Small_MediumWhat Is Marketing?

“Let’s face it, to the average business person, marketing equals promotion.” ~ Michael Brenner VP Marketing at SAP

I have asked countless people outside of marketing what they think marketing is and most people would agree marketing equals promotion.  To them, marketing is advertising.  They see marketing as websites.  They see marketing as social media.

People often oversimplify functions.  For instance, if we ask people outside of finance what they think finance is, they often say spreadsheets and budgets.  They say finance is saying ‘no’ to spending.  They say finance is dollars and cents.

Are either of these perceptions correct?  Not entirely.  Are either of these perceptions incorrect?  Not entirely.  So, if these perceptions are only partially correct, what is marketing?

Marketing Should Be More Than Promotion

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

Instead of asking “what is marketing” we would be better off asking “what should marketing be”.  Peter Drucker, said to be “the man who invented management,” gave a clear picture of what marketing should strive toward.  This does involve promotion.  But it also involves a great deal more.  It is segmenting customers into like groups.  It is understanding those customer segments so well that their needs can be anticipated even if the customer cannot articulate them.  It is delivering on those needs in a unique and thoughtful manner that makes it hard for competitors to emulate.  It is product development, channel strategy and strategic pricing.  It involves a broad set of skills and processes necessary for a business to be successful.

Marketing Consists Of 5 Key Processes

“Marketing’s key processes are: (1) opportunity identification, (2) new product development, (3) customer attraction, (4) customer retention and loyalty building, and (5) order fulfillment.  A company that handles all of these processes well will normally enjoy success.” ~ Dr. Phil Kotler

Dr. Phil Kotler, Professor of International Marketing at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago, is regarded as “the world’s foremost expert on the strategic practice of marketing”.  He has been teaching and writing about marketing for years.  He elaborates on Drucker’s perspective and identifies five key processes necessary in marketing.  He goes so far as to say that if a company fails at any of these processes they will not survive.

So what is marketing?  At Leland Smith Marketing LLC we believe marketing is a set of key processes that drive profitable business growth.  These processes leverage both business experience and marketing data to understand the customer so well that the products and services basically sell themselves.  This primarily involves processes to grow new products, new markets and business development.  It can also involve market research, channel management and, of course, marketing communications.

Marketing may be perceived as promotion, advertising, social media and websites.  But at Leland Smith Marketing we believe it is also a whole lot more.