If I were to ask 100 people to define “Marketing” I’d probably get 100 different answers. The problem is “Marketing” has become a nice little euphemism for dirty words like “advertising”, “sales”, and “direct mail”.
I’ve also noticed that all a sudden everyone is a Marketer: I met a guy the other day who makes signs – he introduced himself as a “Marketer”. Then I met a woman who sells online ads, she also identified as a “Marketer”. Everywhere I go I run into people who at first- glance do what I do, but when I dig a little deeper I learn they’re really selling some marketing tool; not actually engaging in the bigger picture – or the process and planning of Marketing.
I’ve been able to forgive sellers of marketing tools for calling themselves Marketers – I mean, everyone is doing it. But then I read an article by the CEO of a very well-known company that is a provider of Marketing tools (they call themselves “Marketers” too). In his article he addressed the question, “Isn’t Marketing and Advertising the same thing?” His response was, “Well, not really. Let me explain the differences. Advertising includes: commercials, billboards, radio, and newspapers. Marketing includes: emails, letters, postcards, and fax.” WHAT??? (Ok, in all fairness, he wrote Marketing “includes” not marketing “is”, but still, he used this example to answer the question, “how are Marketing and Advertising different?”, which leads me to believe that’s the basis on which he differentiates them.)
OK – clearly there is a lot of confusion out there. Marketing and Advertising are NOT the same. Advertising is NOT Marketing. Post cards are NOT Marketing. Signs are NOT Marketing. Emails are NOT Marketing. These are tools used in the process of Marketing. They are NOT, in of themselves “Marketing”.
So then, what is Marketing?
Wikipedia – Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in goods or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business development. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.