The Definition of Marketing:
Seven Keys to Success

Keys to Success

I'm asked a lot about the definition of marketing. Instead of immediately replying, I invite the questioner to tell me what they think it is. The answers hit on the usual responses:

The strategic side of marketing - marketing strategy planning, market and customer analysis, product planning, pricing and promotion strategies, web analytics, go to market strategy, and so on. And the tactical areas of marketing – brochures, web banner ads, email campaigns, trade shows, sales lead management, social media, creating buzz with news releases, etc.

The American Marketing Association has an official definition of marketing, which is:

"The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."

Plan, Connect, Sell, and Repeat

This process takes into account the customer, the product, and the channel and falls into one of two buckets: planning or customer experience.

So, what is the definition of marketing? It's an ongoing effort during the life of your product or service, and definitely doesn't end with the sale. Here's a useful a checklist that lays this out:

  1. Marketing understands the needs of targeted customers;
  2. Marketing designs products and services to meet those needs;
  3. Marketing determines how best to position products and services, find and reach out to the target audience, and support that effort;
  4. Marketing discovers what method of delivery the targeted audience prefers in terms of both communications and channels;
  5. Marketing develops training and tools for the sales force as well as customer facing materials, promotion, and programs;
  6. Marketing keeps customers happy after the sale so that they come back for more;
  7. Marketing figures out what's working and what's not, then makes necessary changes. Repeat!

By the way, your strategy can include a mix of different channels - direct, retail, strategic partners, distributors and resellers, tiki huts on popular beaches, and more. Take care of your channels just like you would support any targeted audience segment, and in turn they'll be very good to you.

Lastly, there must be a direct connection between company strategies, marketing strategies, marketing activities, and revenue.

That's why it's critical for the sales and marketing teams to be in sync. Check out my article Why Your Frontline Sales Must Include Marketing for more on why marketing needs to be an essential part of the sales process. Marketing's responsibility is to manage this entire process and turn strategy into action for your company.

Not exactly a fearless on the money explanation! It's a bland statement and really misses the mark. Maybe they did this on purpose because the definition of marketing covers a broad set of skills and disciplines, from strategic thinking to tactical execution. Maybe they were told to keep it short because of limited website real estate!

Today, marketing is not one-size fits all. It varies by the size of the company, the industry, as well as changing market and business conditions. It's a process that hasn't changed dramatically, even in today's Internet centric world. Certainly you deserve a definition that describes the process a bit more than this.

Other Related Articles You'll Enjoy Reading:

The Secret of How to Sell More Products 
It's important that sales and marketing act as a team and be in sync. Here 4 reasons why you need to make this happen now.

These 5 Steps Will Help You Convert Leads Into Customers 
Successfully turn strangers into prospects and then customers with an effective follow-up system.

Is Your Sales Funnel Full of Dirty Data? 
4 tips for improving the quality of your sales lead database that will close more deals.

5 Ways To Create A Company-wide Sales Attitude 
Inspire everyone in your company to have a sales attitude by creating a customer centered culture up and down your entire organization.

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