What Is Marketing

what is marketing

Written by Neeraj

Hi! I'm Neeraj, a writer, part-time entrepreneur and a marketing professional.

Last updated Jun 1, 2020

What is marketing?

Seems like a pretty simple question, isn’t it?

A simple Google search and you will get the definition of marketing as “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”.

As a marketer, it looks pretty localized and specific to me. Marketing is more than just the idea of ‘promoting‘ and ‘selling‘ a product. In recent times, the act of marketing itself has expanded widely to include anything that helps in delivering information about a product or a service to its interested customers.

‘What is marketing?’ is a pretty encompassing question that it cannot be explained in a single article. However, let me break it down and give you the basics of what marketing is and how you can incorporate it in your day to day business.

What Is Marketing?

Do you remember the last time when you suddenly become aware of a product that you hadn’t ever heard of, before or have bought a product that you never thought you will buy. Well, that’s what marketing is.

Marketing essentially is an action or a group of activities that enable a business to reach its customers or prospects through strategized online or non-digital media backed by customer research, market research and business-specific goals and objectives.

Marketing is like holding a lighted torch in front of a business to bring it to notice. Any time a business takes action to connect with customers – be it the addition of a small chalkboard in front of a cake shop with witty one-liners or elaborate social media advertising campaigns for big corporations – it is considered as marketing.

Why Your Business Needs Marketing?

No matter how smart a business idea is or how useful it is going to be for the customers, you cannot get the traction as expected if you ignore marketing. An excellent example of this is the Pet Rock, which is nothing but a rock kept in a box with holes for the rocks to ‘breathe’.

Due to the smart marketing of the entrepreneur and marketing executive, Gary Dahl , Pet Rock became an instant rage and brought in an astonishing $15 million!

What more do you need to convince yourself that your business cannot function without marketing! So, whenever you start doubting the effectiveness of the marketing, just think of the Pet Rock campaign and you will get the confidence that anything is possible with marketing.

“Everything what you see, observe, feel, touch or get influenced to know more about – is Marketing. It drives this world and it changes every day, especially the digital part of it”

What Are the Common Types of Marketing?

Now that your answer to ‘what is marketing?’ is cleared let’s dig a little deeper. As a business owner, there are numerous options to market your business. First, let’s just look at the two main types of marketing methodologies in the broader sense.

1. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is aimed to pull the target customers towards the business through attractive content ideas. While many think that inbound marketing is same as digital marketing, it isn’t so. It is a big subset of marketing that encompasses any efforts that put the business in front of those people who can be interested in the product or service. Inbound marketing includes marketing your product through content pieces like blogs, articles, images, videos, social media content and emails either directly from the business or by getting the aid of influencers.

2. Outbound Marketing

While inbound marketing reaches out to the interested people, outbound pushes the business in front of the people, irrespective of whether they are the relevant customers or not. Outbound marketing consists of billboards, ads in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and any other print medium, pop-up banners and other similar physical form of advertising.

Unlike inbound marketing where you can have a track on your campaigns and look at the conversions, there is no way to accurately know how well the reach is from a particular outbound marketing activity.. Also, inbound marketing is 62% less expensive than outbound marketing, which is a crucial factorto be considered for new businesses.

With these two marketing methodologies in mind, let’s look at the numerous types of marketing. Based on your budget, workforce and skillset, you start by choosing a few of these marketing techniques.

The List of 20 Marketing types for Your Business

1. Digital Marketing

Having an online presence for the business should be your top priority.. Every business should have a functional and user-friendly website focused on conversions. Digital marketing involves reaching out to your target customers through digital channels such as website, search, social media, email marketing and so on.

Digital marketing is the most measurable form of marketing and it is also a generic word being used to depict anything and everything which is marketing related and over the internet. It continues to evolve everyday with rise In tech, advertsing and global marketing regulations.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and publishing several forms of content and distributing them online. It can be blogs, articles, visual content, eBooks and any other form of content designed to attract and convert a specific group of people.

One of the most popular content marketing campaigns was Coke’s ‘Share A Coke’ that allowed people to put their names on the side of Coke’s bottles. People went crazy and it became a hit all over the world! The hastag #shareacoke also resonated well with the target consumers.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook Twitter and Instagram provide a great opportunity for businesses to directly connect with their customers to promote products, collect feedback build credibility and provide good customer experience. Social media marketing is perfect for companies that don’t have a big marketing budget. With just a little investment, youcan fetch in good conversions and increase business exposure. A lot of leading brands today use extensive social media listening to get primary data about consumer experiences and utilize the same for new product features and upgrades.

For example, Airbnb’s social media marketing of their properties are designed to attract the interest of travelers from all over the world.

4. Search Engine Marketing

Do you see those ads that pop up on top, below and sides of Google search results, quite often in yellow or grey or even white backgrounds?

Well, those are due to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and are called “Google ads” Using Google Ads. You can start bidding for the keywords you wish to rank for and avoid being worried for SEO or organic ranks.

With Google Ads, you decide the keywords you want to rank for, with SEO or organic search, google decides the keywords and ranks for the web pages globally.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Promoting your product, service or solution to a network of affiliates or partners in exchange for a commission as return is often called as “Affiliate marketing” The working model is like a typical sales commissions where if someones sell your product, you give them a commission in return. It’s the same process been implemented online through afffiiate links.

It is also a great must have marketing type if you sell products online, Consider joining ShareASale or Commission Junction for participating as a merchant even if you have a new business. It has immense potential including backlinks, extensive search on google and uplift in your organic ranks.


6. Email Marketing

Emails are still one of the best ways to directly send across information about your business. If you have built an email list of your customers, which you should from day one, you can use it to promote your new products, introduce offers and discounts, and keep your business in the minds of the customers and leads. Consider using email marketing tools like Aweber or Convertkit for the same.

A typical marketing emailer will consist of a click worthy subject line, an intriguing opening line on the body of the email with short and crisp content with varying design elements. A marketing emailer can be sent to:

• the leads to convert them as customers,
• the old customers about shopping again,
• retargeting and nurturing cold leads,
• leads and customers about new announcements,
• leads and customers about offers, discounts and sale periods,
• customers about special coupons and referrals, and so on.

“The key to success, however, is adding value to your customers and making them as successful as possible with every email you send. Remember, It is always the quality of your emails that matters the most”.

7. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing basically involves the previous or active customers recommending and talking about your product. It cannot be controlled at your end. However, you can influence it by providing top-notch quality products and services. Oneplus for instance is a small company with great benchmark flagship mobile devices which gains a lot from word of mouth marketing.

8. Acquisition Marketing

Acquisition marketing is a widespread technique that involves landing clients through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), paid ads, copywriting, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and all marketing channels as such. It is essentially a bunch of several other marketing types put together to increase the conversion and lead generation rate from your marketing channels.

The simplest report for the same is available under “Acquisition” reports in Google analytics for instance.

9. Influencer Marketing

While most strategies involve directly marketing to your targetaudience, the influencer marketing technique leverages the top influencers in the particular domain to market the product in exchange for monetary advantage. Marques Brownlee or popularly known as MKBHD on YouTube, is a well known tech influencer which every leading mobile phone brand wants to partner with today, for instance.

Motorola aced influencer marketing for the release of a new range of Moto Z and Moto Mods by using the YouTube influencers. This move brought them over 11.6 million views of YouTube that led to 122,000 clicks on motormods.com.

10. Event Marketing

Event marketing involves organizing an event to promote or introduce a brand’s product or service with a host, exhibitor and a participant. Some events may have sponsors whereas several businesses of the similar industry will be the participants. It can be a networking event, conference, award ceremony, fundraising event, product launch, sales dinner, recruitment event, virtual event, executive retreats and so on. It is also a very traditional form of marketing which is also transforming itself into virtual events today. SEMrush for instance hosted a global marketing day which is a very big event with lot of participation across the world but totally online.


11. Experiential Marketing

In the times when digital marketing is all we talk about; experiential marketing is a welcome change. In this type of marketing, you talk to your prospects in-person, interact with them, create an emotional connection that lasts longer and use the relationship for the long-term benefits. This marketing type is relevant for B2B businesses.

Some B2C businesses can also benefit from it if they are able to implement it. You can get celebrities to sign up for your business advertisements and invite them over to a store to meet with your customers. You can also conduct events that involve customers and give them an incentive in exchange for the participation for example.

12. Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing is a very specific form of marketing where every individual customer is given complete importance and treated as an own market sector instead of the generic marketing techniques. Businesses create marketing campaigns specifically for each of these accounts to convert them individually.

Account-based marketing is best for B2B businesses for landing huge clients and it also works best in industries like IT services where a lot of your business happen to be from existing customers itself. Organizing a customer day at their premises or having a customer in your campus are some of the examples of account-based marketing. You can also look at great ABM tools such as Demand Base for detailed insights about each of your customer accounts.

13. Field Marketing

Field marketing comes into play when you get on the field and make a sale to the customer directly. Field marketing can be in any form like talking about the best features of your products, comparing products with the competition, a real example of how the product will be of use or any other push the lead needs to convert.

14. Product Marketing

Marketing tactics and principles used to bring a product into marketing is often called as Product Marketing. It also includes deciding a product and its messaging, enabling sales teams and launching the very product itself and then measuring it for success.We generally use product marketing when we need to establish the position of a brand in the market through product advertisements, events and customer-centric marketing campaigns.

15. Video Marketing

Nowadays, people don’t have a lot of time to read through numerous paragraphs of content. Instead, some prefer to see short videos and get the essence of what the product is. In this marketing technique, we create videos and upload them on the website and other social media platforms to promote a product, create brand awareness and gather leads.

YouTube is hands-down the best channel for video marketing. Adidas made good use of it during the 2014 FIFA World Cup when it did a series of interviews with popular football players. The best part is that anyone can submit their questions to these footballers and the selected ones were answered. This campaign tripled the YouTube subscribers’ count of Adidas and generated more than 1.5 million impressions for instance.

16. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an offline marketing technique where businesses place attractive, intriguing and curious advertisements in prominent physical locations. The recent example of guerrilla marketing is the Air Pods ads by Apple in which they placed enormous images of dancers dancing in top cities all over the world like Paris, London and Tokyo.

The first image installed did not have any air pods or any other clue to what the brand or the product was, which sparked curiosity all over the world. After a few days, the next image revealed air pods in the ears of dancers and uniquely sealed the advertising campaign.

17. Partner Marketing

A lot of B2B businesses use partner marketing, where they sell their product or service to the targeted customers through partners In return, theyget a percentage of the revenue for every sale made. It also leads to better discounts to the party selling goods or services on the behalf of product maker in some cases. I have closely worked with Intel, Microsoft and SAP labs in my past experience and they do have dedicated marketing teams supporting partner marketing activities with pre-planned MDF or marketing development funds for example. The campaigns in such cases could vary from non digital to all digital channels such as website, paid search or marketing automation campaigns as such.

18. Viral Marketing

Creating a hype among the customers is what viral marketing is all about. In the competitive market, we aim to create that element of curiosity and awe among the customers that keeps them talking about the product and adding to the hype.

One fine day, many influencers woke up to find their old tweets liked by Burger King on Twitter. Many influencers started commenting about it and it became such a big deal that it was all trending that day. It also generated huge organic reach for Burger King when many influencers started tweeting about it.

I am also quite fascinate by a facebook page called “Lad BIBLE ” which has got some of the best viral content found online. Like every piece of content they publish goes viral quite often.

19. Direct Marketing

It is one of the oldest forms of marketing strategies in the form of postal mails, fliers, text messages and emails that are directly delivered to the individual. The flyers that gets distributed on the road with coupons to specific services are smart ways to market directly. Canadian businesses are still heavy in direct marketing including political parties sending out communication and letter during recent elections in Canada this year.

20. Print Marketing

Print marketing is more of advertising about the business in newspapers, magazines and other forms of print media. Nowadays, it also includes ads in social media and search engines for targeted marketing as an extension of print campaigns.

What Is Marketing Mix?

Whenever we start a new marketing campaign, we always keep the four Ps in mind, which is also known as the marketing mix. These 4 Ps of marketing covers all the essential requirements that one needs to have clarity in a campaign.

• Product – Finding out the gap the particular product fills in the market and how it can be set apart from the competition.
Price – The upper and lower limits of the price that the customer will be willing to pay for your product.
• Promotion – The messaging with information we provide to the customers to either appeal to their interests or to increase curiosity to convert them as leads later.
• Place – The location of the marketing from where the reach will be optimal and effective.


Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing have a powerful unbreakable bond. As marketers, we help the business to identify potential customers, reach out to them, make them aware of the brand and attractively present the product or service. When the marketing team has done with their job, it is up to the sales team to take up the leads and work hard with the customers to convert them. In the latest inbound marketing mandate, sales and marketing is one, collaborative and leading business in one direction altogether.

The Thin Line Between Sales and Marketing

In a company, the marketing team will bring in good leads, but none of it will be useful if the sales team cannot convert them or do not have the proper information to work on the subset of leads.

Sometimes, the marketing team has to keep working on retaining the leads until the sales team can make a move and convert them as a customer. Also, it is the job of marketing to ensure that they don’t provide cold leads that take up a lot of energy for the sales team.

Instead, they should do their part in prepping the leads before handing them over to the sales team for quick conversions. It is also termed as MQL or marketing qualified leads in B2B marketing world today.

Common Goals of Marketing

In any marketing campaign, it is vital to set up the goals and objectives very clearly. In fact, 70% of the most organized marketers achieve their goals and marketers who pro-actively plan their projects are a whopping 356% more likely to report success, according to a survey by Co-Schedule.

To start, we need to have a strong marketing goal in place that should be appropriately defined. For any marketing goal, it should have the five essential parameters defined by the acronym – SMART.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Aspirational
R – Realistic
T – Time-Bound

Over To You

Armed with the details of what marketing is and the different elements of it, it is time to show some action. If you haven’t yet started with marketing, it is high time to do so. You can pick out a few marketing ideas and put all your efforts in driving conversions with it.

Keep in mind that marketing is the only way with which you can connect to customers and, therefore, have a diverse mix of marketing efforts going on at all times.

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