What Is Marketing? - Guest Post by Janelle Aslam, Centric Consumer Consulting
From time to time, we’ll include a guest post from among our friends and collaborators. This post is from Janelle Aslam of Centric Consumer Consulting, our go-to expert on market research. -SM
After interacting with students, businesses, and seasoned professionals over the last twenty years, it’s apparent that there are mixed definitions of marketing. It’s no wonder in today’s rapidly changing media landscape and the promises of one hit wonders. Some view marketing as an advertising campaign, others social media, and a few define it as product development.
But what’s the right view? All of these are correct, but none of them provide the entire picture. While each of these may help you grow sales (because at the end of the day, businesses conduct marketing in order to improve their sales), each by themselves will not return as large of a long term profit as what a holistic marketing approach could provide.
When I started my undergrad, I thought marketing was advertising. I entered Miami University with the intent to study business. I knew I loved math and designing homes, and thus started to study accounting and architecture. My mentors from Procter & Gamble pointed out that both skill sets of analysis and creativity were better matches with a major of marketing.
What I learned is that marketing starts way before the commercials I loved on TV. Marketing is creating, communicating and delivering value to consumers. It’s solving consumer needs profitably. It’s managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. Notice that all of these definitions of marketing mention consumers and customers. Yet, none reference the 4 P’s: product, price, promotion, and/or place (these are essential subsets of marketing that can only occur AFTER you understand your consumer).
As a marketer, your job is move your target consumer from being a stranger, to a friend, to a lifelong partnership. Effective marketers love their consumers and the work they create. But falling in love doesn’t happen instantaneously, it happens over time. It takes courtship and several exchanges to verify that you trust and like to be around each other. Marketing is not a short term, quick-fix, it requires a solid strategy that takes roots early and lasts a lifetime.
Thanks to the Internet, the power has shifted away from marketers to consumers. Modern marketing is a welcome change from the selfish, all about me marketing, to building trust and listening to consumers. By truly listening to your consumer’s frustrations and investing in serving that, marketers can be change agents that provide significant benefit to our culture and environment.