Marketing…. what is it?

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“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
-The official academic definition from CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing).

This means the ideas, the brand, how you communicate, the design, print process, measuring effectiveness, market research and the psychology of consumer behaviour all count as part of the bigger picture of ‘marketing’.

An understanding of what customers need and value, is central to marketing.

Learning your customers’ needs and how you can add value through marketing activities paves the way for a successful business in the long term

A brief overview of the marketing industry

Marketing is a diverse profession with opportunities to be involved in all kinds of businesses.

1) B2B – marketing to other businesses

Business-to-business or B2B marketing involves products or services that are sold to other businesses or organisations. These products are often referred to as industrial goods which could include yarn for use in textile manufacture, installations – such as large-scale equipment, aircraft, production machinery and operating supplies like paper, pens, etc. Many roles require specialist technical or scientific knowledge.

Marketing services are provided to both the public (for example mortgages, legal advice, and leisure) and to businesses (IT, tax consultancy, audit and accounting, recruitment, training provision).

2) B2C and FMCG – marketing directly to consumers

Business-to-consumer marketing (B2C) relates to people who buy products and use services for their own personal or domestic consumption. This includes durable items such as cars, white goods and consumer goods for speedy consumption such as food, drinks and toiletries, also known as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods).

An integrated marketing approach

It’s worth noting that many businesses engage in a number of these different types of marketing, for example a soft drinks company usually has to convince supermarkets (B2B) to provide shelf space to their product if their consumer marketing (B2C) is to stand any chance of success.

Marketing strategy

Marketing is implemented through a marketing strategy, which starts with the setting of objectives that will support the overall aims of the business. Next, a company needs to decide on a strategy that will allow these objectives to be achieved. The strategy may involve research into product or service development, how the product or service will reach the market (channels) and how the customers will find out about it (communication). It will also attempt to define a unique positioning for the product or business to differentiate it from its competitors.

Areas of marketing to specialise in
Marketing specialisms at a glance

Marketing involves many areas of work since it is a broad field. As you progress further in your career you are likely to specialise in one of the following areas. Further, at much higher levels you will progress into more strategic roles in these areas.

Market research

Market researchers provide information about customers, products and services to help marketers make informed decisions about product development and communicating with customers. Researchers use both qualitative methods and quantitative methods to draw conclusions and point business strategies in the right direction. Market research helps to spot new opportunities, identify issues and measure performance of current marketing campaigns.

Marketing communications

Marketing communications is all about getting the right message across with the appropriate promotional channel. You may assist in writing, designing advertisements, leaflets and posters, and in producing broadcast advertising for cinema, radio and TV. The work also includes PR, getting positive press coverage for products and arranging sponsorships.

Digital marketing: Online marketing is using the internet to generate responses from the relevant target audience. This could involve elements of: email marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation), PPC (pay per click), online advertising, affiliate marketing, text messaging and blogging.

Social media: Social media marketing is all about engaging with the target audience using social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many others.

Brand management

A brand is an idea or an image of a product or a service provided by the organisation. Branding is the marketing of this idea or image so that more and more people recognise it and become aware of the brand.

Brand managers are involved in planning the marketing strategy for specific brands or products and putting it into practise. They work closely with production, sales and finance to ensure the product or service performs to target. They will also monitor marketing trends and customer feedback to ensure the brand meets with customer expectations. As a trainee brand manager, you may help write briefs for the advertising or PR agencies that will produce your promotional campaigns.

Direct marketing

Direct marketing involves marketing products or services directly to individuals or companies. At the heart of direct marketing is targeting, personalisation of messages and measurability, a lot of which is driven by insights gained from databases of information. E-mail marketing within direct marketing is becoming an important tool. You may be involved in copywriting letters and brochures, data analysis, customer profiling and segmentation.


In advertising, most graduate vacancies advertised are for account handlers, who are the main link between the advertising agency and its clients. They help clients identify advertising campaign targets and take the client briefs to other agency departments so that everyone works towards the same goal.

Public relations (PR)

Graduate opportunities in PR include in-house PR officer/assistant jobs and account handling in PR agencies. In both cases the role is to maintain, protect and enhance a company’s reputation by managing media coverage about a company, its products or its services and developing communication strategies for the different groups the organisation is in contact with. This may involve writing press releases, arranging corporate entertainment or sponsoring sports or charitable activities in the local community.