Marketing is More Than Just Advertising

Marketing is more than advertising

Many people equate marketing with advertising, which irks me. I even caught Shama Kabani doing it in her book The Zen of Social Media Marketing. On page 48, she writes the definition, “Marketing: promoting a product or a service to increase sales.” Not true. Marketing is more than advertising.

I suspect and hope that Kabani, CEO of The Zen Marketing Group, knows better and needed this simplification in the context of her book.

The Four Ps of Marketing

Promotion such as advertising is just one of the historic 4 Ps of Marketing:

  • Product: features, design, branding, packaging, sizes, services, warranties, returns
  • Price: list price, discounting, payment period, credit terms
  • Placement (or distribution): inventory, transportation, distribution points and channels, regional availability
  • Promotion: sales force, advertising, public relations, direct marketing

The American Marketing Association gives the formal definition “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (emphasis added!).

Four More Ps in Marketing

In their Marketing Management textbook, Phillip Kotler and Kevin Keller include 4 other marketing Ps as well:

  • People: not just those inside an organization who carry out marketing, but the humanness of clients, consumers, vendors, and partners
  • Processes: discipline, structure, and creativity
  • Programs: specific consumer-facing activities
  • Performance: metrics and constant improvement

Perhaps most resonant for me, though, is the first sentence Kotler and Keller write in their section “What is Marketing?”

Marketing is about identifying and meeting human and social needs.

To me, you can just as easily write

Public services are about identifying and meeting human and social needs.

Public services are, and should be, all about marketing, and marketing is more than advertising.

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