What Is Marketing?
What Is Marketing?
Dictionary.com defines marketing as, “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”
If you work in a marketing role like I do, it’s probably difficult for you to define marketing even though you see and use it every day — the term marketing is a bit all-encompassing and variable for a straightforward definition.
This definition feels unhelpful.
The selling part, for instance, overlaps a little too snuggly with a “what is sales” definition, and the word advertising makes me think of Mad Men brainstorming sessions.
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But upon digging deeper, I began seeing that actually, marketing does overlap heavily with advertising and sales. Marketing is present in all stages of the business, beginning to end.
At first, I wondered why marketing was a necessary component during product development, or a sales pitch, or retail distribution. But it makes sense when you think about it — marketers have the firmest finger on the pulse of your consumer persona. They research and analyze your consumers all the time, conducting focus groups, sending out surveys, studying online shopping habits, and asking one underlying question: “Where, when, and how does our consumer want to communicate with our business?”
Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal customer’s interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.
Modern marketing began in the 1950s when people started to use more than just print media to endorse a product. As TV — and soon, the internet — entered households, marketers could conduct entire campaigns across multiple platforms. And as you might expect, over the last 70 years, marketers have become increasingly important to fine-tuning how a business sells a product to consumers to optimize success.
Today, there are literally dozens of places one can carry out a marketing campaign — where does one do it in the 21st century?
Marketing and Advertising
If marketing is a wheel, advertising is one spoke of that wheel.
Marketing entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business’s selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams within their organization to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.
On the other hand, advertising is just one component of marketing. It’s a strategic effort, usually paid for, to spread awareness of a product or service as a part of the more holistic goals outlined above. Put simply, it’s not the only method used by marketers to sell a product.
Here’s an example (keep reading, there’s a quiz at the end of it) …
Let’s say a business is rolling out a brand new product and wants to create a campaign promoting that product to its customer base. This company’s channels of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website. It uses all of these spaces to support its various campaigns every quarter and generate leads through those campaigns.
To broadcast its new product launch, it publishes a downloadable product guide to its website, posts a video to Instagram demonstrating its new product, and invests in a series of sponsored search results on Google directing traffic to a new product page on its website.