Corporate Marketing (CM), in general terms, operates at the organizational level and encompasses a stakeholder orientated approach to marketing: a stakeholder approach that takes account of stakeholders of the past, present and future. The approach was first articulated by Balmer during 1998 in the Journal of Marketing Management article entitled "Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing". In explaining the antecedents of the territory, Balmer (1998) noted that since the 1950's various concepts have captured the imagination of scholars and practitioners (organizational identity, corporate identity, corporate branding, corporate image, corporate reputation and corporate communications). Each of these concepts has their own intellectual roots and practice based adherents and whilst individual corporate-level concepts provide a powerful, and radical, lens through which to comprehend organizations, individual perspectives are necessarily limited. For this reason an integrated approach to marketing at the corporate and institutional levels would seem to be highly desirable. Whilst corporate marketing is the established term for the domain from the early 2000's onwards, it was also recognised that in North America the label of Organizational Marketing (OM) might enjoy wider currency. Accordingly we have taken care to also introduce Organizational Marketing alongside Corporate Marketing as applicable terms, plus organised a special edition on Corporate and Organizational Marketing in the Journal of Brand Management - published during 2007.
The ICIG suggests that Corporate and Organizational Marketing (CM/OM) have a general applicability to entities, whether they are corporations as well as other categories such as business alliances, cities, government bodies and departments, or branches of the armed forces and so on. Additionally, it can apply to various kinds of organizations from Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) through to charitable, publicly funded or large multinational companies, however it is not restricted to such traditional business enterprises. Further, it is concerned with organization-level issues relating to the marketing of the organization, while also considering the interaction between its various products and services with various stakeholders. For example, client or consumer psychology, identity and behaviour are also considered to have a part to play.
Key for both Corporate and Organizational Marketing is their common concern with multiple exchange relationships (commercial and non-commercial) with multiple stakeholder groups and networks, both internally (e.g. with and between owners, managers and employees) and externally with various constituencies (e.g. clients, suppliers, media, investors, communities). Another feature is the importance accorded to the temporal dimension with there being fidelity not only to present relationships but those of the past and those prospective relationships of the future. Such a perspective has traditionally characterised mutual entities such as building societies, co-operatives and partnerships: John Lewis in the UK being one such example.
Balmer’s (1998) historical analysis of corporate-level constructs sine the 1950s reveals the ascendancy of various concepts during different time frames. Each has attracted the attention of scholars and practitioners alike and appears, in part, to reflect the zeitgeist of a particular epoch. For instance, the concern with corporate image during the 1950's and 1960's and the current interest in corporate brands which dates back to 1995.
This is also reflected in the special editions of, for example, the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Brand Management, International Studies of Management & Organizations and Corporate Communications: An International Journal that have appeared in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and most recently in 2016 focussed on concepts such as corporate identity, corporate marketing, corporate brands, corporate communications, corporate image and corporate reputation. These special editions and other publications have provided a forum for different ontological and epistemological issues to be aired relating to the above. The orchestration of these concepts provides the cornerstone of Balmer’s Corporate Marketing Mix (The eight Cs of Corporate Marketing; see figure below).
In conclusion, Corporate and Organizational Marketing should be seen as more of a philosophy rather than a function. For this reason the mix elements should be seen as informing an organization-wide philosophy rather than as encompassing a mix of elements to be orchestrated by a particular department alone.