What is Marketing? A Creative Career for the Business-Minded

What is Marketing

From the magnificence of Super Bowl commercials and the Coke and popcorn ads before movies, to the resurgence of interest in shows like Mad Men, the resplendent “glory days” of marketing are still ever present in modern society. Whether it’s billboards or Facebook, your morning cereal box or your favorite magazine, the average person is exposed to thousands of marketing campaign efforts every day.

Without marketing, selling products would be very difficult for companies and organizations. Marketing makes the business world go ‘round by assertively reaching out to consumers and letting them know what’s available. It’s a fast-paced competitive industry with a wide variety of opportunities, depending on what you’re interested in, and the future is bright for this profession.

You might have a lot of questions about the nuts and bolts of marketing, and we’re here to clear up some of the basic questions. If you’re looking for an overview on the subject and profession that is marketing, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve connected with marketing professionals who are active in the field to give you some up-to-date info on this exciting career.

What is marketing, exactly?

The dictionary definition of marketing is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and analysis.” Marketing is all about getting the word out about a product or service in a pleasing manner and in a way that will cause consumers to want to purchase that product.

“Marketers help customers identify potential problems and offer solutions through intrinsic wants and needs that the product or service provides,” explains Nathan Barber, a digital marketing analyst for Digital Advertising Works. “From there, marketers connect customers with a company’s products or services in a way that provides value.”

How does marketing support businesses across all industries?

It’s pretty tough to find a business that successfully sells its product without the helpful assistance of marketing. Across the board, no matter the field or service, marketing is the vehicle by which companies get the word out there about how fantastic their product is.

“In order for a business to see growth, it has to be continuously getting new or returning customers,” says Micah Pratt, online managing director of Obrella. “Marketing is the best and most efficient way to do this at scale because it allows you to find and interact with potential customers who can find value in your product or service. It also allows you to help current customers.”

The fact that every company needs marketing at some level means a wide variety of career choices for professionals in the field of marketing. Whether you’re interested in literature or animals, sports or technology, there’s room for you and your interests in marketing.

What is the purpose of marketing?

“Marketing covers one major principle,” says Jessica Moreno, Social Media and Brand Account Manager for Active Web Group. “Spend money to promote your product or service in an effort to make more money on the return. This is where the term ROI (or return on investment) comes from.”

Marketing products well equates to more money. Successful companies with booming sales can usually thank an excellent product along with the efforts of a marketing team. By building relationships with the consumer through continued communication and campaigning, companies retain loyal customers who return to their project or service again and again.

How does marketing work?

There’s a whole system to marketing that you’ll have down pat by the time you graduate with your Marketing degree.

“The first step in marketing is to do research on the type of customer your business serves and understand their buying habits,” explains Jen DeVore Richter, Coauthor of Amplify Your Business. “Then, create an action plan for reaching them with your message. Next, communicate your message in a way that they will receive it and be compelled to act. Finally, evaluate your results and determine next steps for improving the process."

There are also a variety of vehicles that allow you to get your marketing message out there for consumers to see. In our modern day and age, many communication channels have increased in number and ease, while some have faded to the background. Social media is now much more prevalent than, say, newspapers are. However, both are still valid areas to advertise.

“With the variety of social media and digital media platforms connecting different user demographics, any industry can connect with any potential consumer through a variety of mediums,” says Sian Lloyd, a marketing voyager at The Roman Guy. “Even the 45-year-old Midwestern male, thought to be unreachable, is now downloading podcasts and can be reached there for free—if you can produce the right content.”

What are the different branches of marketing?

There are two major branches of marketing today: traditional and digital. With the rise of technology came a whole new sector of marketing and advertising opportunities. Now, we see ads on the side of our screens as we browse the internet, and we receive emails every day about hot deals we can claim in-store and online.

“Traditional marketing consists of TV advertising, billboards, direct mail, newspapers, telemarketing and more,” says Moreno. “Digital marketing includes social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, web design, web development, pay-per-click, affiliate and more.”

Many believe that traditional marketing and advertising is fading away, while digital marketing is on the rise. Only time will tell.

Which type of marketing is right for you?

With the myriad of options for marketers to choose from when it comes to a specialization or specific profession, it’s clear that this is a great career option. As the marketing field evolves, there’s no telling how many more opportunities will become available in the future.

Learn more about the many sides of marketing in our article, 7 Types of Marketing Specializations: The Practical Guide You’ve Been Seeking.


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Lauren Elrick

Lauren is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She enjoys helping current and potential students choose the path that helps them achieve their educational goals.

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