What is Marketing, and What's Its Purpose?

Dictionary.com defines marketing as, the act of buying or selling in a market or the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the various strategies a company uses to draw an audience towards its products or services, primarily through effective and compelling messaging. It strives to provide immediate value to potential customers and existing consumers through valuable content, with the overarching objective of showcasing product worth, enhancing brand allegiance, and ultimately boosting sales.

Types of Marketing

The choice of where to deploy your marketing strategies is heavily influenced by your audience’s online preferences. It’s your responsibility to conduct market research to determine which types of marketing, along with the specific tools within each category, are most effective for building your brand.

Here are several types of marketing that remain relevant today, with some having endured the test of time:

  1. Internet Marketing: Inspired by an online Excedrin product campaign, having a digital presence for business purposes is a form of marketing in itself.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This involves optimizing website content to improve search engine rankings, making it easier for interested individuals to find relevant industry information.
  3. Blog Marketing: Blogs are no longer exclusive to individual writers. Brands use them to share industry insights and engage potential customers searching for information online.
  4. Social Media Marketing: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are utilized by businesses to create lasting impressions on their audiences.
  5. Print Marketing: As print media gains a better understanding of its subscribers, businesses continue to sponsor articles, photography, and content in publications their target audience reads.
  6. Search Engine Marketing: Different from SEO, this approach allows businesses to pay search engines to display links to their target audience on high-visibility pages.
  7. Video Marketing: Beyond traditional commercials, marketers now invest in various videos to entertain and educate their core customers.


Marketing vs. Advertising If marketing is a wheel, advertising is just one of its spokes.

Marketing encompasses product development, market research, distribution, sales strategies, public relations, and customer support. It spans all phases of a business’s sales journey, leveraging multiple platforms, social media channels, and teams within an organization to identify, communicate with, amplify, and foster brand loyalty in the audience over time.

On the other hand, advertising constitutes only one facet of marketing. It’s a strategic effort, typically involving payment, to increase awareness of a product or service, aligned with broader marketing objectives mentioned above. It’s not the sole method used by marketers to promote a product.


Here’s an example:

Suppose a company is launching a new product and aims to create a campaign promoting it to its customer base. It chooses to utilize Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website for this purpose. These platforms are employed to support various quarterly campaigns aimed at generating leads.

To unveil the new product, the company publishes a downloadable product guide on its website, shares a video on Instagram showcasing the product, and invests in sponsored Google search results directing traffic to a dedicated product page on its website.


So, which activities constitute marketing, and which are advertising?


Advertising occurred on Instagram and Google. While Instagram typically isn’t an advertising channel, it can be used for branding purposes to build a follower base receptive to occasional product announcements. Google was clearly used for advertising; the company paid for advertising space on Google, a form of pay-per-click (PPC), to drive traffic to a specific product page.

Where did marketing come into play? Interestingly, marketing encompasses the entire process. By aligning Instagram, Google, and its website around a customer-centric initiative, the company executed a three-part marketing campaign: identifying its audience, crafting a targeted message, and delivering it across the industry to maximize its impact.


The 4 Ps of Marketing


In the 1960s, E Jerome McCarthy formulated the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, promotion. These four elements explain how marketing interacts with each phase of a business’s operations.



Imagine you’ve conceived a product idea that you want your business to offer. What’s the next step? Simply selling it right away won’t guarantee success.


Instead, it’s essential to involve your marketing team in thorough market research and have them address crucial questions: Who constitutes your target audience? Is there a market demand for this product? What messaging can boost product sales, and on which platforms should it be emphasized?


How should your product developers modify the product to enhance its chances of success? What feedback have focus groups provided regarding the product, and what concerns or reservations have been raised?


Marketers employ the responses to these inquiries to assist businesses in comprehending the product’s demand and improving its quality by addressing concerns raised by focus group members or survey participants.



Your marketing team will examine competitors’ product pricing or employ focus groups and surveys to estimate the price point at which your ideal customers would be willing to make a purchase. Set the price too high, and you risk losing a substantial customer base. Set it too low, and you might incur more losses than gains.

Fortunately, marketers can rely on industry research and consumer analysis to determine an appropriate price range.



It’s crucial for your marketing department to leverage their understanding and analysis of your business’s consumer base to offer recommendations on how and where to distribute your product. They may suggest that an e-commerce platform is more effective than a physical retail location, or vice versa. Alternatively, they might provide insights into the most promising geographical areas for selling your product, whether on a national or international scale.



This “P” is likely the one you anticipated from the outset. Promotion encompasses all online or print advertising, events, or discounts created by your marketing team to enhance awareness and interest in your product, ultimately driving increased sales. During this phase, you’ll encounter strategies like public relations campaigns, advertisements, or social media promotions.