Marketing is the activity (because a process by definition might be more passive than an ACTivity) of sensing the need, identifying the mass appeal and addressing both through a perceptive understanding of the context, better than the available competition. What this really means, I shall elucidate shortly, but I would like to take the reader through my short but eventful journey towards this definition.
What I’ve understood through my experience with the M word is that it really is not some concept alien to me, but an essential part of how I have learnt to address things in life. I also believe that it is not just me, and marketing is in fact built into our nature, as humans, to address our most essential needs. As adults we market ourselves to prospective mates. As children we learn to market prospective spending on picnics, toys and games to our parents. As students, we market our half-finished projects to our teachers, in the hopes of securing better grades. Everyone has answered that one question in an examination that they knew nothing about. If a helpful friend is not at hand, or the invigilator is too strict, we pen down our best shot at an answer and pray with extreme (and sudden) sincerity to our respective gods.
We strive to sense what would be required from the answer. Maybe the physics teacher would like to see an answer that reflects good understanding of the question. Maybe they’d be too bored to go through every word. We think of the things that’d appeal to physics teachers and teachers in general. Let us include a couple of equations, maybe a circuit diagram or two and after all which teacher doesn’t like neat handwriting, right? Then we try to contextualize the entire process; it is a question on thermodynamics. A circuit diagram won’t make sense. Let us put in… maybe a good looking graph instead. The teacher is rather fond of the zeroth law, why not write it in, just in case.
Marketing doesn’t seem to be very different. The more number of “maybe(s)” we can eliminate, the better chances we have at success. Good research and a sound content developed in line with it, will help us mitigate a lot of this a
mbiguity, but the market is as uncertain as our chances of passing with such an answer. Here we need to rely most on our ability to sense what is needed. Every need ultimately is driven by our four primal drivers, and we must learn to prioritize based on them about what we choose to address. Since our markets maybe large and diverse demographically, we need to know the common grounds of appealing to the senses and sensibilities of our customers. Both these activities have to be done with respect for the context we are operating in, and they’ve to be done better than all the competition around us.
Marketing is also something that is not passive. You cannot wait for a time in the lifecycle of your offering (product, service, etc.) when you will choose to actively start marketing. It is not the part of a linear timeline, but an intricate feedback loop. It must simultaneously be sensitive enough to provide feedback for updates while actively selling the current version of our offering, based on insights from the responses from the market. Marketing is intensely dynamic.
Thus, in conclusion, marketing is an activity which calls upon our dynamism in sensing the needs of our audience, finding a common ground or mass appeal that will endear our offering to them and to contextually address both of them in a manner that distinguishes us from our competition, making a MARK on our MARKet.