What is Marketing? It could be the most elementary question ever, right? And yet, professors, companies, agencies, and individuals all try to complicate it with so many different formulas, diagrams, and other assorted definitions, that hardly anyone can define exactly what marketing is these days.
The traditional textbook answer to the question usually mentions the “4 p’s of marketing,” Product, Price, Place, & Promotion. However, this is NOT an adequate definition.
What is Marketing?
To the most successful marketers, (those who accomplish their desired task, namely, a drastic increase in revenue for their clients) the following definition is the only one that matters, the marketing “M’s”:
Marketing is delivering a product or service to the right market, using the right message, and through the right medium.
The 3 M’s of Marketing
In order for this definition to be effective (or any type of marketing, for that matter!), a business owner has to reflect deeply on each of the “M’s” and act upon them.
Who or what is the ‘right market’? If you haven’t defined your target market, your ideal customer, then you’re asking for failure. What are the specific demographics of this market? Male, female, young, old, wealthy, poor, etc. It’s not possible to be all things to all people, therefore, your market isn’t “everybody”. Narrow down who is the ‘right market’ for your product or service, focus solely on this group, and your marketing will be vastly more effective.
What is the ‘right message’? The message that your business conveys to your target audience is of utmost importance. What are the features and benefits you have to offer, and how can (will) they be of service to your target market? You message can’t simply be about you, but instead must focus on the needs and wants of those you are marketing to. As the cliche goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a good first impression,’ so make sure what you say is leaving a good tase in the mouth of your market. If you truly know who your ideal market is, it will be much easier to craft a message that resonates with them.
What is the ‘right medium’ to use in order to best reach your ideal market with your message? Good question, and one more reason why knowing your ideal market is so crucial. Every industry and niche is different. One form of media may work in one industry, but won’t be as effective in another. The better you know your ideal customer, the more you’ll know what types of media they read, watch, listen to, and engage with. Once you know what medium your market prefers, drop the ineffective ones. They’re a waste of time, and money.
The 3 M’s of marketing seems pretty simple and intuitive, so then why do so many business owners get it wrong? Probably because they’ve never been taught it like this. The 4 marketing P’s and other textbook type definitions neglect to break it down in a usable manner, which is probably why most students forget what they are upon graduation!
For an updated and much improved version of the marketing P’s, check out what John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing has to say on the subject.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your definition of marketing, and does this one make you look at it any differently now? Leave a comment below, and share your thoughts on any of the social networks below.
Chris Houchens says
I like the 3Ms (don’t tell the tape company)
I think the point that many businesses (and marketers) miss completely is the definition of the market. You cannot market to “everybody”
I would add a 4th M — Motivation which could be a collorary to either Market or Message. Marketing success is dependent upon how the market answers the question ‘what’s in it for me?”
Seth Spears says
Well put, Chris. Another ‘M’ that could be added in is ‘Money.’
So often it’s forgotten that the point of marketing in business is to make a profit, not win awards or accolades.
If the primary goal is not being met, the marketing has failed.