What is marketing and why is it so important?
In business, marketing is everything, my friend.
Marketing is the “social process involving the activities necessary to enable individuals and organizations to obtain what they need and want through exchanges with others and develop ongoing exchange relationships.” (“Marketing Management: A Strategic Decision-Making Process“) This one of my favorite definitions because 1) it comes from a very expensive textbook that I spent thousands (ok, maybe hundreds) of hours of study reading, and 2) it is timeless. This definition was as useful in 1723 as it is in 2023; and will be just as useful in 2323. (AI be damned!) We are social beings who exchange things of value (new sneakers for me and currency for you) to create experiences of value. Marketing is all the things we do to make that exchange possible.
So now, let’s get more specific on what the activities actually are, because it’s those activities that make marketing work. Have you heard of the 4 Ps* of marketing?
- Product: Seems obvious, right? You need a thing to sell, whether it’s a thing-thing or a service-thing. The design, development and creation of that thing is your product.
- Price: Another obvious activity, but without obvious answers. What is the right price? Who knows, and how do I figure it out?
- Placement: Where the thing is placed so your customers can find you and that the exchange can happen.
- Promotion: THIS is where advertising fits! How do you communicate to your customer about the other 3 P’s? Promotion!
So marketing is the planned, intentional, measured and implemented blend of the activities, the 4 Ps. Easy peazy. Congratulations, you now know more than most people. (*There’s a 6 and 8 P version of this definition too. We’ll save that for the master class.)
Think of marketing of the engine that is powering your business. Without it, you are going nowhere. Mess around with the parts and you’ve got an engine that may sometimes work, make a lot of noise, smell really bad or just break-down so often you wish that you had forgotten all about this car business and taken the bus. (Ahem, get a job.) Marketing becomes more of a science than an art when you fine-tune the 4 activities to work together so precisely that people think you are driving a racecar. With a pit crew.
So why is marketing so important? Because without it, you don’t have a chance.
What is the marketing mix?
I’ll bet you can guess this one. It’s the tasty soup of the 4 activities, the 4 Ps. Let’s revisit that very expensive textbook again.
The marketing mix is the combination of controllable marketing variables that a manager uses to carry out a marketing strategy in pursuit of the firm’s objectives in a given target market.
In other words, it’s the measurable marketing activities that you use intentionally from the 4 P’s to meet your business goals.
So what’s up with all the bold italic-y type? I am making a very important point. Marketing activities are most effective when they are controllable, measurable and intentional. Getting a marketing idea from TikTok and throwing it up on your social media is not controllable, measurable, or intentional. Marketing strategy is the thoughtful researching and planning on how to best use the 4 P’s to make that glorious exchange between you and your customer.
What is marketing vs advertising? (Or sales?)
I’ll let you jump in this time. The difference between marketing and advertising is fill in the blank. Got it? I knew you would. 🎉
(Teacher’s answer: The difference between marketing and advertising is that advertising (or sales) is one tactic of promotion, one of the 4 activities of marketing.)
Where is marketing?
Everywhere! Seriously, go look. Now that you know the 4 P’s, you’ll see marketing everywhere.
Can marketing change the world?
Spoiler alert: This section written by ChatGPT.
Yes, marketing can change the world in several ways, primarily through influencing consumer behavior, shaping cultural norms, promoting social causes, and driving economic growth. Here are some ways how:
- Shaping Perceptions and Attitudes: Marketing has the power to shape public perceptions and attitudes towards certain issues, products, or services. By promoting positive messages or beneficial products, it can lead to behavior change at a societal level.
- Driving Innovation and Economic Growth: Marketing helps to drive demand for new products and services, which in turn encourages businesses to innovate and compete. This can lead to economic growth and job creation.
- Promoting Social Causes: Cause marketing or social marketing uses marketing principles to promote social causes and make a positive impact on the world. Campaigns around issues such as environmental conservation, healthy living, or education can raise awareness and mobilize people towards these causes.
- Creating Cultural Shifts: Marketing can introduce and popularize ideas that lead to cultural shifts. For example, body positivity and diversity in advertising are recent trends that have challenged traditional norms and stereotypes.
- Connecting People Globally: Through international marketing, people are brought closer together by shared desires and needs. This can create a sense of global community and shared understanding.
- Education and Awareness: Effective marketing campaigns can educate the public about important topics, spreading awareness and knowledge about complex issues that might otherwise be ignored or misunderstood.
However, it’s important to remember that the power of marketing can be a double-edged sword. While it can be used to promote beneficial products, services, or causes, it can also be used to promote harmful or misleading information. Therefore, the ethical use of marketing (and AI) is an important consideration.
This section above brought to you by Artificial Intelligence. Now in marketing spaces near you. All of them. Really.
Can marketing change the world, and now that ChatGPT has crashed the party; is that even relevant anymore? Yes, marketing can change the world, and yes, marketing is still relevant. Remember our first definition? We are social HUMAN beings who exchange things of value to increase our happiness.
So what is marketing all about, anyway?
The Beastie Boys said it best, “Well, I gotta keep it going keep it going full steam / Too sweet to be sour too nice to be mean / Well, on the tough-guy style I’m not too keen / Trying to change the world, I’m going to plot and scheme.” (“Intergalatic”)
The Beastie Boys? Not only did they fight for your right to party, they were pretty awesome at marketing. They were masters of the 4 Ps long before digital marketing became a college degree. With their boundless creativity and business acumen, The Beastie Boys created the nearly perfect eco-system of product, price, placement and promotion that created 2 generations of super-fans through the exchanges with others that created relationships. And, they knew their audience so well they nailed the language and tone. (“Too sweet to be sour, too nice to be mean?” Genius!)
So exactly, what is marketing all about? It’s about relationships, with some plotting and scheming. Now go exchange something.
This post was brought to you by Answer the Public, ChatGPT, Bramework, Paula’s brain and the Guardians of the Galaxy playlist on Spotify. You’ll thank me later.
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