What the Heck is MARKETING?

Perception differs from people to people, some think marketing is advertising or branding or some other vague concept. While all these are associated with marketing, they are not one and the same.

Here’s the simplest, most jargon-free, definition of marketing you’re ever likely to come across: 

If the circus is coming to town and you paint or print a sign board saying “Circus Coming to Kuala Lumpur this Saturday,” that’s ADVERTISING. 

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s PROMOTIOM. 

If the elephant walks through the Agong’s Palace flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s PUBLICITY. 

And if you get the Agong to laugh about it, that’s PUBLIC RELATIONS. 

If the town’s citizens go to the circus and you show them the different entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s SALES.

And if you planned the whole thing, that’s MARKETING.

It’s as simple as that, marketing is the STRATEGY you use for getting your ideal target market to know you, like and trust you enough to become a customer. All the stuff you usually associate with marketing are TACTICS.

However, you need to understand a fundamental shift has occurred in the last decade and things will never be the same.

Once upon a time you placed an ad in the Yellow Pages, paid them a truck load of money and your marketing for the year was done. Now you have Google, social media, blogs, websites and myriad of other things to think about.

The Internet has literally opened up a world of competitors. Whereas previously your competitors may have been across the road, now they can be on the other side of the globe.

As a result of this many who are trying to market their business become paralyzed by the “bright shiny object syndrome.” This is where they get caught up in whatever the currently “hot” marketing tactics are like SEO, video, podcasting, pay-per-click advertising, etc.

They get caught up with tools and tactics and never figure out the big picture of what they’re trying to actually do and why.

Understanding the difference between STRATEGY and TACTICS is absolutely key to marketing success.


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