What is the purpose of marketing?

A common misconception is that all marketing aims to do is get the customer to buy a product. This is so off the mark that every time someone brings it up a little piece of my soul dies. Let me give an example of why.

As you stroll down the mall you are stopped by a salesman. While you are annoyed, you are polite and let us say that you listen to what they have to offer. Let us say for the example that using cunning, flattery, and exaggerated promises this salesman convinces you to part with your money and buy a product. When you get home, you forget about the purchase- and a month later you remember it out of the blue. Noticing that the product has not been touched, you question what made you so impulsive as to buy the product in the first place, and regret the purchase. Upon checking your receipt, you find that the seven day grace period for cancellations has expired. In this scenario, you make a mental note not to buy from the company again and take every opportunity you can to slander their name.

Alright, perhaps the last part was just me- but I hope you see the point of that example. Marketing is not just about securing a singular sale. While many salesmen rely on impulse to make a living, this strategy is short-sighted. Good marketing focuses on the long-term: on securing an amazing relationship with the customer so they would not only come back, but would recommend you to all of their friends. Great marketing goes further- building so much value in the brand that purchase decisions come easily.

So, to answer the question which is also the title of our current post: marketing involves anything which creates perceived value to the product, service, or brand.

Marketing is just as much involved with research and product design as it is with sales and promotions. Anything and everything from the creation of the idea of the product to the consumption and disposal of it is not outside the reach of marketing.

To break this definition down further, we can summarize the field of marketing into a diagram. See “Peng’s Marketing Framework” below.

Peng's Marketing Framework

At the core of Marketing is the creation of value. This value can be created as an additional benefit to the customer, or as a reduction on costs.

Enveloping this core value is a product which contains this value. Marketing considerations which provide further value to the product include considerations such as product design, packaging, and manufacture.

Cradling the product, services are also provided which enhance value. Customer service, distribution channels, and after-sales service all can act to increase value.

Including all the ideas above, the way marketing plays with perceived value is through communication. The product and service communicates to the customer just as much (if not more) compared to other forms of communication. Apart from the product and service, communications could include advertising, direct, digital, or publicity communications.

Finally, what happens when all these concepts work together? A brand is formed. An association of what the company and product is forms in the mind of the public. This is in itself capable of providing value.

The final part of the diagram is about the intended audience of Marketing. It reminds us that marketing does not just involve who buys the product- but also considers the government, employees, shareholders, as well as the general community.

The beauty of this diagram is that it brings together all the concepts you will ever need in the field of marketing. Understand this framework, and you will know all the basics. Everything else builds upon this foundation. Any other theory or framework out there would explain how to achieve a certain portion of this framework, but in essence marketing is about creating value.

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