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What is Marketing?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 11 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Marketing Advertising Promoting Internet

It has become something of a joke for people to refer to themselves as “working in marketing”. Marketing is seen as one of the jobs in which employees spend their time brainstorming in eccentrically designed Soho offices. However, marketing is hugely misunderstood, and of vital importance to businesses of any size.


Marketing is frequently confused with advertising. While the two are connected, they should be treated as separate practices with certain overlaps. Advertising is, at its core, about generating sales. Indeed, marketing is also often confused with sales, when in fact they have very little in common. Sales practice is concerned with closing deals and increasing turnover, for example through the use of special pricing or promotions. If, for example, your photography business was offering a two-for-one portrait offer, this would come under the remit of sales. The purpose of marketing, on the other hand, runs far deeper than this.

Marketing begins before advertising. At the outset, the purpose of marketing is to identify potential markets for your business. An effective marketing campaign will identify areas in which their will be consumer demand for the services offered by your business. It will then examine ways in which your business can be positioned to take advantage of this demand. This is where advertising comes in; advertising campaigns should deal with promoting not just the services you provide but also the salient characteristics of your business that make you better qualified than your competitors to fulfil the consumer demand. Much of this work relies on an effective transmission of your brand message and encouragement of corporate recognition. As can be seen, once a market and demand has been identified, marketing, advertising and corporate identity all become intertwined – or, at least, they should if you have an effective marketing strategy implemented.

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a significant growth industry. So-called ‘marketeers’ quickly realised the potential of the Internet for their business, and now use it to identify coming consumer trends and changes in patterns of consumption. Consider, for example, the shift in consumption of music; as the physical album format wanes, Internet marketing practitioners are examining data garnered from all manner of web-based media to identify new ways in which music can be marketed and distributed. The same techniques can be used to great effect for a photography business. The photographic industry is already saturated, and if you are therefore going to gain a foothold and expand, you must identify niche markets and unique strategies that will help you reach consumers in new and engaging ways. This is a classic marketing role.

Marketing is an art, rather, than a science, but it is also very difficult to do properly. If you have the capital available, an investment in marketing would almost certainly be a good one. There are numerous marketing agencies from which to choose, some of which will offer discounted rates on the understanding that they will be used for repeat business. At the very least, a consultation with one of these firms will help you to identify strategies that you can implement yourself – strategies which, if they are well thought out, should ensure that your business gains the edge that it deserves.

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