What Marketing Is and Is Not

I have been involved in the marketing arena formally for over thirty years. As you might imagine, in that time I have heard or read many things about marketing. I have always been struck with people’s misconceptions about marketing, with most of them being too all-encompassing (e.g., everything is marketing), though some have been very narrow (e.g., marketing is PR).

In this short space, two views of marketing are presented: what marketing is and is not.

Before beginning this discussion, it would be useful to provide a general description of the core components of marketing. Specifically, marketing consists of five basic elements, referred to as The 5 Ps of Marketing:

1.     Product:                What good, service or idea you are selling

2.     Price:                     How much you charge for what you are selling

3.     Promotion:            How you are enticing people to purchase your product

4.     Place:                     Where you are selling your product

5.     People:                  Whom you are trying to reach and get to buy your product

Some Marketers’ Views of What Marketing Is NOT

Below are four leading marketing professionals’ views on what marketing is NOT (collected from the web).

1.     Marketing is not sales. We have a client that considers themselves a marketing organization, but the only thing they do is support sales. We’ve spent a lot of time educating them on what it is that makes a marketing organization and what they’re doing is not it. Gini Dietrich – Chief Executive Officer, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

2.     Marketing is not hard. It’s complex. But it’s not hard. Find people who your product or service could help and provide them with information that helps them make a buying decision. Jason Falls – Social Media Explorer

3.     Marketing is not sales. Marketing certainly supports sales, but its scope is much, much broader than that. Marketing is conversation, communications, branding, advertising, an image and a voice, it’s customer support and assistance. It’s listening and responding. Marketing encompasses every single aspect of an organization’s image to the public, its customers, prospects, partners and community – even to its own employees and internal constituencies. Rebecca Lieb – Author of The Truth About Search Engine Optimization

4.     Marketing is not creative. I commonly hear from students who say they don’t view themselves creative enough to be in marketing. Certainly there is a creative side of execution, but the real heart of marketing is the customer insight that comes through research, data, and analytical tools. Mark W. Schaefer – Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, author of The Tao of Twitter

7 Functions Marketing is NOT

An acquaintance, marketing consultant Heidi Cohen, provides a concise discussion on what marketing is NOT. You will notice that some of these points are similar to those above.

1.     Marketing is not sales. Marketing focuses on attracting appropriate prospects, developing warm sales leads, and providing supporting materials to encourage purchase. But the actual execution of these sales, whether in a store by a clerk, in an inbound call center or in the field by an assigned sales professional, is the responsibility of the sales function.


2.     Marketing is not customer service. As a firm’s customer facing representatives, customer service responds to customer needs across platforms and channels. Customer service and marketing have a strong working relationship since agents must understand the ins and outs of every promotion and be able to close and upsell prospects. Further, customer service can be an invaluable source of timely customer feedback.


3.     Marketing is not creative (or graphic arts). While marketing content and communications often need creative and graphic input, marketing focuses on the broader strategy and tactics aligned with business goals and building customer relationships. Marketing is responsible for branding but it usually does not execute the creative that develops the brand, logo and related collateral and advertising.


4.     Marketing is not product support. Marketing usually does not provide day-to-day product support. With the help of various social media formats, what marketing can do is create useful and engaging post-product support content. To be executed well, marketing needs a product management staff who have deep product expertise.


5.     Marketing is not senior management’s personal publicity machine. Marketing is responsible for creating and supporting corporate thought leadership. But, contrary to what some senior executives would like you to believe, marketing isn’t a personal publicity machine focused on getting one or more executives in the public limelight. For these efforts, executives should hire their own publicity agents.


6.     Marketing is not crisis management. Crisis management, especially in today’s 24/7 news cycle, often falls under the umbrella of real-time PR. The reality is, when done well, crisis management needs to cross many corporate functions including senior management, customer service, legal, human resources, operations and investor relations as well as marketing.

Some Marketers’ Views of What Marketing Is

Below are some definitions of what marketing is from a few marketing professionals (collected from the web).

1.     Marketing when done well is (a) the strategy of the business – its value proposition, go to market strategy, brand positioning and image to the world. Marketing when not done well is (b) an endless checklist of advertising and promotional to-dos that can never be completed.  Marketing in the twenty-first century must be (c) largely, but not entirely, measurable and accountable around driving business goals.  Marketing when done brilliantly is driven by (a) includes a small, disciplined subset of (b), and is steeped in a culture of (c). Matt Blumberg –Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Return Path


2.     Marketing is the process by which a firm profitably translates customer needs into revenue. Mark Burgess – Managing Partner, Blue Focus Marketing


3.     Marketing is the process of building relationships with prospects and customers so that you can profitably develop and promote products and services. Chris Garrett – Chrisg.com


4.     Marketing is the art and science of creating, delighting and keeping customers, while making a profit and building enterprise value. Marketing integrates, formally or informally, many disciplines and every organizational function. Marketing should embrace the highest ethical standards, respect the environment, and strive to make the world a better place. Max Kalehoff – Vice President of Marketing, Clickable


5.     Marketing defines the business opportunity, identifies profitable customers and products/services that will meet customer needs, builds customer relationships, drives customer demand and communicates corporate or product/services value.  Ann Z. Marshman – Executive Director, TheLeadersCouncil.com

While these definitions of marketing vary based on perspective, they generally refer to engaging a target market of consumers or other users to ultimately sell a product and hopefully to maintain a relationship beyond the purchase. Marketing, at its core, is about developing the strategies and tactics that support achieving an organization’s goals by building relationships with prospects, customers and the public. But others usually execute these strategies and tactics.

Types of Marketing

Marketing has evolved significantly since the 1950’s, both in terms of sophistication and capability. To appreciate how much it has developed, below are several types of marketing that are being used today (listed alphabetically.)

1.     Affiliate marketing grows your revenues with the help of others. Other marketers are enticed to help sell your product in return for a share of the revenues. It differs from most marketing in that it’s more like running a sales force.

2.     Content marketing provides quality information covering the 5 basic content types to support the sales process. Joe Pulizzi, author of Epic Content is known for building interest in this format.

3.     Direct marketing aims to convert prospects via a phone or website. It’s rooted in traditional formats like catalogs and infomercials. Seth Godin coined the term Permission Marketing; it focused on proactively asking prospects to let you contact them.

4.     Email marketing uses the power of this low cost and pervasive communication tool. At the heart of email marketing is the power to drive sales directly and quickly after a message is sent. The key to email marketing is a solid house file of opt-in readers.

5.     Inbound marketing, a term coined by Hubspot’s founders, broadly applies to marketing that drives potential buyers to seek you out. It encompasses search, email and blogging and social media. The key benefits are lower costs and more measurable results.

6.     Mobile marketing utilizes a mobile device, often a smartphone or tablet, although both wearables and automotive devices are expanding. Think: provide utility for your user. Consider where your prospects are.  Are they at home, on-the-go, or in your retail location? How your message renders on different devices is critical to success.

7.     Search marketing focuses on helping organizations to rank higher on search engines through a combination of organic and paid tactics.

8.     Social media marketing leverages the power of social media platforms to extend an organization’s reach.

9.     Word of Mouth (aka WOM or viral) marketing aims to get potential customers talking about your product. Jonah Berger’s book Contagious and Andy Sernovitz’s book Word of Mouth Marketing are useful references on this topic. An older yet still effective version of WOM, developed by Jay Conrad Levinson , is Guerrilla Marketing, who authored or co-authored a series of marketing books on this topic.

Hopefully this short primer on what marketing is and is not has been helpful. If you have any comments, ideas, questions, suggestions, I would love to hear from you. You can email me at tbuckleshishouse@gmail.com, and put RecoveryView in the subject line.


    •       http://heidicohen.com/marketing-definition/

    •       http://heidicohen.com/what-marketing-is-not/#sthash.UmhTwJpA.dpuf

Tom A. Buckles, Ph.D., is an educator and consultant. He is currently Director of Education at the New Creation Behavioral Healthcare Foundation, as well as an associate professor of marketing at Asuza Pacific University, where his primary responsibility is teaching fully-employed MBA students.

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