The question of what is marketing, or, how do you define marketing – seems to come up a lot, especially these days.
Many people consider marketing to be selling, or tools to assist in selling such as advertising. In fact, in a recent online discussion with hundreds of professionals, including designers, writers, marketing experts and business owners of all types, “selling” came up a lot. There were so many responses defining “marketing” as about building an image or enticing a consumer to purchase a product, it raised of the questions “Has marketing really devolved to glorified selling? How did we get there?” Selling and image are certainly parts of the equation, but there is much more to it.
Briefly, “From product conception through customer satisfaction, marketing is the process to successfully facilitate an exchange between a business and its customers.”
This is commonly defined as the 4 P’s; Product, Price, Placement, Promotion. In order for a product or service to be successful, it has to be well conceived, well positioned and well received. Marketing is the process to facilitate this. I like the simplicity of this example (submitted by one of the participants in the discussion mentioned above):
A man has an apple tree.
He realizes he has more apples than he can eat
He decides to sell them
He puts them in a cart and takes them to the market
He starts shouting “apples for sale”
He Sells his apples and makes money
When he gets home he starts thinking about selling more apples
At what point is he Marketing (with a capital M)?
Marketing enters the picture between steps 2 and 3, when he realizes there may be an audience for his apples (Product). Should he trade them? Give them away? Sell them? (Price) He takes them to market (Placement) and shouts “apples for sale” (Promotion). There you have it. The 4 “P”s. ALL of that is marketing.
Since the advertising and selling aspects are the most visible stages in marketing, it’s no surprise that’s what so many people equate with marketing. But business owners would do well to back up their marketing plan to include the stages before – and after – the selling process. Only by completely understanding the entire process, can a successful marketing strategy be developed.
Add comment June 10th, 2010