If you are a business person, or student of marketing you have probably come across many different meanings and interpretations of this valuable component of business.
I thought I put together what could possibly be the world’s longest definition of marketing, to illustrate that we sometimes over load, and over complicate what should be a simple business function.
Marketing is the action, activity, processes, act, science, art, message, technique, set of institutions, strategies, function, and business of promoting, selling, creating, communicating, delivering, distributing, exploring, identifying, defining, measuring, quantifying, pin pointing, and exchanging offerings with the customer that offer value for everyone involved, and historically when done the right way marketing helps you satisfy the unfulfilled needs of the customer, make money, educate, inform, and build a lasting relationship with the customer, so that you can grow a community, advocates, and repeat customers, and when not done the right way marketing is just disruptions, interruptions, not measuring, using analytics, and A/B testing, and in this modern and increasingly online world, marketing must engage, tweet, like, and follow.
If you think about it, perhaps no other business function seems as confusing as marketing. This is particularly important given the fact I would argue it’s the most important one.
We know the lifeline of any business is its customers, and marketing just happens to be what gets those customers.
I don’t want this post to be about one definition of marketing versus another, but rather a call for simplicity, so that everyone no matter how seasoned, or new can automatically and easily explain it.
In the process we can all hopefully learn that regardless of how a particular definition is worded, it’s really all about trying to attract people.
The Key is the Link Juice between Product and Customer
Marketing is the many things you use to get customers for your many business needs.
To explain this a little bit better, let’s start with your business needs first.
Your company needs customers to find out about you, buy from you, know why you are different, be happy with their purchase, and be able to recognize your brand.
All of these needs exist for every company in the world, and as such they all need something to fulfill them. That’s where marketing comes in. It’s the many things such as adverstising, PR, branding, and promotions that help in this regard.
Let’s say you open a restaurant and you want people to know you are here and open for business. You might decide to take an ad out in the paper, buy one on a billboard sign, or put your menus or flyers in the side window of all the cars nearby.
People get the message and are excited for the new spot that just opened up. You start to get customers, but soon realize your offering is not that different from the competition.
After doing some thinking you decide to start using black to go plates and utensils in order to be different.
This too works for some time, before you start noticing, your patrons are not coming back as often as you would like them to.
You in turn do some further brainstorming and discover your prices are too high. The next logical move for you is to lower prices in order to appeal to more people and increase the rate in which people frequent your establishment.
By now things are going well and increasing more people recognize your company and you have even developed a following.
This leads you to start focusing even more on the consistency your product, messaging, and over all feel of your business. You even form local partnerships, and give back to your community.
This of course helps you to build your brand.
As you can see, all of these things you did to bring you and your customer to one another are marketing.
It’s important to note that sometimes the strategies you use might be complicated or require outside help, like SEO and A/B testing. However, the key is to understand that even the complicated tactics still serve the purpose of fulfilling your business’ needs for customers.
So How Old Is Marketing Again?
Another aspect of marketing that is also confusing to people at times is the condition of time.
What you have to realize here is that marketing doesn’t change with time. Tactics, platforms, mediums, and channels change but the work of connecting product and customer doesn’t change.
Just as it was someone’s idea to put up an ad on the side of a bus to attract people, it will be someone else’s idea to perhaps place an ad on the side of a smart water bottle.
No matter the day and age the underlying task is to always connect with a consumer.
So Which One Came First? The Profit or the Flyer?
Profit is also not a requirement of marketing. Huh? Let me explain.
If you run a promotion on the radio for one month, but receive zero sales and leads, does that mean your promotion was not marketing? No. It just means it was a strategy that didn’t work.
In other words, if a tweet goes out, but everyone is overwhelmed at that moment is it still social media marketing?
What we can take away from here is the important is what occurs in the space between product and customer to merge the two.
In fact, marketing is simply the link between product and customer.
Next time someone asks you to explain what marketing is, just tell them it’s how the space between the one providing something and the one who consumes it gets filled. Whether it’s deliberate like giving out coupons, or subtle like customers liking the color paint you have on your walls.
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