If you were asked now what marketing is, what would you answer?

Would it be a simple question or would it bring some confusion?

I suspect that for every ten questions you would get ten different answers and...perhaps most surprisingly, no one would necessarily have to be wrong!

It is in this tangle of definitions and concepts that marketing, a word that is strangely sexy in corporate jargon and traditionally terrifying for the consumer who slips between dull telephone campaigns and intrusive adverts into their smartphone, tablet or PC

Back in the day...

Without wanting to go back too far to the times of barter, it is nevertheless important to make a small historical background that can be summarised in a few words: when there is consistently more supply than demand (around the time of the industrial revolution) marketing becomes a necessity! The reason is simple: by producing in larger quantities than the immediate needs of the market, companies start to hold stocks. Getting these products into the hands of the consumer becomes a fundamental condition for covering all the costs (logistics, human resources, etc.) inherent in storage, dispatch and distribution.

This time lag between the huge product availability and the real needs of the market, has given relevance to the advertising professionals (not to be confused with marketing although this is an extremely useful and powerful marketing tool). Aimed at the masses and using to date offline channels, such as advertisements in the press and public spaces - Outdoors, advertising (which in short can be characterised by the acquisition of paid space or time for the dissemination of an organisation, brand or product/service), comes on the one hand to be valued by companies for managing to speed up the disposal of stocks and on the other to be criticised by the consumer due (above all) to aggressive promotional actions aimed exclusively at making profits.

If it's not advertising, what then is marketing?

Although there are several definitions, from the "official" one by the AMA (American Marketing Association) to that of Philip Kotler (considered by many as the "father of marketing"), I consider that marketing is the set of activities that make the connection (bidirectional) between a company/brand/product and the customer, In other words, it is a management tool that collects data on the environment and, based on the information obtained, designs a particular approach to the market, in accordance with previously defined objectives, aimed at creating value.

How does technological change impact on marketing?

With the appearance and proliferation of the Internet (becoming accessible to more people in the 90s of the last century), the rules of the game gradually change and customers go from being a still passive element (as was the case when simply accessing information online in the times of web 1.0) to protagonists with power literally in their hands (by being influencers of their peers today that web 3.0 is a reality)... power to buy, to recommend but also to express public displeasure (with a scope difficult to predict because it is potentially viral).

The custom-made suit...

Expressions such as personalisation, relevant content, authenticity and consistency gain increasing importance as the customer who is permanently "on" does not subject himself to seeing, hearing or reading any piece of information that is not targeted, valuable, genuine and with some regularity, regardless of the channel used.

These are clearly good times for companies that value the culture and that invest in strengthening their brand because these two elements are like lighthouses in choppy, crowded waters!

Published September 2019 (Inurban Magazine).

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