The other day, I was chatting to a marketing expert who said “basically you can split marketing into branding and lead development and nurturing”. I my world these both fall under the banner of Marketing, but so does a whole lot more.
Has the word “Marketing” become meaningless? It means so many different things to different people that I rather wonder if it has?
When I start talking about marketing I find that most people tend to think of marketing as an activity that is about communicating TO customers. Branding and advertising are particularly obvious parts of this communication, along with product literature, events and PR. In the online modern world that might include inbound and content marketing, or and of course telemarketing is still around.
For most startups however, I think the more important aspects of marketing are those that are about communicating WITH customers, or even listening to customers. This is where the vital processes of market discovery (finding a market for a product or service) and market research (understanding that market) sit. These help companies to define their offering, identify channels to market, and even construct a product pipeline.
Perhaps if different people have different ideas about what “Marketing” means, the terms has become meaningless? Or perhaps it has de-fact acquired a meaning that is more analogous with what as my first employer was called “Marketing Communication” or “MarComms” – a term that seems to have fallen into disuse?
I’m seeing more terms arising to describe “communicating with”. “Product Marketing” has emerged as a term commonly used in the software industry to describe a lot of the market discovery, research and analysis side of the process, but I haven’t seen it widely adopted elsewhere.
As a result of this confusion, I hesitate a bit about using the word “Marketing” to describe what we do at Salient Point. I can’t claim deliver all of that diverse discipline, and we certainly are not branding or advertising experts – so we’re not covered by the narrowest usage of the word.
What we do best is market discovery, assessment, research and analysis – these are a core part of our offering. We help to segment, target and position within markets, then shape products, communications and pricing for target segments. We also do what I might term “MarComms” by helping prepare product literature, websites and other content.
What does marketing mean to you?
Have you come across other terms that help to explain different aspects of this diverse discipline?
Please feel free to join in below in the comments section!