Marketing: Defining what Marketing Means

The term marketing has been pulled and stretched and distorted on such a regular basis, that it deserves clarification. 

According to, in economics, marketing is defined as the part of the process of production and exchange that is concerned with the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer.

At the online dictionary Wordsmyth, marketing is defined as:

Part of Speech           noun
Pronunciation           mar kih tIng
Definition     1.     all of the activities involved in transferring goods from a producer to consumers, esp. including advertising.
Definition     2.     the act or process of buying in a market. 

In popular usage, marketing is defined as the distribution and sale of goods, distribution being understood in a broader sense than the technical economic one. 

While technical definitions abound, anyone who has searched for a job in “marketing” will find themselves interviewing for thinly veiled telemarketing and aggressive cold calling positions rather than the other activities involved in the transfer of goods from producer to consumer. 

While the scope of marketing includes not only those who buy and sell directly at both the wholesale and retail level, it also includes those who develop, warehouse, transport, insure, finance, package or promote the product. 

At it’s broadest definition, any position within an organization that has a hand in the process or transfer of product from producer to consumer can be defined as a “marketing“ position.  However, in the end, most of us think of marketing merely as the act of “selling” a product. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In his book HOW TO BECOME A MARKETING SUPERSTAR: UNEXPECTED RULES THAT RING THE CASH REGISTER, Jeffery Fox spending the first 15 chapters going over what goes on INSIDE your business before he even begins talking about promoting your business via advertising or PR.

Marketing in the sense of growing your business or practice begins INSIDE your business or practice. 

When I was a young account executive with a regional advertising agency, I spent a LOT of time "networking".  During these networking events, I would hear over and over again,

"I don’t NEED to advertise because my business operates on word of mouth."

This statement reflects a belief that advertising is for those who don’t have a strong customer base.  What’s interesting is the business that enjoys a strong word of mouth referral base is the IDEAL candidate for traditional advertising because every new customer brought in by a campaign will be replicated many times over via word of mouth.  (WOM) 

Growing your business begins with your current customers.   Delight them and they’ll tell others.  If your current customers aren’t telling others about your product or service, find out why.   Only then, when current customers are singing your praises, should you begin issuing "marketing" invitations to "outsiders".



  1. I agree entirely- marketing is not a veneer put on the business- it goes to the very core of who you are and how you show up in the ‘market place.’ Just because it’s done virtually so often, doesn’t mean that’s the ideal.

    Really, I go back to the originally meaning of ‘market’- where you had lots of people gathered in one place to buy and sell needed/wanted goods. Everyone together in the same place. ‘Marketing’ for me is – how do you get your business to the marketplace? Which includes everything you mentioned.

    You could just call it a ‘souk-mentality.’ 🙂