As a business consultant, I often find my clients have misguided ideas about marketing and what it is. There’s many varying definitions of marketing so I’ll do my best to provide a guideline for what marketing is and what it’s not.
The Noble Definition of Marketing
At Noble.Marketing we define marketing like this
A manner of thinking that considers the exchange of value between business and customer resulting in customer satisfaction and profit for the business
Marketing is Getting People in the Door
This is what marketing is essentially – getting people in the door. This means getting people to where they can learn about your product and buy it.
Whether that’s on your website, your email where you handle customer support, or your physical location; marketing is about getting people where they can learn and buy.
People buy things for myriad reasons but marketing serves just a few functions, and ultimately a singular purpose (to get people to buy). Some of the functions of marketing are:
- Generating attention around a product/service/event/message
- Establishing brand authority and/or relevance
- Encouraging impulse buys by emphasizing the low-risks (for products within the impulse buy price range)
- Positioning the brand among competition (if you’ve seen a verizon/at&t commercial, you know..)
Marketing campaigns may emphasize exclusivity, product quality, environmental-friendliness (or other social ideals) in your advertising to persuade viewers to engage with them.
Ethics in Marketing
It’s worth noting that while marketing’s sole purpose is to drive sales – doing so ecologically & ethically means providing value to the customer first and profiting second.
It’s possible to sell poor quality products/services and doing so knowingly falls into what I would consider unethical territory. But without delving too much in beliefs and ethics let’s continue on what marketing is, isn’t, how it’s used, and why.
The Discipline of Marketing
Marketing is much more a way of thinking than a set of processes one does to drive sales.
Marketing can be a part of the product development if you’re already thinking about the needs of the market and how you can service those needs. If you’re a sock company, you may realize that there’s a lack of toeless socks in the market. Seizing the opportunity with that in mind, you’re marketing by creating a product that fills that void.
Marketing can be a part of your sales strategy because sometimes once you get people in the door they do the rest. Some products don’t require active selling – simply marketing, raising awareness and educating on your product, is enough.
Web-based businesses often require more active marketing than selling. This is because the selling is done by on-page copywriting in which the website itself is doing the selling.
What Marketing isn’t
First of all, marketing isn’t the totality of a healthy business. Marketing presupposes that you’re marketing some thing. To market that thing, you or someone else had to create that thing at some point. That stage was called service/product development, and before that was the ideation stage where ideas are formed.
While marketing may play a role in sales, development, branding, customer support, and other aspects of a whole business, it isn’t any of those things completely. Marketing is a means of communication to your audience, through your presentation and messaging.
Marketing is the way you communicate with your audience, as well as the audience you choose to target.
You should take great care to create and maintain your products/services foremost because it’s an uphill battle to sell low-quality products/services.
You should also give customer service great consideration. Your marketing can be wasted if you don’t provide good service to any leads your marketing generates.