Why marketing is not a dirty word

It's not the first time that I've come across a piece of writing online that in some way bashes marketing, but this little sentence really boiled my blood recently, "All successful brands are built on product, not marketing."

I agree that all successful brands are built on product, it's as simple as what came first, the chicken or the egg? You can't skip the product and go straight to promotion, but why single out marketing, the umbrella under which branding, advertising, public relations and all forms of promotion live?

Marketing is the basis of promotion communications

Marketing is integral to all communications industries because the strategies and tactics that make branding, advertising, and public relations successful are informed by marketing. Marketing is the basis of promotion communications, always seemingly the first to adopt new technologies and processes as they emerge. Closely aligned with sales, "marketing is the larger process."

"Think of public relations and advertising as a part of the Marketing wheel. On that wheel you have different spokes of advertising, public relations, media planning, sales strategy etc. All of these elements not only work independently but also work together toward the marketing goal."

—  Keandrea McLaurin, Marketing Communications Manager at Bayer CropScience  

The appropriation of marketing, no seriously..

Everyone is learning how to promote themselves these days and it's causing branding, advertising, public relations, et al. to scramble to find ways to remain necessary; tacking on traditional marketing services to their capabilities to stay afloat. They're buying the same tools marketers buy, learning traditionally marketing skill sets, appropriating our techniques:

  • Cause marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Guerrilla marketing
  • Immersion marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • In-game marketing
  • Internet marketing
  • Referral marketing
  • Search engine marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Social video marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • Word-of-mouth marketing

All these techniques contain the word marketing, and yet more and more you'll read, see, and hear them touted as better suited for branding, advertising, and public relations professionals to handle. It's a free market, so there are no rules that say, for example, that a PR firm can't offer SEO services. But if you were a plumber, and you heard that a interior design firm was newly offering plumbing services, you'd be a little miffed.

Business as usual

But as miff inducing at it may be at times, the appropriating, the slighting, the minimizing of marketing, marketing really has nothing to worry about. Marketing folks always have their eyes on the horizon, it's in our nature (which is perfect because what people pay attention to changes over time). Marketers will continue to develop new ways of reaching people and getting them to care, while branding, advertising, and public relations firms claim them as theirs. Marketing could try to stop this subtle propaganda campaign, but what's winning a battle when you're winning the war? We're all in the communications business, and as always is the case, there will be competition. Working together is really what we should be doing because the most successful brands do well when advertising and public relations support marketing.

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