What is marketing?

Welcome back to Question Friday! I have heard this question over and over again as I meet people. They ask, “What is marketing?”

Marketing is made up of product, price, placement and promotions (the 4 Ps of marketing). Sometimes the fifth P is considered public relations. Therefore, advertising and PR are functions of marketing but not all marketing is responsible for. Advertising, PR and marketing serve to promote the company or product with the intent of selling but use different tactics.

PR engenders a positive public image for the company so they are considered in the buying process. Advertising disseminates the product messaging through paid channels across mass media. Marketing helps ensure the product, price, placement and promotion set in place make the buy a win for the customer.

If you are an entrepreneur, you may be the one developing, promoting and selling your products. As a company scales, these functions no longer sit under one hat. They divide into maybe product managers, marketers, advertisers, public relations specialists, etc. Sometimes roles overlap, functions overlap, and there are advertisers and marketers providing a very similar function especially in the promotions area.

So what is marketing?

It is a host of go-to-market and maintenance activities that utilizes advertising and PR to drive demand. It also, depending on the structure of the organization, becomes of form of sales enablement by developing messaging and tools for the sales team to win accounts. It can be direct, but not usually delivered on a one-to-one basis by the marketer themselves unless that is in the form of engagement marketing at events.

I differentiate marketing and advertising promotions based on placement. The placement of advertisements can be paid or unpaid, and I delineate paid as a form of advertising and unpaid as a form of marketing. Advertisers pay for segments or spots in increments, whether it is for television, radio, or other mass media channels. Marketers may develop their messaging for unpaid channels, like their social media channels or website.

How do you define marketing?

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