What is marketing

Marketing and what to do about it

What’s there to do about it?

Well, that’s my favourite topic, but the question of “what is it?” is actually a lot more fuzzy and nuanced than many realize.

You see, there’s the Big Picture style of Marketing where Marketing is like a whole strategy framework for all aspects of a business, from where it locates (to have access to networks, employees, skills, or whatever) to what it does (designing the product to fit an existing market demand or gap, rather than attempting to create a market from whatever they happened to design).

But there’s also Lesser Marketing (often labelled Sales and Marketing) where of the classic 4 Ps of marketing, it is almost entirely focused on just promotions - including brand campaigns, of course.

And beneath and lesser than both of those is what the majority of people misunderstand Marketing to mean - just another word for advertising.

I have said many times over the years that Marketing is literally the absolute most misunderstood word in the English language. So commonly used that everyone thinks they have a handle on what it means, yet in reality, very, very few really do.

I’ve only learnt Marketing in my Marketing Master, but before that I also associated just “Advertising” with, like every layman.

It’s sad that “Product” is so often left out, when it’s really the CORE of all Marketing, and some “talking head” earns 7-figures to spend 9-figure but the Head of Product is some small Junior Dev.

100%, Christoph.

Very, very few businesses really think about Place apart from what’s convenient. Very, very few companies really think about all of the aspects of Place, such as what laws will govern, what supply of specific skills will be either available there, or easier to draw to that location than another. Instead, most businesses give place no further thought than the cost of rent, or a high-street location. But at least that’s some level of thought to Place.

I think less thought of any level is given to Product, in letting the product itself be designed by what people actually want to get from it (rather than the features they may think would give it). My go-to example is always the iPod.

The Apple iPod revolutionized the way we think about music collections. There were literally thousands of models of MP3 players before the iPod came along, but they all based their entire product and concept design on the CD player, which had gotten its own design from the Cassette Player… They all let you put a very few songs onto your device so you could carry your music with you, but you had to predict what you’d want to listen to, and your playlist was only at most 2 hours long.

Only the Apple iPod came at the the design of the product from a completely fresh sheet, looking at what people actually wanted, and the capabilities of the MP3 itself as a unit, freed from the stock sizes of a physical medium (Vinyl, Tape, CD). They let you put your entire music collection on the device so you didn’t have to predict in the morning what you might want to listen to on your way home in an unknown and unknowable mood. Truly the most brilliant TRUE piece of Marketing I can point you to. They understood the market in a way the market itself had never articulated, and designed THAT product.

The iPhone? Pish. The iPod’s massive success is what drove people to even try the iPhone, hoping it would be as good, and have some of the iPod features with the addition of phone and camera.

And that I can always turn to that one great example is itself telling you how rare a good example of Product in Marketing really is. Far too much product design is based on assumptions and sunk costs of minor incremental improvements, rather than that step back, clean sheet that really counts.

Price is almost as completely ignored. Oh, businesses think they include Price in their marketing mix, but outside of the Auto industry or Electronics, almost nobody ever does. Instead they think about Price-Mark-up, the profit margin they add on as an afterthought.

But Price is meant to be the essential counter-balance to Product, how you weight the cost of adding a feature versus the extra cost the Price will have to cover. So, so many people think that price is something you consider after the Product is designed, instead of realizing the two are inextricably linked.