Marketing is a subject that’s very often misunderstood by many of us who are not directly involved in it. There are many misconceptions around what marketing teams do, especially in relation to the art of selling. There are, however, some key things to understand that can help clear up this confusion considerably and will help in your every day understanding of what marketing and marketeers are actually all about and what they’re trying to achieve.

1. Marketing is not sales.

Sales is the specific skill or act of closing a deal or brokering a customer’s commitment to enter into a deal or make a purchase. The skillset for sales people can be considerably different from that of the marketeer, although a good appreciation of each discipline will help both the seller and the marketeer in their respective roles.

2. Marketing is more about branding and profiling.

The marketeer will know how to build a successful brand image and how to raise the profile of a brand within its target market. Brand image is everything in some markets. The marketeer can help create a brand or image that is saleable, allowing a the sales person or team to then trade directly on that image.

3. Marketing is about identifying the requirement.

Marketing provides a company with the data it needs to understand what the marketplace needs and therefore what it needs to supply. It’s all very well having great product ideas but if there is no marketplace ‘pull’ for them, they will not sell.

Service companies need to know what services their customer sector needs; manufacturers need to know what goods or features their consumers want now and in the future. Just look at the Sinclair C5 from the 1980s – it was a great, simple idea but it ultimately had no market and failed.

4. Marketing is about creating the ‘pull’.

Creating the ‘pull’ is about making the market, not the individual customer necessarily, recognise the need for the product or service on offer. Some of the most successful marketeers have been able to create ‘customer pull-through’ resulting in the creation of a market around a specific perceived requirement. Just look at the all the products that you’re told you need to make your life easier. These products were marketed and we, as consumers, recognized a benefit, thus giving the product a market value. Just think: how did you manage without an electric toothbrush!?

5. Marketing is about understanding your target audience.

The market for each product and service is invariably different. The marketeer exists to classify the market by demographic, wealth, requirement and any other factor that may be appropriate. The marketeer will analyze the market and provide profiles of potential customers that will allow a company to design its products or services to have the right level of features, functionality, price or quality for that specific market. In the car world, just think about whether the same people are out there looking at buying Audis as well as Protons: it generally doesn’t happen. They are both built to different specifications, quality levels and ultimately, price. The respective marketeers have analyzed the market and determined what their potential customer base will accept and actively look for.