What is Marketing?

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Three people holding up large question mark signs in front of their facesMarketing is defined from various sources as a process, as a set of strategies and activities, as a series of communications, and more.

There are many good and accurate definitions of marketing. Here are a few.

Marketing Defined as a Process

  • Marketing is the process of identifying and communicating with qualified prospects.
  • Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to satisfy customers.
  • Marketing is the process by which resources are brought to bear against opportunities and threats.
  • Marketing is the process of making customers aware of products and services, attracting new customers to a product or service, keeping existing customers interested in a product or service, building and maintaining a customer base for a product or service.

Marketing Defined as Strategies and Activities

  • Marketing is the set of strategies and techniques used to attract and persuade consumers.
  • Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that a business continues to address the spoken and unspoken, known and unknown, met and unmet needs of its customers.
  • Marketing is a group of interrelated activities designed to identify consumer needs and to develop, distribute, promote, and price goods and services to satisfy these needs at a profit.

Marketing Defined as Communications

  • Marketing includes communications, by any means, about a product or service that encourages the recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service.
  • Marketing is the language of influence.

Famous Quotes on Marketing

Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers and benefits for the stakeholders.
– Philip Kotler

Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.
– Orvel Ray Wilson

People don’t want to be “marketed TO”; they want to be “communicated WITH.”
– Flint McGlaughlin

Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.
– Jay Conrad Levinson

In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss — and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.
– John Romero

If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many 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.
– Unknown

You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in a way that people will feel in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.
– William Bernbach

Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.
– Leo Burnett

“Positioning is not about finding what the market wants you to be, but about finding out what you are and owning that space.”
– F. Byron Nahser

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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