2013-05-15

Marketing? Meaning?

I've improvised around the question, "what is marketing?" This post is formatted as a magazine - it is mostly content that others have published on the Internet. I've added a recommended order of reading, and some commentary on what each piece is about. I've picked out one view from each author, and quoted it like this:
If you're skimming this article, just read all the quotes.
Some of the views below are blatantly narrow, and contradict other views below. If you're looking for an overarching summary, skip down to the "textbook," definitions. Otherwise, I begin with definitions which I hope are more accessible.
  • For small businesses

    Getting someone who has a need, to know, like, and trust you.
    The Most Important System for Your Business: A Marketing System - an Interview with John Jantsch - this is a 12 minute interview. If you have 30 seconds to read a partial transcript of (quotes from) the interview, click here instead: Marketing Is Not an Event or the Idea of the Week
  • Probably not-"sales"

    While marketing drives and supports sales, it is usually someone else's job to close the deal. Marketing, at its core, is about developing the strategies and tactics that support achieving an organization's goals by building relationships with prospects, customers and the public.
    What Marketing is NOT summarises Heidi Cohen's view on the matter, following her post on 72 Marketing Definitions. (Relatedly, consider these 22 Best Marketing Quotes at Forbes. The ones by Drucker are probably more useful.)
  • Communication of value

    Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service. It is a critical business function for attracting customers.
    Marketing, on Wikipedia.
  • Marketing vs. Branding

    "Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical."

    "Marketing unearths and activates buyers. Branding makes loyal customers, advocates, even evangelists out of those who buy."

    "Branding is as vital to the success of a business or non-profit as having financial coherence, having a vision for the future, or having quality employees."
    The Difference between Marketing and Branding by Tronvig Group, helps get one started on this oft pondered angle of the issue.
  • If you do it for a living

    It goes without saying that the basic skill is marketing itself. Understanding concepts such as
    • brand equity,
    • customer lifetime value,
    • brand knowledge structure,
    • brand image,
    • and brand salience
    are essential. Equally, technical knowledge of market
    • research,
    • pricing,
    • segmentation,
    • integrated marketing communications,
    • and what metrics are applicable
      • under different circumstances
      • and how they are applied,
    are (or should be) a marketer's stock in trade. But there are two additional sets of skills that are now vital to the future of any marketer who has board ambitions and wishes to rank equally with executives in finance, production, and operations:
    • accounting
    • and finance.
    What Marketing Is Not by Dr. Roger Sinclair, opines that marketing is not a profession, but that it is a business function, which probably relies muchly on educated instinct and then makes some recommendations about how to approach this stuff if you wish to become a "career" marketer.

    (I added the bullets. Also, one could reasonably see how either education or instinct alone, would be probably insufficient.)
  • A classic approach

    the 4 'P's:
    • product - the specific features and benefits of the product
    • place - where and how the product is sold
    • price - setting the right price in each market
    • promotion - using the most suitable form of promotion to reach customers
    Google turned that up in The Role of the Marketing Function, a broader case study of how Red Bull gets what it does, done through word-of-mouth marketing.
  • A textbook definition

    This would probably be most helpful for engineers, scientists, and anyone who tends towards systematic thinking. (I'm partial to this approach, myself.)
    ... the marketing concept.

    "The central idea of marketing is of a matching between a company's capabilities and the wants of customers in order to achieve the objectives of both parties."

    The marketing concept, as opposed to the marketing function, implies that all the activities of an organization are driven by a desire to satisfy customer needs
    This unidentified Elsevier textbook then going into a detailed layout of the concepts and systems subsumed under marketing, according to its paradigm. The following seem to be supporting documents, but I haven't figured out the title/ISBN of the parent text. On The Marketing Function and an Introduction to Marketing Communications
  • Another textbook definition

    Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer.
    Definition of Marketing in the longer tutorial on What is Marketing at KnowThis.com
Lots of people are already doing marketing or aspects of marketing, without talking about it in the same way as others. This post intends to address the problem that occurs when we use different language to talk about the same thing, and miss all of each other's points. This post may serve the secondary function of being a crash-course in marketing for pre-MBA first-time business owners.


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