The best etymology I could find says the definition of marketing has changed like this:

1560s, "buying and selling," verbal noun from market (v.). Meaning "produce bought at a market" is from 1701. The business sense, "process of moving goods from producer to consumer with emphasis on advertising and sales," is attested by 1897.

Is there any more detail about how/why the current meaning started being used and why the older meanings fell out of common usage?


The etymology above lists the three different meanings; here are some more details:

I never knew "marketing" had these other meanings until I started looking into its etymology. I always thought marketing meant something related to promoting goods/services for sale. I never thought it had anything to do with consumption, too.

  • 1
    What do you mean by "current meaning"? And what "older meanings" do you feel have "fallen out of common usage"??
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 1 '16 at 13:11
  • @HotLicks: I added a clarification.
    – Leftium
    Jul 1 '16 at 13:22
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    to non native speakers "marketing" is a term that was adopted by most languages around the world after it became a management discipline ('60s/'70s) In English it has retained also it original meaning which is not used outside English speaking countries.
    – user66974
    Jul 1 '16 at 13:25
  • @HotLicks: Also marketing and sales are usually seen as two different activities, but sales is a part of dictionary marketing.
    – Leftium
    Jul 1 '16 at 13:35
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    When a farmer goes to sell his crop he's "marketing" it. I regularly hear the word used in that sense here, in corn country. Consider that the word is based on the word "market", which is a place (tangible or intangible) where goods are bought and sold. Use of the term to mean advertising & promoting is a bit of a perversion of the meaning.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 1 '16 at 17:17

According to the American Maketing Association website , marketing as a discipline emerged in the U.S.A. in the '50s:

  • After the second world war, in 1950, the service economy first employed more than 50 percent of the US population. Marketing’s modern origins as a normative management discipline emerged in the 1950s (Baker, 1999). Baker (1974, 1991) presented a broad treatment of marketing definitions which positions marketing as a hybrid management field intertwined from microeconomics, statistical mathematics and psychology. Brand Management has been couched by marketing management to a great extent.

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