What is Marketing? Definition, Types, and reasons for marketing


By Admiles Sep 21, 2023


Marketing involves all initiatives targeted at business growth including user expansion and revenue generation.




The most popular forms of marketing in the 21st century include digital product advertisement or promotion,  and print marketing but this is only a fraction of marketing in entirety. 


Most businesses heavily depend on marketing success to generate positive revenue, as such, a digital marketing platform by the name "Martech" forecasts $4.7 trillion to be spent on marketing in 2025.


At Glance


● Marketing encompasses all forms of products, services or general information promotion aimed at growing a user base, revenue generation or public enlightenment. 


● Marketers are organizations or individuals who specialize in the creation and execution of marketing strategies, campaigns and initiatives. 


● Marketing is one of the core building blocks for brand exposure and business success.


● Advertising is a branch of marketing that mostly involves the placement of paid marketing material in key spaces targeted at key audiences. 


● Marketing in the 21st century is largely focused on digital promotions over traditional marketing.



Understanding Marketing In Business


Marketing in business refers to the leverage of promotional materials or spaces to inform an audience about a particular product or service in the quest to drive traffic, build active users and generate revenue.


Marketing enables emerging brands or businesses to make product or service pitches to a target audience. Whilst most marketing is targeted at generating sales and growing business consumers or customer base, some marketing initiatives are designed to simply educate the public on a particular topic.


That said, the term "marketing" generally conveys the idea of deploying actionable campaigns to make sales. This is due to the word "market" which represents a place where trade takes place. Trading generally refers to the buying and selling of goods and services. Marketing improves trading as it helps bring buyers to businesses offering the products and services they seek.


Successful marketing processes depend on a variety of strategies including the study of target markets and deployment of in-demand products and services, the strategic promotion of non-demanded goods or services into relevance and the improvement of existing offerings for increased user promotion. 


The 4 Ps In Marketing Explained


What are the 4 Ps in marketing?


The 4 Ps in marketing refer to essential marketing factors and their effects on business stages. The four Ps include product, price, place and promotion.


An idea born of Neil Borden's "marketing mix" concept, an advertising professor at Harvard In the 1950s as per Investopedia report, was later redefined as "the 4 Ps in marketing" by E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor at Michigan State University.


At its very basic, the study of the 4 Ps is aimed at the proper understanding of the business environment, with the ultimate goal of deploying successful marketing strategies. 


1. Product


A product typically refers to an item, physical or digital, that a company or business offers up to the public in exchange for money.


What makes a good product is largely based on consumers' or customers' reviews.


In marketing, the product is considered a crucial factor in need of careful study for proper building, production or execution and improvement moving forward.


A business's proper understanding of the product being developed is crucial for its success in marketing it. Some sub-factors here include the current market of the product in mention. Understanding the competitiveness of the space and the opportunity gaps(generally what the current market needs improved or added to the product) enables a new or old business to effectively build and market its product.


It is crucial to understand that in some cases, a product is effectively "a service" considering the widespread of various businesses specializing in rendering services as opposed to developing and selling products.


2. Price


Every business has to monetize, in most cases, this is via directly selling products and in other cases - charging for services.


Regardless of what is being offered, developing a smart pricing system is crucial for balancing profit and consumer or customer satisfaction. This is often referred to as the "pricing model" and it has a crucial effect on just how much sales a business can make.


In the digital product and service space, most businesses employ pricing models with "Starter advantages", typically giving new customers or users room to access their products or services for "free" with a unique system designed to cause them to pay for more - usually termed paying for premium access or features.


This pricing model has enabled various businesses to make profits as users as first able to get a glance at what they are to pay for before making their decision. The price of a product typically refers to how much anyone will be willing to pay for it.


This isn't always easy to determine, but as any good marketer will tell you - people will pay any amount, provided the product is branded to appear worth it. However, it is important to understand that sales from branding effects are joyous, but what retains customers or users is effectively the quality of your products or services.


3. Place


Ever heard "location is crucial for business success"? Well, it is nothing but the truth. 


The place of business is an important factor that will influence the results of one's marketing efforts. In some cases, this has nothing to do with the physical location of a business, considering we are moving into a digital age. When "place" is mentioned in marketing, it often means the audience to which one promotes his/her business. 


You cannot expect to make sales promoting electric vehicles to an audience with a low power supply, thus low interest in replacing their petrol tanks. The success of one's marketing campaigns will have one's effective study of the target audience to thank. 


Only in understanding the audience, narrowing down to the target market where interest in current or similar products is found can a business's marketing processes yield good results.


4. Promotion


Promotion is the push or advertisement of products or services to a target audience. Promotion and advertisement are often used interchangeably and both are effectively a branch of marketing as though marketing involves promotion or advertisement. 


After studying the product,  understanding market demand and deploying the right pricing model, without failing to have a clear view of the target audience(place), the next stage is promotion and this is usually where the lessons learnt from the studies are combined with various structures and values of the business to facilitate product or service promotion.


One may say that the fourth "p" which is "promotion" is where marketing takes place. This is true, however, the focus on other Ps is necessary for successful marketing initiatives.


Types of Marketing 


They are primarily two types of marketing and that includes traditional and digital marketing.


Both marketing strategies are essential for business growth, however, some businesses would better profit from focusing more attention on one than the other or both.


This is evident in the digital business space, although the vast majority are not smart internet users, the current digital spaces already present a huge opportunity for businesses to build value atop rather than the often stressful and costly traditional business practices.


1. Traditional Marketing 


Traditional marketing involves all processes undertaken by businesses or individuals to traditionally communicate value or convey information about certain products or services tailored to the needs or wants of the public.


These marketing practices involve the use of physical promotion materials like posters, stickers, billboards, and cover pages of things like newspapers and exercise books. Some other forms of traditional marketing involve Television and Radio ads.


Below, we explore some examples of traditional marketing strategies and forms with key reference to their application. 


● Print Marketing: The most common form of traditional marketing is print, This involves all printed promotional materials that are easily replicated, e.g., flyers, posters, physical coupons, business cards, and magazine and newspaper ads.


Print promotional materials are often "cost-efficient" with lots of room for marketing success due to their direct reach to users, however, they can sometimes meet roadblocks when ads are reached by "uninterested" audiences. 


Billboard ads are often categorized as print marketing and all generally under "outdoor marketing initiatives" as the majority involves physically moving through key areas to palce ads or market.


● Television and radio marketing: Some call it electronic marketing in short, the origin of "commercials", effective short video and audio ads have TV and radio ads written all over them.


Television and radio ads are some of the most less intuitive marketing initiatives ever in the history of advertising and business marketing in general. The majority of us grew up not understanding the reasons for the short video clips about one product or the other on TV, or the radio shout-outs and audio messages.


But now, we understand that these initiatives were all marketing processes targeted at conveying a message to the general public for either simply creating topic awareness or attracting product and service buyers and users.


● Word-of-mouth marketing: sometimes called "direct marketing" but can sometimes come off as "indirect" depending on who is marketing. 


That said, word of mouth generally occurs when individuals promote certain products or services via direct communication with various persons. 


Sometimes, word-of-mouth marketing comes from "satisfied customers or users" of various products or services and this is where it is often termed an indirect marketing initiative as it may not generally be intended to be a promotion but simply a "review" of value received. This is typically where the "concept" of "a good product or business markets itself" is derived from.


Word-of-mouth marketing often has high conversion as marketers can directly communicate with potential users and buyers, paying close attention to emotions and reactions to the information promoted, generally giving them the advantage to adjust their concepts and strategies for current products or services or future ones and their improvements just as much.


● Event marketing: Event marketing has been employed by various businesses to quickly pass information about their products and services to key audiences.


Event marketing can be executed in various forms, video presentation, audio communication - live or pre-recorded or via posters, flyers or by projecting bills through event screens.


Event marketing is also under outdoor marketing initiatives and has a relatively good rate of success. However, it is important to understand that various factors affect marketing success and the most ignored strategies could be employed by others to make the most.


2. Digital Marketing


Due to the explosion of the internet and technology at large, the digital space and its market have become a big business environment for companies of all sizes and product and service focus.


Digital marketing is the strategic communication of business value via digital or online spaces for generating revenue or growing a business customer base.


The explosion of social media and generally content platforms has facilitated high-value placement on digital marketing, giving companies like Google insane advertisement revenue from paid promotion populated across major digital spaces with personalized tracking enabling higher conversion as ads are tailored to user needs and wants obtained from various data Google gathers from user activities online.


Below are various forms of digital marketing strategies and initiatives employed by both traditional and digital companies to promote products and services.


● Digital Banner Ads: Most companies have "banner ads" as their go-to marketing strategy to communicate their business value to the target audience.


Although banner ads present an opportunity to easily pitch products and services, they have lately been viewed as invasive to users and not very profitable for businesses involved in their creation and publication.


A report highlights that you are 31.25 times more likely to win a prize in the Mega Millions, 87.8 times more likely to apply to Harvard and get in, 12.5 times more likely to sign up for and complete NAVY SEAL training, 475.28 times more likely to survive a plane crash, 279.64 times more likely to climb Mount Everest than you are to click to a banner ad in a digital space, why you ask? Because the majority are shitty!


Notwithstanding, it is important to not underestimate the potential of digital banner ads as though with the right efforts channeled towards it, can produce impressive results.


● Search Engine Marketing: It's the 21st century and you're talking about "digital marketing" and fail to mention "search engine" then your speech isn't quite complete.


Search engine marketing has become an integral part of digital marketing and one of the most effective if not the best digital marketing processes businesses can employ to generate traffic, gain users and make sales.


While the global click-through rate for Google ads across all industries is reportedly 6.11% as of 2023, the use of search engines to promote businesses has a higher conversion rate.


For example, 55% of Google search users do not know which links in the results pages are PPC ads. Up to 50% of them also could not classify paid ads according to reports.


This means that users are likely to click ads from search results.


That said, considering that the top search results get about 18%, 10% and 7% of total search traffic, businesses leveraging search ads to promote their products and services are more likely to make sales provided the landing pages of the ads are actionable and the products or services meet the demand of the users.


That said, aside from "paid" search marketing practices, other forms of promotions employed on search involve "Search Engine Optimization(SEO)". A content creation practice that is designed to meet search value prepositions. 


An SEO content that is successful drives business traffic which can be converted to paying users provided other forms of in-house marketing are kept in check. The value of search traffic cannot be overstated, it is evident in the mass adoption by companies looking to leverage the digital space to grow their businesses.


● Affiliate Marketing: To the vast majority, affiliate marketing is a common marketing initiative but many businesses tend to shy away from it.


Some common reasons for this include the absence of the desire to share revenue with third parties or the lack of the technology to easily manage the program. The latter however has lately not been much of a cause to abstain from affiliate marketing because various platforms have been set up specifically for this.


Affiliate marketing involves the partnership with third parties to promote one's product, service or business. Managing affiliate programs is now incredibly easier as various businesses specialize in just that, giving one the room to focus on other areas of growing the business. 


The affiliate marketing industry is currently worth over $17 billion with 31% publishers reporting that affiliate marketing accounts for their top three sources of revenue.


● Email Marketing: Email marketing is crucial for building a loyal consumer base. 


Primarily via the operation of newsletters, businesses leverage the subscribed audience to promote various products and services. 


While it takes a while to build a list, businesses eager to grow their subscribers could opt for paid ads like banners, sponsored articles or even shout-out promos on other business newsletters with a promotion design tailored to grow their email list.


Statistics claim that a business has a ROI expectation of as much as $40 for every $1 spent on email marketing. 


● Content marketing: Content is king they say, and even in marketing, the arts of great content creation have enhanced marketing success.


This is explored deeper in areas of content marketing practices such as copywriting, SEO content writing, video ad creation and many more.


Content marketing enables businesses to communicate in-depth details of a product or service to a target audience to make sales and grow their user base. Content marketing initiatives are generally a huge part of digital marketing as though it is heavily a part of email marketing, search engine marketing and affiliate. 


What are the reasons for marketing?


There are primarily two reasons for marketing and that is revenue generation and user base growth.


What are the benefits of marketing?


The benefits of marketing include:


● Branding - Effective marketing practices help build a good brand image.


● Revenue generation/growth - Effective marketing helps companies and businesses generate revenue or grow their existing revenue numbers. 


● Education - Marketing is a great way for businesses and individuals to communicate brand, product or service value to the general public. 


● User Growth - Marketing helps businesses build or grow their user base. Turning first-timers into users and old-timers into highly paying customers. 


Is Marketing Easy?


No, marketing is not easy, it often takes a lot of time and money to execute the perfect marketing strategies. 


Some limitations of marketing include competition - where the oversaturation of products and services can limit marketing success. Additionally, the cost of marketing and the no guarantee of success limits the ability of businesses to scale their marketing practices to profit and sustainability. 


The Bottom Line


Marketing is a whole lot of tiny pieces of business practices aimed at their overall success. This includes product creation, development and consistent improvement. Advertisement, which is often mistaken for the entirety of marketing is also a piece and basic actions such as seeing popular persons use a product or service count towards marketing. 


The success of marketing strategies has a lot of variables but most importantly, the proper study of the target market with the development of products and services tailored to their needs is almost a certainty of success in the world of business marketing.






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