“Marketing is what soulless, consumer-driven conglomerates do to convince people to buy a product they don’t actually want.” This was a friend’s definition of marketing as we discussed the topic over the dinner table one evening recently. He associated the word ‘marketing’ with force-fed style advertising, global companies with billion pound profits, and manipulating people with sneaky techniques to part them from their hard-earned money. I guess this is an idea many people share. However I'm not one of them.
I don’t think that marketing is any of these things. Yes, marketing is a tool companies use to make money, but marketing in the broader sense is something we do every day in both our personal and professional lives. Sharing a story of how we learnt to speak French in four weeks through an online course. Recommending a friend’s awesome carrot cake because it’s to die for. Or offering to help your neighbour fix his computer because you spend way too long in front of your own.
The reality is, we couldn't live in a world without marketing. Nor is it a dirty word or one we should shrink away from. Marketing in its simplest form is celebrating ours and others’ successes, offering our help to someone without the skills we possess, or pointing them in the direction of someone else who does. It’s something we should all embrace more of. Ultimately, marketing is about sharing (the real life type, not the digital idea, that’s a topic for another post). We could all do with a bit more of that, couldn't we?
What do you think? Share your thoughts on the many definitions of marketing below by leaving a comment.