Have you ever tried to describe what marketing is and then struggled to give a concrete answer?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Marketing covers a vast range of activities and disciplines, making it a challenge to define.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:
“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.”
Which, to be honest, we find a little fluffy.
HubSpot defines marketing as:
“Any actions a company takes to attract an audience to the company’s product or services through high-quality messaging. Marketing aims to deliver standalone value for prospects and consumers through content, with the long-term goal of demonstrating product value, strengthening brand loyalty, and ultimately increasing sales.”
This definition is better, but we feel it misses some key points.
We believe marketing is much more. It is all-encompassing, from how you brand your product to the tone of voice of your copy, your social media content and more; it’s a vast subject. It is not just about the act of selling something but about why you’re selling it. It’s about human psychology, knowing why people buy and what motivates them to spend money with you.
In this article, we want to set out in more detail what marketing is and talk about the principles and theories that define it.
Let’s start with the purpose of marketing.
What’s the Main Purpose of Marketing?
Much like the definition of what marketing is, defining the purpose of marketing can be a challenge. But ultimately, marketing is about growth. The only sure way to build a successful company is through marketing. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy in place and plan how that strategy will be implemented.
Much has been written about marketing over the years, with several theories and concepts put forward to try and give some structure to the discipline. Below, we’ll address some of these ideas to show how modern marketers approach building a marketing strategy.
Theories of Marketing: What Are the Four Ps of Marketing?
The roots of modern marketing can be traced back to 1964 when Neil Borden, from Harvard Business School, wrote about the 12-component marketing mix. Neil attempted to define the main tasks undertaken by those working in a marketing capacity. At the time, marketing was still in its infancy, and most marketing theories concerned manufacturing physical products. Over time, the 12-component mix was refined and eventually, the four Ps of marketing emerged:
We often use the phrase “products and services” when discussing what a company sells. In marketing, when we speak about a product, we use it as a term to cover all items, tangible and intangible. A good marketer will know about every aspect of their product. They will have spent time studying the market, speaking with customers to understand their challenges, and then they will have had a hand in developing a product that serves that customer group. Once a product is created, your job as a marketer is to introduce it to your customers in a way that appeals to them. You’ll know how to promote that product and what benefits and features to concentrate on to attract interest from qualified leads ready to buy.
Once you have a product that you know appeals to your chosen market, you have to decide on a price that depends on how much the market is willing to pay. This is not a straightforward calculation; as a marketer, you’ll need to know your customer group, what they value most, and how much they earn if you should offer a discount (and how much). Every aspect of pricing can affect whether a product is successful or not.
How will your product be sold? Online or in bricks-and-mortar stores? Does it need to be displayed in a particular way or shelved in a specific section of the store?
Where will the product be advertised? Magazines? Online only or a mix of both?
This P is about how your product is placed (literally and figuratively) in the market and how that then affects how the product is viewed by potential customers.
The final piece in the puzzle, this P, concentrates on how you will promote your product. Marketing covers such a wide range of activities that the avenues for promotion are almost endless. From print advertising to online ads, special offers, discounts and sales, what you choose to do is dependent on your product and your customer group. Which social media platform will you use? Will you blog? Will you use email marketing? These activities fall under promotion and form part of any marketing strategy.
The Four Ps of marketing should be considered when planning a new product, evaluating an existing product or trying to optimize sales. It’s a simple framework that can help you plan your marketing strategy.
More Theories of Marketing: What Are Marketing Concepts?
Marketing concepts is a collective term describing several approaches or concepts to marketing that can be taken to promote or develop a product or service. They are underpinning philosophies on marketing that inform how one might approach promoting a business, product or service.
Five concepts underpin marketing:
- The Production Concept – The concept of mass marketing; this concept assumes that a customer wants products that are easily obtainable and cheap.
- The Product Concept states that a customer focuses primarily on a product’s quality, features and benefits.
- The Selling Concept – This is the concept of “hard sell.” It assumes your customer won’t buy from you unless you push them into it.
- The Marketing Concept focuses on what your customer needs and asks what their biggest problem is. Figure that out, then develop a product to solve their issue.
- The Societal Marketing Concept – Building on the previous concept, this concept says you should focus on your customers’ needs and make sure your solution is ethical and does not harm.
These concepts together form the basis of modern marketing, and it’s worth considering and understanding all of them, even if your main focus is on just one of the concepts.
What Are the Main Types of Marketing?
So, we talked about the theories of marketing, but what about the actual practical day-to-day practice? What does marketing for a business look like daily? This is a significant topic and too much to cover here, but for now, we’ll touch on a summary.
Marketing activities can be split into two areas under which all other activities fall. These are:
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is the process of building and deepening your relationship with your existing customers. This can include:
- SEO – Search engine optimization or the process of optimizing your website to rank as highly as possible in google search
- Content marketing – Any content you produce, whether it’s on your social media or your website, counts as marketing.
- Social media – Tied with content marketing, word of mouth is a powerful way to market your product.
Outbound marketing is the process of finding new customers. It can take several forms, including print and TV advertising, flyers, billboards, face-to-face meetings, sales calls and sponsorship deals.
Four Ways to Boost Your Business With Marketing
If you’re just starting out promoting your business or product, there are some things that you should be doing from the start of your journey to marketing what matters for your business.
Understand Your Customers and Your Products – Social Media
Before you even start thinking about marketing, you need to know who your ideal customer is and what problems your product solves for them. You can do this in a number of ways, but the simplest is through your social media platforms. Build relationships with your customers, ask them questions, run competitions, answer their concerns and respond to their queries and comments. Social media is not fast, but consistency will eventually pay off by helping you to build a loyal and long-term customer base.
Build an Email List and Write a Newsletter
Building an email list does not have to be complicated. Several email marketing services offer free accounts for those just starting out. Email marketing is well worth exploring, it’s relatively cheap, and the evidence shows a good email marketing campaign is worth its weight in gold. You’ll often hear marketers talk about there being gold in the list (email list). The secret to a successful long-term business is cultivating a long-lasting, respectful relationship with your existing customers. Email is a reliable way to do this.
SEO and Local SEO
Another long-term strategy that will pay dividends if you invest in it early. Make sure your website is optimized for keywords you want to rank for and make sure your Google My Business is completed. This is particularly important if your primary business driver is customers who are geographically close to you. SEO is crucial if you want a long-term strategy that will become self-sustaining down the line.
Start a Blog
Content is king when it comes to promoting your business and products. Good content helps position you as an authority in your niche, establish you as the go-to person or company to speak to in your chosen field and helps build trust.
Build a Marketing Strategy and Watch Your Business Grow
This has been a very quick overview of marketing; however, there is much more to cover. If you’re looking to put together a marketing strategy or need advice on planning your marketing, let Rock Content help you.
Our Marketing Planning Bundle 2023 gives you access to 3 clusters of marketing and sales resources to help you with:
- Result Analysis and Goal Settings
- Creating an Action Plan
- Execution and Improvements
When you work with the professionals at Rock Content, not only are you getting great content development advice, you’re also partnering with some of the best marketers in the business.