What is marketing?

If you mention marketing, people instantly think of sales promotion.  For most, marketing is an advert, a flyer, a press release or a website.  These common ideas of marketing are in no way wrong; however, there is far more to marketing than many people realise.


Find out what marketing really is and how it is a far bigger part of business than people realise.

The Definition of Marketing

“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” is the Oxford Dictionary definition.

This could be seen as implying that marketing is largely advertising a product or service in an attempt to more get sales.  Many people see marketing as something that is separate from business itself, and is purely used as a way to get a business’ products and/or services more widely recognised by potential customers.

What Marketing Really is

“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

Here Drucker is highlighting that understanding the customer is the key to marketing.  As having an understanding of your customers will lead to you providing better products and/or services that are more suited to their needs.

According to Milan Kundera, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”

Kundera holds a similar view to Drucker with one key difference.  Drucker implies that the perfect product will sell itself, whereas Kundera sees having a product or service that fits the customer as important, but that this alone isn’t enough to make it sell without marketing to go along with it.


The American Marketing Association summarises marketing in the following way:

“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.”

A simpler way of putting this is to say that marketing should be considered at every step of the business process!  Every single task carried out by an employee at a business is in some way related to the marketing of that business, as their actions will have an affect on the customers perceived value of their products and/or services.  This is because whilst there are many obvious factors in promotion, such as advertising, there are also many smaller factors that play a part in promoting a business’ products or services, such as:

  • providing good customer service
  • quality products/services
  • quick delivery
  • even a friendly attitude

The main factor that all of these quotes highlight is that marketing, instead of being an add-on to business, is at the core of almost every single business.  Marketing is not just something that allows a business to be more successful through advertising its products or services, but should be at the very heart.

So What Should You do About This?

Think about the customer!  Wear the customer’s shoes, know the customer, provide the solution and manage their entire journey and interactions.

It simply means that the customer should be considered at all times and in all aspects of business, after all without customers making money would be difficult!

If you have any questions about marketing, or need help with your approach to marketing, then please contact me – [email protected]

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Nigel White
My career has given me insights into large and small businesses across many sectors. Academically, I have a MA (Strategic Marketing) and use this understanding to provide consultancy and advice to all clients I work with. Very high on my agenda: needs analysis, service, and quality.