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Monday, March 31, 2008

What 'Marketing' Really Means

This blog is called The M Word, so I'm going to jump right in by defining what that M Word really means.

Some of you might be surprised to learn that you haven't been using it correctly. Even some people who write and speak about marketing don't seem to understand the difference between a number of similar words. So leave it to a professional editor to bring the differences to light!

Here's the official (per the marketing business) definition of marketing, along with other related words so you can understand the differences:

  • Marketing is taking steps to move goods from producers to consumers. It's determining what people want, delivering it, and then periodically updating that whole process.
  • Public Relations is a planned, long-term communication program (via various media) that has a goal of convincing the public to have good will toward something. It's helping people to think well of an organization, product, or concept.
  • Publicity is sending a message via official channels such as news releases, newsletters, press conferences, etc.
  • Promotion is furthering the growth or development of something. It's not just aiming toward good will; it's encouraging people to use it by telling people how it would benefit them.
  • Advertising is calling attention to something through paid announcements.
  • Branding is establishing a strong link between a company and its logo/typeface/picture or name/phrase. Its aim is to make people immediately associate the company with the graphics or words it uses. Branding helps build loyalty.
  • Advocacy is getting people who have good opinions of your organization to speak to others on its behalf; to convince other people of its value.

So basically, all the other words/actions fall under "marketing." In true marketing, you start by asking targeted groups of users (or potential users)exactly what they do and do not want from you. From there, you design & deliver the product or service, publicize it, then follow up with people in your target market to see if you've got it right. Then you need to study their responses and evaluate your service, change it accordingly, and re-release. Rinse. Repeat.

True marketing works because you're not guessing what services people want; you're asking them directly. So you know that people will want and use what you offer. What a concept!!


Nancy Dowd said...

Love these Kath!

Charlie Rapple said...

The Chartered Institute of Marketing is continuing to revise its definition of "marketing" with input from its members and other web users - via Wikipedia! See

They currently define marketing as:
"The strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand."