A Business Amateur Vocabulary Lesson, Part 1: What is Marketing?

If you’ve been reading my blog up to this point, you might already have figured out that I am a business amateur.  I don’t have any formal business training, so I’ve been slowly learning about business stuff over the years just through conversations and experiences.  This week, I thought it would be a fun exercise for me to give myself a vocabulary lesson with some business terms that I hear thrown around all the time.  Each day I’m going to pick a business-related vocabulary word/phrase and do my best to try to define it in layman’s terms (because those are the only terms that I could possibly define it in anyway!).  I hope there are some other people out there who might benefit from someone taking a minute to actually unpack these words/phrases.  Again, I can’t promise that my definitions are going to be perfect or entirely accurate, but I’m going to do my best.  I would welcome any comments that might correct or expand my definitions, so please add your thoughts after reading mine!

Today I’m going to give my definition of the word, “marketing.”  People are always talking about it, and for a long time I had no idea exactly what they meant.  But then I thought about it in terms of going grocery shopping.  Let’s say you need some item that you don’t usually need (so you don’t have a particular brand that you’re used to getting).  You go to the correct aisle and you get to the spot where the item is.  But there are lots of different companies that all make that item, and here you are, just staring at the vast array of packaging, trying to decide which one to pick.  Also, let’s say for the sake of argument that the prices are all just about the same, so that doesn’t play into your decision this time either. Finally, something about one of the items jumps out at you and convinces you that it is the best one to buy.  That “something” is marketing.  It is the thing that makes something stick out from all the others and makes you want it more than the rest.

You can probably see now why marketing is so important.  In a world where there are so many different things to choose from, marketing makes a certain brand jump out at the consumer and make them want to buy it.  It could be something in the packaging, or it could be that that brand is more heavily advertised while they’re watching their favorite TV show, or on a website that they use a lot, so it’s in the back of their minds already.  Maybe it’s just the fact that it is at eye level on the shelf, so it’s easier for them to see and reach.  I’m sure there are a ton of other things that go into it that I’m totally missing here.  But whatever it is, it makes them choose one thing instead of all the others.  So next time you’re at the store, and you decide on a particular product, remember that marketing is a crucial part of why that product won your purchase.  At least that’s how I understand it…  😉