Who Did You Think I Was

As I’m getting my business off the ground, one of the questions I’ve been getting from non-business people is, “What exactly is marketing?” (or, “What is it you’re doing again?”).  It’s a funny question to think about when I’ve been doing it for so long, but it does help you stop and give pause about what marketing really is.

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), 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.  If you fell asleep halfway through that I get it.  This definition is great for academics but doesn’t help most folks understand.  Marketing is not an easy thing to define in just a few sentences given how broad the field is and its vast impact on business, culture and society…but let’s give it a shot.

Marketing to me is (1) what you want to say to (2) the people you want to say it to and (3) how you want to say it.  “What you want to say” is the product, service, cause or message you want to get into the marketplace.  The “people you want to say it to” are your potential customers or audience that you are looking to influence.  Finally “how you want to say it” has two forms - the context and tone of the message you are delivering and the way you deliver it.  The way you deliver it can be through advertising, direct mail, social media, a sales force, or even someone yelling from a street corner (not a preferred method).

I’ll be using this with my non-business folks over the next few weeks and we’ll see if I get a passing grade!