What is Marketing?

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  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2018
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Marketing refers to promotion and can also involve pricing, product placement and distribution when relevant. Promotion can be limited to a specific target group, or it can be aimed at the general public. Although marketing is often interchangeably used with the word advertising, it can be more specifically described as the game plan by which the advertising will be carried out, as in a marketing strategy.

Marketing strategies differ depending on the product, target market and budget. Many strategies for individuals, teams, charities, clubs and even small businesses can revolve around free and low-cost advertising. An example of free advertising might be to include a hyperlinked signature line to your website in all of your online posts. An online mailing list — ideally an opt-in list to avoid spamming — can also be a form of free advertising. Press releases are yet another. Low-cost strategies include items like customized mouse pads, pens, stickers and tee shirts. Flyers and local newspaper ads can also be part of a low-cost marketing strategy.

On a larger scale, getting an unknown brand name, product or service into a viable moneymaking position requires robust marketing. Online advertisements placed on key high-traffic websites might be one option, while advertising in national newspapers and magazines might be another. One of the most expensive strategies includes well-placed billboard ads and television commercials.


Marketing is unlimited by creativity and can go beyond conventional means. If the business relies on local beach traffic, for example, a small plane can pull a banner along a busy beach on a hot summer day. If the desired target market fills the busy inner city, an advertisement on a bus line might be a cost-effective means of marketing. Radio is another tool that has wide coverage.

Regardless of product, the marketing objective is to reach the intended audience with a message and delivery system that reflects the product itself — or at least does not detract from it. For example, an upscale Beverly Hills jeweler would waste advertising dollars placing billboards on a bus line. Hiring a graphic designer to put together a full-page ad for a magazine like Vanity Fair is a more likely strategy. Conversely, a major studio marketing a new movie starring former wrestler The Rock will not likely divert money into a costly magazine ad that caters to a market outside the movie's main target audience. Inner city buses, billboards, television trailers and online advertisements will be a more likely choice.

Aside from acquisition, or expanding the customer base or brand awareness, marketing is also concerned with base management. This refers to "in-house" marketing that keeps current clientele coming back. Sales, discounts for customer loyalty based on punch cards, and other strategies can all be part of a good marketing plan.

Marketing is an investment that, if done wisely, not only pays for itself but allows a business to grow. When it gets the message to the right audience, delivered in the right context, at the right price, you can't go wrong. Hiring an experienced consultant can help the new business owner to develop effective strategies. Various books are also available on strategies and can shed more light on the options available.


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Discuss this Article

Post 10

@healthy4life – Knowing the right spot to place your ads is crucial to the effect they will have. As a consumer, the places I notice ads the most are on bathroom stall doors and on bulletin boards next to any place where I will have to wait or stand in line.

When you are in a bathroom, there's really nowhere for you to look but right in front of you, and when ads are on the door, they capture your attention. When you are sitting at a table in a restaurant waiting on your food, you will likely notice whatever is on the wall next to you.

Post 9

My sister enlisted the help of a marketing agency when her business started to go south. The experts at the agency told her that she needed to revamp her logo and her slogan, as well as her promotional materials.

The designers at the agency came up with several new logos for her to choose from, and she said that they were all so good that she had trouble picking just one. She also said it was really nice to put her business in the hands of such capable people. She felt that she had done the right thing as soon as she saw the new designs.

The ad staff even told her where she needed to advertise and what promotional products were likely to get her the most business. Even though she spent a good amount of money on their services, she recouped it as her business grew.

Post 8

Online marketing has become so important for businesses, especially new ones. If someone tries to start a business without having a website or doing some online advertising, then they are much more likely to fail.

I have run online ads for my art business before, and they were very reasonably priced. I suppose it all depends on where you advertise, but it seems that online ads are much cheaper than even newspaper ads. They have the potential to reach a larger audience, too.

Post 7

Marketing jobs pay pretty well. I have a couple of friends who work in this industry, and they both recently were able to buy new cars.

I work in graphic design, which doesn't pay nearly as much, but it is a vital part of marketing. The sales representatives handle the interaction with the customers, but I am the one who has to actually put their ads together.

In marketing, both sales representatives and graphic designers are essential. One could not operate fully without the other.

Post 4

One of the best sites in the world. I like this site so much. Thank you for creating this site.

Post 3

viral marketing is so called cause its like word of mouth. just as germs gets people infected from one person to another the product gets noticed or listened to via viral marketing in which certain people are given task to spread the good points of the given product...i know only this much as i am not in marketing business as i heard about it somewhere else. someone should research and write an article about it here...Junaid

Post 2

i like this site so much.

Post 1

Spam can be considered a form of marketing, can't it? It seems intended to capitalize on an existing positive status of a product, and certainly spam ads rarely if ever convey new information about a product, but it does bring in some revenue to the maker of a product, however indirectly.

I have heard of another type of marketing called "viral marketing" that might be good to mention here. Viral marketers rely on social networks to spread awareness of their products.

Moderator's reply: Great points, teddyknitter! Can someone offer examples of "viral marketing"?

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