What is Marketing, anyway?

Marketing. Public Relations. Promotions. Sales. While all these roles are similar and may be used together, they each have a function. What’s the difference? A good question, and one I think about often.

In my own experience, Public Relations is how people view you, your product, your service, or your idea. Much of Public Relations deals with the media and getting the public familiar with you.

Promotions is the practice of getting your product into the hands of consumers. Sales teams often use promotional tactics.

Marketing is the ability to see a need and to create a product or service to meet that need. It is sometimes the practice of creating a need, then creating the product to fill it. A good example: gaming systems. My son didn’t know he NEEDED an X-Box 360 Live until he saw the endless hours of amazing fun it provides and all his friends were online with it. (Laugh. If you’re a parent with one of these in your home, you know how fruitless it is to argue about gaming systems. Choose your battles, people.)

Okay, now that you know my petty thoughts on the matter, what do others have to say about these definitions?

Free Management Library says this about Marketing: “Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you’re continuing to meet the needs of your customers and getting value in return. Marketing is usually focused on one product or service. Thus, a marketing plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Marketing activities include “inbound marketing,” such as market research to find out, for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc. Inbound marketing also includes analyzing the competition, positioning your new product or service (finding your market niche), and pricing your products and services. “Outbound marketing” includes promoting a product through continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.”

A very thorough definition, and it shows how several aspects in this field are related. Here’s another one from LearnMarketing.net:

“The Chartered Institute of Marketing define marketing as ‘The management process responsible for identifying , anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’

Check out both of these sites for more detailed definitions. Next time, we’ll look at getting your prospect to notice you using one of the most popular – and misunderstood – methods in marketing.

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