What is Marketing Anyway?

As a marketing professional, I do a lot of online research & reading on the subject of engaging more customers, latest brand trends, what to do & what not to do & how to increase this & decrease that in the wonderful world of increasing sales/awareness/product education through our craft. In this never-ending search for more information & more knowledge, one thing stands out; blatant apparent confusion on every subject relating to marketing.

What does a typical marketing 'how-to' day look like online?

One article screams that content marketing is dead. The next praises it for being the best, still relevant, thing since Web 2.0. How to engage with B2B customers? Treat them as B2C. You must have a Facebook page - B2B doesn't need one or does it? Twitter is great for engagement, but maybe Pinterest is better. E-mail is dying. E-mail is still the best way to communicate. Network more. Don't be overbearing when you network. Traditional media such as radio & print is dead. Don’t forget that radio still attracts the biggest audiences. Get a billboard, get a thousand. Forget about billboards. Get online banner ads. Online banner adverts just add to the clutter. Have you tried experiential marketing? It works. But maybe native advertising will suit you better. Don’t advertise that you are green. People still love to hear that you are a green-conscious company. 7 things you need to do right now to get more customers. The 4 great ideas for content marketing during 2015, etc etc...

Confusing? No wonder my marketing PA decided to follow a path in finance instead. (Maybe I shouldn't have asked her to write a short paragraph on what she thinks marketing is based on Google searches…)

Where does this leave us & for crying in the name of the 4P's (or was it 6? Did someone add a 7th just the other day? Is it still relevant?) of marketing, what is the answer to my original question?

Here's the thing; I cannot answer for you or your company or your agency. Why? Because the marketing tools you use remains a very personal thing. There are & will always be great marketing guidelines. However, what works for an engineering firm in construction will not work for an engineering firm in telecommunications. What works for Coca Cola's iconic drink, will not necessarily work for BOS iced tea.

For some companies sales & marketing is the same thing, for others PR is the only part of marketing worth doing. Some think that advertising with big budgets are the only way to go for FMCG while others might agree on a more comprehensive & integrated approach.

So, what is marketing anyway?

For fear of also adding to the confusion, I will venture carefully into the last section. I will not go into my theories here, but I will leave you with the one guideline that is prevalent in each article on marketing (and its nothing new).

Marketing yesterday, today & in the future is all about relationships, a marriage of sorts. How you convey this & how you get to build & keep relationships profitable is up to your entire company. Your company culture, your sales team, your product developers & even your finance team are part & parcel of this (sometimes very complex) relationship.

The key for you, as the marketing manager, is to integrate yourself within your company & industry to truly get to know how to start, grow & keep them.

A blog by Elsjene Burger