What Is Marketing, Anyway?

When the word "marketing" was first used in the Middle Ages it simply meant to bring something to the market and sell it. There wasn't any such thing as advertising.

It was 500 years before it came to mean everything that sets up the sale, including advertising and all else outside of manufacturing or production.

The first reference in Oxford English Dictionary to its use in this sense is 1922. Probably not a coincidence that this was just one year before Claude Hopkins "Scientific Advertising" - the first modern book on marketing (and which, by the way, doesn't use the word "marketing").

So what is marketing? I think we can make that clear by describing the four major components to what is usually called the marketing mix:

PRODUCT is an element of marketing - whether you are offering products or services. You need to be selling something people need or want. We are talking about design of features and appearance (such as color, size, weight, shape, and for manufactured items, arrangement of components, labeling, materials and so on). Also packaging, including naming, and for products, the design of the box, bag or other container the item is sold in. For services how they are "packaged", e.g., as a bundle of six related services, for example.

PRICING includes not only how much but how paid such as by subscription, lease purchase, four easy payments, COD, etc.

PROMOTION covers every means of getting the word out about the product or service. Advertising is a big piece of that. These days forms of advertising have exploded far beyond the traditional newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, direct mail.

Of course the various ways of advertising online come to mind (such as organic search, click ads, banner ads, email marketing, etc.). Add to that skywriting, movie theater ads, door hangers, toilet stall ads, etc. etc. etc.

There are fortunes to be made by the next person to find and successfully promote a way to get their advertising message in front of the consumer on a new, uncluttered channel.

Beyond ads, trade shows are huge. There are the many types of point-of-purchase promotion including in-store displays and coupons.

Don't forget about sales materials such as brochures, catalogs, "line cards" and "sell sheets". And then there are the likes of Networking groups, Mary Kay and Tupperware parties - what is often called "personal selling".

There are also the many actions which can be more properly categorized as public relations including sponsorship, product placement, endorsements and any other form of publicity such as "cause marketing" "buzz marketing", etc. All of these have in common they are more directed to making a product known and well thought of, then to directly selling it.

Finally PLACEMENT means how/ where does the buyer get the item? In their grocery store, through an online store, a street vendor. It also means in what geographic area or areas is it available? It also means how does it get to where it can be purchased - such as through wholesalers or resellers - which takes us back to the first sense of the word "marketing" as it was used in the 1400's.

If you look this over, you can see where your own marketing is doing well or can be improved. Perhaps you'll see a wide-open opportunity you previously overlooked.

Contact us
from unknown to unforgettable
Request a FREE Evaluation of your
Website or Internet Marketing