What is Marketing?

What actually is marketing? This article explains it in an easy-to-understand way!

If you search the internet for the phrase ‘what is marketing’, one thing will become abundantly clear very quickly…..

There are numerous different definitions out there of what marketing actually is (see just some of the different definitions at the end of this article).

At Absolutely Write, as a journalist-led business, we’re experts at cutting through the ‘noise’ and helping business owners see things clearly, not wrapping them up in complex or fancy language or jargon that raises more questions than it answers.

And marketing is one thing, and one thing only – It is what you do to sell yourself to your intended audience.

That’s it in essence. It is how you go about telling the world (or your targeted part of it) about yourself and the activities you do to make the audience (or your intended part of the audience) buy FROM you if you’re a business or buy INTO you if you’re an individual. 

You may be thinking that as an individual you don’t do or need marketing. But think about the last time you went for a job interview or applied to do something you really wanted to do (such as take part in a course or join an exclusive club). You probably created a CV (resume) highlighting your relevant skills and experience, attended the interview dressed smartly (whether online or in person), and did everything you could to get across just how right you were for the position. That my friend is personal marketing.

For businesses, marketing is no different. The objective is the same – to convince someone (a potential customer) that the business is the one they can (and should) trust to deliver what they need.

But underneath that high-level objective, there are numerous different things to consider when it comes to marketing. For example:

  • What marketing approach works best for you?
  • How do you want to be perceived by your potential customers?
  • What extra information do you need to sell effectively to the end user?
  • What core messages do you want to get across to buyers?
  • What marketing tactics (activities) will deliver you the best result?

Traditionally marketing has focused on the ‘4 P’s’ – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion – although over the years these have been added to by some marketers and marketing agencies to include additional ‘P’s such as People, Physical Evidence, and Process (to name just a few).

These are considered the cornerstones of a marketing strategy and will help you decide which routes to market your business, services, or products will work best for you.

At a high level, the two main marketing approaches are as follows:

1. Outbound marketing – essentially pushing out a message to your intended audience through methods such as advertising, social media promotion, direct mail, events, cold calling, and email campaigns. Sometimes known as ‘interrupt marketing’ because you are interrupting an audience in the hope that they will be interested in buying from you.

2. Inbound marketing – essentially pulling potential buyers to your business or your website through content that is useful or interesting to them and which builds a relationship between the buyer and the seller. Sometimes known as ‘magnetic marketing’ because when done right, it attracts customers to your business.

Read our article about Inbound vs Outbound Marketing to learn more.

At Absolutely Write we focus on inbound marketing and ensuring business owners know how to powerfully resonate with their prospects and stand out against their competition without having to spend any money on outbound marketing or search engine optimisation (SEO).

We do this because we believe – based on evidence and experience – that this is far more effective than any other approach to marketing.

This makes us unpopular with many marketing agencies who typically focus exclusively on outbound activities. But we don’t mind this and see ourselves as resisting what’s popular and common in favour of an approach that is far less used and known about but delivers genuinely sustainable and meaningful results.

And to paraphrase a line from a famous film, if you’re reading this, maybe you’re part of the resistance too.

Different Definitions of Marketing

The American Marketing Association – “Marketing 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.”

Dictionary.com – “The total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.”

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – “the management process for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

Encyclopaedia Britannica – “the sum of activities involved in directing the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers.”