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What Is Marketing Anyway?

Of course you know what marketing is; you’ve been doing it for years! It’s . . . well, on second thought, let’s have a look at that definition.

Marketing. Advertising. Merchandising. Selling. Promoting.

We often use these words interchangeably. But do they really share a definition? Or do they represent different threads of a complicated, interwoven tapestry?

Because marketing is kind of a broad term, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Or to assume that you understand the concept, when you just kinda sorta know what it means.

Marketing is a living, breathing principle that changes as quickly as technology, trends, and algorithms do. So if the word “marketing,” has always been a gray area for you, don’t worry.

You aren’t alone.

A Simple Definition

Here is where the tapestry analogy comes into play:

Marketing is not one single thing.

It’s a series of actions and processes that are designed to raise awareness for a business and its products/services. The different threads of the marketing tapestry include market research, branding, advertising, and more.

The Purpose of Marketing

You might think that the purpose of marketing is to sell more of a business’s products and services. But that’s not exactly correct. Instead, the purpose of marketing is to raise awareness and interest in a business’s products and services. Ideally, the quality of the goods will do the rest.

In other words, marketing is like a highway that is built over and over again, connecting a company’s products and services with the people who want or need them. Of course, marketing does impact what happens once a person makes it to the end of the road, but the journey of getting there is just as important.

So, what does the journey entail? For decades, people have talked about the Four P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place. To succeed in marketing, you need to understand each of these categories and how they work together:

Product –

You can’t market a product (or service) until you understand what it is you’re selling. How does the product fill a gap in the marketplace or create a unique experience for consumers?

In other words, why should there be a demand for what you’re selling?

Once you know the answer to that question, you can begin to hone in on your ideal client. And you can begin to craft content that will emphasize why a customer should buy the product or service you are selling.

Price –

When you are marketing a product or service, you need to justify the price of what you are selling. How does your pricing compare to competitors? If it’s more expensive, your marketing strategy needs to highlight why the extra money is worth the investment. If it’s less expensive, you’ll need to emphasize that low price doesn’t mean low quality.

Understanding your price point and where it fits into the marketplace will again help you dial in on your ideal customer. In other words, it will drastically affect your brand’s personality and the tone of voice you take when creating content.

Place –

Where do potential customers find your products or services? Should they visit your storefront, your website, or either? If you’re not sure, it’s time to do some market research and discover where customers are most likely to look for your products and services. These days, the internet is a pretty safe bet. But it’s worth looking into, especially if your ideal customer is someone hyper-specific or local.

Again, understanding “place” in marketing is key because it helps you define your ideal customer and make educated decisions for your marketing strategy.

Promotion –

Once you have defined the first three P’s—product, price, and place—you’ll be ready to promote your business, product, or service. By this point, you should have a good idea of who you’re selling to and where to find them. Now, all that’s left is to communicate with this audience in a way that resonates.

Thankfully, the “promotion” phase of marketing can be a series of trials and errors. The only way to understand what works for your industry, your location, and your brand is to try. Put your marketing products out there, gather data on what works and what doesn’t, then try again.

The promotion phase can take many different forms. Before the internet, you could find success through TV, radio, mail, and word-of-mouth marketing. Now, you’re more likely to succeed via the World Wide Web. We recommend:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing (Google Ads)
  • Content Creation/Blogging
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Email Marketing

The internet has drastically changed the way people buy and sell. And because the internet is ever-evolving, the various methods of digital marketing are adapting and growing as well. Unfortunately, something that worked for your business a few years ago may be outdated now. So we recommend that you continue to monitor the KPIs of your marketing strategy and make changes when necessary.

The purpose of marketing is to raise awareness and interest in products and services. Ideally, the quality of the goods will do the rest.

Marketing First Steps

We know what you’re thinking:

Man, that sounds like a lotta work! Pass.

First, digital marketing is not as hard as it sounds. As a modern person, you’re probably already doing a lot of the things we’ve talked about. We’re simply suggesting that you do those things with a little more focus and direction.

Second, if you want to compete in a dense marketplace, you kinda have to invest in marketing. Otherwise, your products and services will be just another drop in the bucket and consumers will have no real reason to look your way. You could have the very best product/service on the planet and would still get overlooked.

Here’s how we recommend you get started:

Get a New Website

If you’re ready to start marketing your business, a shiny new website will do a lot of the leg work for you. It will:

  • Make your business look more modern and credible
  • Increase your online visibility
  • Allow you to sell your products/services online
  • Give you a landing page to point all your marketing efforts back to

If you don’t have a website, we highly recommend that you invest in one ASAP.

Perform Some Market Research

“Market research” is just a fancy term for gathering information about your target audience. You can do this via any platform on which you market your business, including email, social media, and Google. The easiest way to perform market research is through A/B testing or simple trial and error. Discover for yourself what works and what doesn’t.

If you’re willing and able to spend some extra time and money on market research, you can also try:

  • Interviewing past and potential customers
  • Creating focus groups
  • Performing market segmentation research
  • Analyzing competitors in your industry and area
  • Asking for customer feedback

Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll walk away with more information about your target audience and what makes them tick. This will help you create more effective marketing campaigns in the future.

Start Creating Content

Content creation is the key to building a stronger online presence. Period.

Quality content will help you educate, engage with, and build relationships with potential customers. It will also help you establish your brand voice and build your business as an authoritative presence in your industry.

We really can’t recommend content creation enough. Blog posts or articles are a great way to get started, but there are several alternatives you might consider as well:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Case Studies
  • How-to Guides
  • eBooks

If something speaks to you, we say do it! But if content creation sounds foreign and scary, that’s okay too. You can always hire a copywriter, videographer, graphic designer, or another professional to fill the gap. The important part is that you start.

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