What is Marketing?

One of the questions people ask in business and most people get completely wrong is "what is marketing?" as most people believe it's about promotion and not the initial research elements.

Most people think of marketing in terms of promotions of products and services. The communications are in the form of television, radio or print advertisements in newspapers or magazines.

But that part of marketing (called marketing communications) is the resulting messaging to entice customers to buy from you following the results of the real essence of marketing.

Getting to Grips With Your Customers

Marketing or markets are made up of customers that buy things. Your customers are real people who you want to buy things from your business. The real art of marketing is developing products that solve a need or a customer problem.

People have issues they need to solve each day.

Where To Find Customer Needs

Think about the search engines with the millions of queries people type in on a daily basis. These are people attempting to solve a problem or query they have and looking for information or a product to satisfy that need.

Go to all the forums online where people are discussing all sorts of issues they have personally or with their business. Then think about the products in the marketplace - why are they there? Only to solve a problem or an issue someone has.

Marketing Definition

Despite all the theories, the professors, and non-commercial business people's attempts at developing some convoluted definition, it's really quite simple. And, it should be a simple definition.

An Expanded Definition of Marketing

At the very top level, the real marketing definition is to:

Identify and satisfy customer needs, at a profit.

Breaking it Down into Context

The first element is essential to understand before investing in a new business or product development project. Many folks dream up inventions with the best intentions that no one wants at scale. They develop a product they want, or one person told them about, and only then try and sell it to others.

Many businesses fail because they're not understanding their target customers' needs.

This breakdown with the customer happens with simple straightforward businesses like cafes or juice bars. Some new business owners want to own a business like this so they go ahead and spend all their money by opening up a new cafe in their local town. But then they find that no one actually has a need for it, or there is too much competition already, so have limited customers then file for bankruptcy because of poor sales.

Get Your Market Research Right

Before you start a business or new product development, undertake as much market research as you can. Ask real people what they want. Go to a competitor's store or website and see what their existing customers are doing. What are they buying? Will they do the same in your store?

If you simply want to develop your own business just because you want to be self-employed then search out what people are looking for first. If you want an internet business, then go online and trawl the forums. So many people have questions where there isn't a solution available.

Don't be afraid to start off small or as a niche player.

Dominating a niche is an excellent way to start because you can always expand at a later date or offer similar products to your existing customer base.

When you think of marketing, don't think of all the glitz first.

  • Think about people rather than markets.
  • Think about solutions rather than products.
  • Ask yourself if your product will sell at scale.
  • Undertake market research to ensure there's enough demand.
  • Communicate benefits rather than features in your advertising material.

If you do your development work this way around you'll have a more successful business plan than if you develop a service or product first and then attempt to market it to people who may not want what you have to sell!