This chapter introduces you to the basic concepts of marketing. We start with the question “What is marketing?” Simply put, marketing is managing profitable customer relationships. The aim of marketing is to create value for customers and capture value from customers in return. Next, we discuss the five steps in the marketing process—from understanding customer needs, to designing customer-driven marketing strategies and integrated marketing programs, to building customer relationships and capturing value for the firm. Finally, we discuss the major trends and forces affecting marketing in this age of customer relationships. Understanding these basic concepts and forming your own ideas about what they really mean to you will give you a solid foundation for all that follows. Let’s start with a good story about marketing in action at Running Room, one of Canada’s most successful specialty retailers. The secret to Running Room’s success? It’s really no secret at all. Customer service is an essential component of the company philosophy and is what keeps Running Room competitive.