“What is the definition of marketing?” someone asked in a group. Several people gave different answers that were unclear. Then, I web-searched it and also found different definitions…The top results were wrong (IMO). Several were focused on selling or advertising (“getting potential customers interested in your products.”) Looking at the bigger scope of things, this perspective is grossly incomplete.
Understanding your market (via research or experience)
Creating value (innovating or iterating with something better)
Educating someone (who may appreciate that value)
Connecting with them (messaging)
Earning their trust (credibility, proof, reputation)
Fulfilling their expectations (great customer experiences)
There’s no particular order here, but it’s logical that *understanding and *creating value come first and are connected to everything else in the chain.
If all those things happen, there MAY be an opportunity to inspire action (maybe “get them to buy.”) With that said, marketing is not selling, just as selling is not marketing. Selling can be as simple as offering a random product to a random person and hoping to create a sale. But, marketing on the other hand, has more to it than that and we wouldn’t want to confuse the two.
When I was at HP, our marketing team worked closely with R&D to develop future products that wouldn’t hit the market for years to come. We had to understand the market first and then design a new product that would offer real and differentiating value. That is the pre-beginning of the product lifecycle.
“Marketing” often gets a bad rap. It can get too unfairly associated with activities that some people dislike (teleMARKETERS, pyramid MARKETING schemes, ‘junk’ mail, infomercials, etc.).
Overall, Marketing covers everything from pre-development R&D to staffing to internal cost controls to shipping to post-sale customer service. It’s everything that goes into delivering customers value and fulfilling the brand promise.
In fact, I simplify the definition of Marketing to: “Introducing and delivering something of value to people who appreciate it.”
Suppliers that do that better than their competitors get the win – and so do their customers. That’s the hidden beauty of great #marketing.
If you want to read more about marketing vs. selling. Click here