1.1 Why It Matters: What Is Marketing?

Learning Objectives

Explain what marketing is and how it’s used

When you hear the term “marketing,” what comes to mind?

Based on what you know about marketing right now, what one word would you use to describe it? Take a moment to write it down. We’ll come back to it shortly.

Marketing is a tool used by companies, organizations, and people to shape our perceptions and persuade us to change our behaviour. The most effective marketing uses a well-designed strategy and a variety of techniques to alter how people think about and interact with the product or service in question. Less-effective marketing causes people to turn off, tune out, or not even notice.

Why should you care about marketing? Marketing is an ever-present force in modern society, and it can work amazingly well to influence what we do and why we do it. Consider these points:

Marketing sells products.

Results of an Amazon "recommendation." The text reads, "Recommendations for You," and shows five book covers: Little Lost Unicorn, Unicorn Wings, Glitter Tattoos: Unicorns, 50 State Commemorative Quarters, Unicorns Coloring Book.
Screenshot of Amazon recommendation engine

Marketing changes how you think about things.

You can view the text alternative for “Best Commercial EVER!!!”. (opens in new window)
https://oerfiles.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/WM+Marketing/Transcriptions/BestCommercialEver_alternative.txt

Marketing creates memorable experiences.

You can view the transcript for “IKEA BIG Sleepover”. (opens in new window)
https://oerfiles.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/WM+Marketing/Transcriptions/IKEABIGSleepover.txt

Marketing alters history.

You can view the transcript for “Reagan 1984 Election Ad (Bear in the woods)” (opens in new window)
https://oerfiles.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/WM+Marketing/Transcriptions/CommercialReagan1984ElectionAd_transcript.txt
or the text alternative for “Reagan 1984 Election Ad (Bear in the woods)”. (opens in new window)
https://oerfiles.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/WM+Marketing/Transcriptions/CommercialReagan1984ElectionAd_alternative.txt

Marketing can use a variety of elements to shape perceptions and behaviour: words, images, design, experiences, emotions, stories, relationships, humor, sex appeal, etc. And it can use a wide variety of tactics, from advertising and events to social media and search-engine optimization. Often the purpose is to sell products, but as you can see from the examples above, the goal of any specific marketing effort may have little to do with money and much more to do with what you think and do.

By the time you finish this course, you will have a broader understanding of marketing beyond TV commercials and billboards and those annoying pop-up ads on the websites you visit. You’ll learn how to see marketing for what it is. You’ll learn how to be a smart consumer and a smart user of marketing techniques when the need for them arises in your life.

Go back to that word you jotted down to describe marketing at the top of the page. Now that you’ve had a little more exposure to the concept, what word comes to mind to describe “marketing”? Is it the same word you chose earlier, or are you starting to think differently?

Stay tuned for more!

License

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Introduction to Marketing I (MKTG 1010) by NSCC & Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.