Marketing is NOT…

by Sonja van den Bosch

Marketing is NOT…

There is a lot of confusion out there about what marketing is and what marketing is not. So here is my list of things that marketing is not and also what I believe marketing is all about.

Marketing is NOT sales
The difference between marketing and sales is that marketing works on building the brand recognition and bringing in qualified leads, whereas sales turns the qualified leads into sales. The reason why there can be friction between marketing and sales is that marketing people in general think longer-term, whereas sales people want the sale now. I believe that marketing and sales should go hand in hand for the best results for a business. They are one team working towards the same common goal. You can compare this with a soccer team. The marketing people are the mid fielders whose task it is to pass the ball to the strikers, who’s job it is to then score. The better work the mid fielders do, the easier it is for the strikers to score. Marketers should also use the market intelligence of sales people, as they are the ones that are constantly talking to the market.

Marketing is NOT advertising or PR
Advertising and PR are part of marketing. Marketing is the big picture thinking, whereas advertising and PR are both communication tools that can be used to get your message out to your target market. Advertising is the business telling the world how great they are, whereas PR uses other people (journalists) to tell the world how great your business is.

Marketing is NOT about pushing a product or service
Some people believe that marketing is about coming up with a product or service and then pushing it to the market place. This is exactly the wrong way around. Marketing is firstly about understanding the needs and wants of your target market and then coming up with a product or service that will fulfil these needs. No need to push a product or service that no one is interested in.

Marketing is NOT spending as much money as possible
A lot of times marketing people are being seen as people that waste a lot of money. The real challenge of marketing person is to get as much value as possible out of every dollar they spend. You can compare this to when you got pocket money as a child and tried to get the best value out of your precious dollars. That’s the attitude that any great marketer should have.

Marketing is NOT logo design
Some people think that marketers just make things look good. Obviously your brand and the way your communication looks is part of marketing, but it is not the same. Marketing should drive the design and copy and not the other way around. Depending on your target market and their needs and wants, the design and copy will be different.

Marketing is NOT a quick fix in crisis times
Unfortunately too many times people think that they don’t need marketing when things go well and only want to get into it, when tougher times arrive. This doesn’t work, as marketing is a longer-term strategy. It will not turn your crisis around straight away. It requires determination and ongoing commitment. You can compare this to starting a weight loss or fitness program. There are no quick fixes, you need to have a longer-term goal and once you stop, you’ll go back to your old state again.

Now that I’ve given you my ideas about what marketing is not, here is what I believe marketing is all about.

customer needs, wants and likesMarketing is understanding the needs and wants of your customers and translating these needs and wants into profitability for your business.

Although it might sound easy, this is the hardest part of marketing and people, who get this right, nail it. You need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at the world from their perspective. Often business owners or marketing people are too close to and too familiar with their own product, or even worse are too in love with their own product. This obviously doesn’t result in the most effective marketing.


Marketing is about creating meaningful, long-lasting connections. It is an ongoing two-way communication exchange with the target market in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time.

Rome wasn’t built in one day. The time it takes a couple to go from dating to marriage proposal doesn’t normally happen overnight. The same counts for marketing. It is a longer-term strategy and it is about building up a meaningful long-lasting connections. It is about being genuine, about informing, about educating, about caring and about being true to yourself. That’s also why I love marketing so much. If you keep to these principles marketing is the best profession in the world!

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THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART

Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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