Marketing Misunderstood

The Definition of Marketing needs to be reviewed and understood prior to planning.

It has become so common I can’t remember how many times a person in business has commented, “We don’t do marketing.”

Of course I smile inside because everyone does some type of marketing, so as I discuss this further with the business person I begin to find their definition of marketing, such as advertising, mailings, or trade shows. Then I try to gently explain the true definition of marketing.

Marketing as defined by one Webster Dictionary is “Trading in a market; buying or selling; the entire process of storing, shipping, advertising, and selling which promotes and actualizes a sales transaction.”

Jay Levinson of Guerrilla Marketing defines Guerrilla Marketing as “Everything you do to promote your business, from the moment you conceive of it to the point at which customers buy your product or service and begin to patronize your business on a regular basis.”

Theodore C. Levitt a past professor of Harvard’s Business School says marketing is different than selling because, “Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs.”

All of these definitions are very extensive in their reach and that’s where I note the void in discussing marketing with some business professionals.

Marketing doesn’t come before or after a business is defined, it is during the entire process of setting up a business that marketing is actually present. When you describe your company, product, process, service, and benefits to someone you are marketing. When you answer the telephone and represent your business you are marketing, because marketing is the entire act of presenting a product or service to another to purchase.

Now how you choose to spend your resources on marketing is defined by what works and doesn’t primarily since positive feedback or perceived positive results usually reinforce the activity.

So the first step when trying to assist a company with their marketing is usually less confusing if the entire word marketing isn’t used, because of it’s extensive reach and common misunderstandings.

I like to ask, “How are you currently selling your product or service; how do your customers find you?” Depending upon this response you can tell how deep marketing is integrated into the organization and where it has presence, is it in the strategic planning process, or is it what the sales department has requested, is it an afterthought, or just the results of sales people selling them ads and promotions?

So what does Marketing mean to you?

Several articles and blogs are based upon the discussion of marketing versus engineering, marketing versus manufacturing, marketing versus sales; it’s rather sad because it should never be versus it should always be an ongoing part of the process from the beginning to the end with measurements and plans.

Marketing becomes the enemy when it is short term, injected on a whim, and poorly executed because of lack of planning and joint efforts.

When marketing is well understood by management and the marketing professional it flows throughout the organization continuously like blood flowing throughout the body, when you cut a section off it will turn blue and it will waste your money.

Debbie Newhouse