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What is 'Marketing'

Marketing refers to the activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service. It includes advertising, selling and delivering products to people. People who work in companies' marketing departments try to get the attention of target audiences using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure.

BREAKING DOWN 'Marketing'

Marketing is everything a company does to gain customers and maintain relationships with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee are marketing. The goal of marketing is to match a company's products and services to the people who need and want them to ensure profitability.

The Four P's of Marketing are Product, Place, Price and Promotion

Product refers to an item or items a business intends to sell. When examining a product, a company should ask questions such as, "what product is being sold?," "what differentiates the product from its competitors?," "can it market the product with a secondary product?" and "are there substitute products in the market?"

Price refers to how much the company will sell the product for. When establishing price, companies must give considerations to the unit cost price, marketing costs and distribution expenses.

Place refers to distribution of the product. Key considerations include whether the company will sell the product through a physical storefront, online or through both distribution channels?

Finally, promotion refers to the integrated marketing communications campaign. Promotional activities may include advertising, personal selling, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing, sponsorship and guerrilla marketing. Promotions are likely to vary depending on what stage of product life cycle the product is in. Marketers must know consumers associate a product’s price and distribution with its quality, and would be prudent to take this into account when devising the overall marketing strategy.

Online Marketing

As of 2015, approximately 70 percent of U.S. adults shop online at least monthly, and 33 percent shop online every week. Experts expect online sales in the United States to increase from $445 billion in 2017 to over $600 billion in 2020 and over $1 trillion by 2027. Taking these statistics into consideration, it is vital for marketers to use online tools such as social media and digital advertising, both on website and mobile device applications, and internet forums. Considering an appropriate distribution channel for products purchased online is also an important step. Online marketing is a critical element of a complete marketing strategy.

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