Strategic Planning

How to Define Marketing

how to define marketingI was sitting there in the hot, cramped conference room of a small hardware manufacturer when the CEO proclaimed “Marketing doesn’t work.”  He went into elaborate detail about expensive brochures, an unsuccessful email campaign, and how they surveyed their customers and got useless data.  He repeated his mantra several times — “Marketing doesn’t work.”

I was stumped.  Why am I here to talk about my marketing services firm?  You called me!

The problem?  Semantics.  He was referring to ads and brochures — to him, “fluffy expenses” that didn’t help him reach his goals.  And with that definition in his head, he was more skeptical about everything that he called “marketing.”

When businesses have the wrong idea about something, they’re unlikely to invest in it.  And very few people define marketing in the same way.  Some think it’s brochures, slogans and print ads; others think it’s an MBA crunching numbers on brand equity and market share.

Marketing is much more than any of these things.  It’s an investment that generates revenue, profit and opportunity for growth.
define marketing function
Marketing is the process of developing and communicating value to your prospects and customers. It includes every step you take to sell, service and manage your customers:

  • Your knowledge of the market and your strategy to penetrate it
  • The distribution channels you use to connect with your customers
  • Your pricing strategy
  • The messages you deliver to your market
  • The look and feel of your marketing materials
  • The experience you deliver to your market and customers
  • The actions of your sales and service reps
  • All of the planning, preparation, forecasting and measurement of your investments

If your company has a narrow definition of marketing, you’re limiting your opportunities:

  • You may hire the wrong type of  “marketing” experience when you’re building your team
  • You may only focus on a few marketing tactics without realizing what you’re missing
  • You may unintentionally drive a wedge between sales & marketing teams when they should truly focus on the same thing (developing & communicating value)

Good marketing is essential for every company.  It can help a company with a mediocre product become successful; poor marketing can send a good company out of business.

Don’t let your company define “marketing” as a soft creative field.  Instead, think of it as the engine that drives company revenue.  It will give you an entirely different mindset.



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