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The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the term marketing is a word that is related to advertising, business and commerce. A colleague once said to me that she went to do some marketing. I came to realise that she meant shopping for grocery in the supermarket, only after dwelling further onto the subject. But this is something that is rarely used in such context based on my own personal experience.

My question is: Is the usage of the term marketing in the literal sense still appropriate in the English speaking community?

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Too Localised. OP's colleague is either not a native speaker, or was using the word whimisically. –  FumbleFingers May 28 '12 at 4:11
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This usage seems OK to me. I would not say it that way myself, but I would understand when someone said it. Instead of whimsical maybe it should be thought of as regional. –  GEdgar May 28 '12 at 14:06
    
She went marketing <- She went to market <- she went to the grocery store (or to different food shops or to a farmer's market). Kinda old-fashioned way of saying it (using 'market' in any fashion. –  Mitch Aug 16 '12 at 22:21

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

ODO defines marketing to mean...

the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

... which would make her usage of the word incorrect, as she isn't selling anything, but rather purchasing products (or services).

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.

... which means that the money she is exchanging (something of value) could be going to her "client" (the supermarket). But that's quite a stretch. Based on the spirit of their definition, again, her usage is incorrect.

Merriam-Webster does have a definition that fits her usage...

the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market

... so there are still dictionaries out there that back up her usage. However, even MW goes on to push the definition more toward selling and promoting products, as opposed to purchasing them.

So, it is still "appropriate"? Most likely not, since most reputable sources are allowing that use of the word to go to the wayside.

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Two more dictionaries that support: American Heritage lists To buy household supplies: We marketed for a special Sunday dinner." Also, Collins meaning #16: to buy or deal in a market. I agree with your conclusion, though; it's an odd use of the word, and should probably be used only in a whimsical context. –  J.R. May 28 '12 at 4:27

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