What Is Marketing? An Introduction for Future Business Pros

illustration of a question mark with marketing icons representing what is marketing

Whether it’s billboards or social media, your morning cereal box or your favorite magazine, the average person is exposed to thousands of marketing campaign efforts every day. Marketing makes the business world go round by assertively reaching out to consumers and letting them know what’s available.

The world of marketing is a fast-paced, competitive industry with a wide variety of opportunities, 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 of marketing, you’ve come to the right place.

What is marketing?

At its foundation, marketing is about promoting products and services. It’s all about getting the word out about a product or service in a way that connects with the audience, causing consumers to want to purchase that product.

Because this definition is so broad, it includes everything from designing product packaging to demographics research. Marketers support all the steps from developing a product to selling it and creating a returning customer.

How does marketing support businesses across all industries?

It’s pretty tough to find a business that successfully sells its product in any substantial volume without the helpful assistance of marketing activities. 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 there is a wide variety of career choices for professionals in the field of marketing. Whether you’re interested in literature, animals, sports or technology, there’s room for you and your interests in marketing.

Why does marketing matter?

“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 return on investment comes from.”

Solid marketing equates to more revenue for a business. 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 product or service again and again.

Marketing is crucial to get the word out on your product. Even if you only use word-of-mouth, that’s still a form of marketing.

What can you do with a marketing degree?

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.”

With all these steps, there’s plenty of room for all types of career options.

If you’re analytical, researching the customer and their buying habits may be the job for you. If you’re more creative, then designing the company’s latest social media posts could be your dream job. Or if communication is your strength, you could write the marketing materials, from commercial scripts to the catchy product slogan.

What are the different types of marketing?

There are two major branches of marketing today: traditional and digital. With the rise of widespread technology adaptation 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.”

In our modern day and age, many communication channels have increased in number and ease, while some have faded to the background.

“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 Sean Finelli, co-owner of 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.”

Traits of marketers

Even with all the options in the marketing field, there are still certain traits and abilities that unify marketers. While not every marketer has each of these characteristics, these skills will help you excel in marketing. 


The number one trait a marketer needs is the ability to understand others. Marketers constantly have to put themselves in others’ shoes, whether it be to create surveys for data gathering or to design the ultimate social media ad. Being able to understand a target audience so you know what types and styles of advertising they prefer is key.


The world of marketing is constantly changing, and marketers are expected to learn the latest social media platform or figure out what makes the newest generation tick. While some tools and techniques have stayed the same, they have also taken on new shapes.

For example, the classic newspaper advertising block is less common in newspapers, but social media marketing carries over some of the same concepts. And not to worry: the same marketing principles you learn in a good marketing program apply across different media formats.

Big- and small-picture minded

The best marketers see how each marketing campaign or ad fits into the company’s larger plans. The email newsletter may seem far detached from the big picture, but it may be a key component of the summer’s marketing campaign to push the newest product line. And in turn, that product line may be how the company plans to adapt to changing market conditions.

Being able to see this whole picture allows the marketer to understand what they need to keep in mind when creating individual ads, and knowing how the individual campaigns work helps other marketers know what goes into an effective overall strategy.

What does a career in marketing look like?

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.

Whatever your talents or interests, marketing has a career path for you. If this versatile field sounds exciting, get insight into what your future could look like with our article “What Can You Do With a Marketing Degree? 10 Potential Options.”

The Roman Guy is a registered trademark of The Roman Guy, Inc.

About the author

Jordan Jantz

Jordan is a freelance content writer at Collegis Education. She researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen University to help empower students achieve their career dreams through higher education.


Posted in Marketing

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