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The purpose of the marketing industry is to communicate companies’ offerings to consumers, clients, and the general public. Marketing professionals bridge the gap between companies and their customers. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “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.″ In the United States, the marketing consultant industry is a $55 billion business, consisting of nearly 219,000 businesses that employed more than 412,000 workers in 2019, as reported by the market research group IBISWorld.

Marketing companies employ consultants who advise businesses on ways to improve their marketing tactics, with the goal of understanding what customers want, giving them what they want, and increasing profits. Businesses may hire marketing professionals to conduct marketing and sales research (e.g., public opinion polls, surveys, etc.), sales forecasting, developing marketing objectives and policies, developing and pricing new products, and for other assistance in improving and enhancing their business operations. Governments, educational, religious, social service, and nonprofit organizations hire marketing specialists to help them manage their products and services and promote their brands.

The types of jobs in the marketing industry include marketing managers, market research analysts, and marketing specialists. Marketing professionals may work in-house with companies on a full-time basis or they may be hired as independent consultants. The Department of Labor reported that there were 259,200 marketing managers employed in the United States in May 2018. Other business areas that the marketing industry works closely with include brand and product management and development, advertising, promotions, public relations, and media relations.

Many top marketing companies have global offices that offer a variety of services, making it easier for clients to have more aspects of their projects completed by one company instead of contracting with different companies for different services. Clients often prefer agencies with full-service branding and marketing communications services. The types of services marketing agencies offer include analytics, such as studying data after an advertising campaign is completed to see where improvements can be made, and media research, for traditional, digital, social media, and search engine marketing. Full-service marketing agencies may also offer public relations and social media research and strategy, as well as production and creative services, and consumer research, and brand development. All of these services are done in an effort to improve connections with the customers and boost sales.

The marketing industry is a relatively young industry. It began in the early 1900s, when scholars started to study the relationship between sellers and buyers. By the 1950s, competition between companies was keen. The common tactic of selling as much product as possible without considering what customers wanted had saturated the market. Companies wanted to streamline their sales process and make their sales transactions more efficient and effective, so they started to take buyers into account. This approach gave rise to what became known as the marketing concept, which is the philosophy that companies should first analyze their customers’ needs and then any decisions they make should aim to meet those needs.