book in management and marketing in the world. Then, the book is the main reference of marketing students in many universities. That’s why Philip Kotler marketing definition is important. The definition continuation of Butler definition of marketing.

Philip Kotler Definition

Philip Kotler formulated a short definition of marketing.

Marketing is meeting needs profitably (Kotler, 2016:27)

Philip Kotler

Marketing is meeting needs in a profitable way. This definition explicitly and implicitly convey the components of marketing. There are marketers, target market, and products. Marketers are people who meet their needs. Target Markets are people who are fulfilled their needs. Then marketers give products that satisfy their needs. Target markets give money or benefit to marketers.

In another book, he also gives similar defitinion of marketing.

Marketing is about identifying and meeting human and social needs (Kotler, 2016)

Philip Kotler

Marketing is managing profitable customer relationships. The twofold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and keep and grow current customers by delivering satisfaction. (Kotler, Amstrong, 2012:4)

Philip Koter

Hence, we define marketing as the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return (Kotler, Amstrong, 2012:4)

Philip Kotler

Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders and Wong, (2001:5), define marketing as: “A social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want though creating and exchanging products and value with each other.”

AMA Definition of Marketing

The American Marketing Association offers formal definition of marketing.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

American Marketing Association

The definition consists multiple activities to offer something that have value, not only for customer, but also for client, partner and society at large. So this definition encourage marketers to align their products to customer and also society at large.

We see marketing management as the art and science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping, and growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value. Cocreation of value among consumers and with businesses and the importance of value creation and sharing have become important themes in the development of modern marketing thought.

Kotler VS Social and Management Definition of Marketing

The Kotler definition of marketing different than typical definitions of marketing. The typical definitions of marketing are social definition and managerial definition. Social definition is common sense definition that often used in society.

Social definition of marketing is societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and exchanging products and services of value freely with others (Kotler, 2002 :4)

Philip Kotler

Managerial definition of marketing is art of selling products. Typically people think that is about art persuasion to sell.

Marketing is the art of selling product (Kotler, 2002:4).

Philip Kotler

These definition miss important notions about understand the customer so well. By understand customer correctly, the products can sell itself without persuasion. So, marketing is not just about persuasion and offering. It also about understanding customer and arrange product, price, place, and promotion to fit their need and expectation.

Kotler’s Question about Marketing

  • What skills do marketing managers need to be successful?
  • What metrics can companies use to judge marketing performance?
  • What marketing strategies make sense during a recession?
  • How is the role of marketing changing today in the light of globalization and new technology?
  • What will the marketing department of the future look like? 

(Kotler, 2005)

The questions trigger us to explore important factors for marketing. We also consider different times and different places. Maybe the existing theories are not enough to explain new phenomenons in different times and places.

Continuation of Butler Definition

This definition continues Butler’s definition, that marketing work is cross-sectoral work. Marketing takes care of sales and production, not just about campaign and sales promotion. Marketing is not only limited to the sales and distribution sector. Marketers also participate in arranging for goods and services to meet the needs of the target market. That is includes product planning, price planning, distribution, easy access for customer, and explanation about products.

Drucker Support of Marketing Concept

Marketing is not a promotional activity with the burden of realizing sales. This is in line with what Peter F Drucker said. “People often assume businesses need sales promotion activities. But the goal of marketing is to make sales promotions unimportant. The purpose of marketing is to know and understand the market properly so that products and services are appropriate and sell themselves “(Drucker: 1972).

Marketing is a matter of how to understand what the market is about and make an offer that is in accordance with that will so that the product sells by itself. Philip Kotler added that many people think that marketing is the art of selling products. Even though the art of selling products is the small end of marketing ice. Marketing is oriented towards meeting the needs of the target market in a profitable way.

Before Marketing Concept founded

Before the concept of marketing was known, people only knew production and sales/distribution. Production takes care of making goods. While this distribution is the task of intermediaries, including taking risks, transporting goods, financing, making advertisements, selling, assembling, selecting, and shipping to buyers. If the sales department experiences obstacles in sales, it’s not a problem of production, it’s a sales problem.

To answer the question, what factors determine the demand? The thought at the time said the price determines the demand for an item. The influence of prices on demand depends on the level of elasticity of an item. This is a well-known explanation in economics until now. The name is the law of supply and demand.
From the organizational structure of the business before the marketing concept was born, they were also aware of other factors, besides prices, which determine the increase in demand, namely distribution. They have a distribution division. It shows that they are aware that distribution is a factor that determines demand.

Born of Marketing Concept

In 1914, Butler made a new concept, namely marketing. Butler defines marketing as the plan behind a campaign or series of promotions. Butler is a sales manager at the Protect and Gamble company. This concept is different from distribution and sales. This concept appears new because based on experience, there are many problems that need to be solved first before making advertisements in the media and sending salesmen to the streets. Companies need to make decisions about products, distribution channels, or how to reach the desired market. (Kazuo Usui, 2008, Development of Marketing Management, Ashgate).

The idea of ​​Butler who included product planning as part of marketing management or the plan behind the campaign was an extraordinary idea in his day. The marketing idea has a different scope and orientation than sales management. Marketing has a new meaning. At that time, production decisions were part of production management, not part of marketing that was still synonymous with sales. With the marketing concept, the marketing department participates in managing the production aspects that determine the success of the sales campaign program.

Misconception About Marketing

Philip Kotler’s definition of marketing different from than the commonsense concept of marketing. Until now there are still many people who equate marketing as a sales promotion and advertising. Indeed, from the outside, the marketing work that seems invisible is a promotion, while its contribution to production planning is not visible, even though it is very important to adjust products and market needs.

Butler formulated marketing work in product policy to ensure the product achieved the technical quality that was in accordance with consumer preferences before the product was launched to the market. Before becoming part of marketing, production does not think about the suitability of products with consumer preferences.

Now, more than 100 years after the emergence of Butler’s concept, the concept of marketing is growing. Definition, factors, and ways of working experience development.

Type of Marketing

Marketing consists of strategy (segmenting, targeting, positioning), tactics (differentiation, marketing mix, selling), and value (branding, service, and process). The marketing mix consists of product, price, place, and promotion. There are several kinds of promotions. People called it types of marketing. Actually, it is just different kinds of promotions.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is marketing that emphasis on role of individuals (celebrity, blogger, social influencer, content creator, et cetera) to influence target market by using digital message. Digital message include video, word and picture, and sound.

The individuals are not always part of brand organization. They are not only brand ambassador. Sometimes they offer multiple products from different organization. For example, the individuals may youtuber about coding. He is not only promote hosting from certain company, but also promote computer or handphone. Click here for more information about influencer marketing.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is marketing using database about segmented customers to build loyalty. To do that, the treat customer individually according customer profile to get loyalty.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a marketing that encourage people to share to another people. They share message because the entertaining or controversial message. They share the message using social media feature. It look folk message that easy to accept.

Green Marketing
Green marketing refers to marketing about environmental friendly products for people. Environmental friendly products is not only friendly for environment when it use, but also when it create. Not only in design but also in material. They design material, production, product, use to minimize bad effect on environment.

Keyword Marketing

Keyword marketing is marketing by using research keyword from search engine. When people use search engine, they also give trace that indicate their interest. Then, Search engine give information aggregately about keyword. The information are about keyword, how much visitor, how much competition and so on. That information convey opportunity about market demand. A key advantage of this method is help marketer to choose most potential demand and give right message for them.

Keyword marketing is important for marketers that use website or Facebook fanpages to promote their products. They can generate traffic by using ads or content that aware keyword marketing.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a publicity or promotion that use surprise or unconventional interactions in order to promote a product or service. It is promotion strategy to get maximum result from minimum resources.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is marketing that encourage customers to contact marketers. How to encourage them? There are various method to trigger their response. And, marketing can create event, training, content, web design, and also give them link to contact. Business will be source for important solution for them. That make customer want to contact marketers.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process to to trigger visitors for website by consider user experience and search engine factors. The SEO process is :

  • keyword research,
  • create optimized content,
  • facilitate google to index and rank
  • evaluation by using google search console or similar tool
  • fix based on evaluation.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is marketing that use useful content for target market. Marketers create content to get engagement from customers.


  1. Philip Kotler, 2002 Marketing Management Millennium Edition 10th Edition

2. Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller, 2016, A Framework for Marketing Management, Pearson Education, Inc.

3. Philip Kotler, Gary Amstrong, 2012, Principles of Marketing, Pearson Education, Inc

4. American Marketing Association,

5. Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong, Veronica Wong, John Saunders, 2001, Principles of Marketing, Financial Times Prentice Hall

6. Philip Kotler, 2005, According Kotler, Amacom

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