Marketing is a relatively recent concept. At best, it is spreading the good news about a good thing, which wouldn't reach its full potential without some engineered word of mouth. At its worst, it is the practice of fabricating value for useless things. Unfortunately, most marketing tends toward the latter (unless you ask a marketing consultant.) It is joined at the hip with the concept of advertising.

The art of successfully Marketing a product involves inflating its good points and avoiding the bad points completely. So, for example, let's market E2:

We have to start with some facts. Contrary to popular belief, even marketing people have to start with some element of truth:

1. E2 holds information about stuff
2. You can search for stuff
3. stuff is linked to other stuff
4. You can write stuff yourself
5. You can chat to other people
6. You are given 'points' (of no real world value) for writing an article, or when other people vote for your article.

But facts are boring. You can't sell anything with facts alone! So, we inflate the truth a little:

1. E2 will soon contain all information you ever wanted to know about everything!
2. It's easy to find the information that you're looking for!
3. Hypertext™ links make it easy to locate related articles!
4. You can expand upon the wealth of information already in the database. Contribute your articles and they'll be read by thousands of people from around the world.
5. You can receive online support and advice from other friendly noders!
6. Become a proficient writer and progress through the levels to gain power and influence!

With enough practice, you too will be selling sand in the Sahara... :)
Purvis, I completely agree that brands are marketed in the way that you describe, but I stand by my claims for particular products and services. I was inspired to write the WU above when I looked through a mortgage leaflet at lunchtime, which even twisted the bad points so that they'd sound good to an uninformed observer.

Another good example is the website for my cable internet provider, which claimed that speeds were ...up to 20 times faster than a dial-up connection and then had a footnote to say "at 28.8bps", which as far as I know, nobody has been using for at least three years...
worldwide, again, I agree with you to an extent. Our Marketing Director would probably shoot me if he read my writeup and there are, of course, two sides to every story.

However, I think what you've done there is, you've given us the Marketing term for Marketing, thereby enhancing the validity of my own writeup. ;)

Let's convert your statement back from marketing-speak back to the facts, and add in the bits that were missed out: (This is not a personal attack!)

"Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers' requirements profitably" should be "Marketing is the thing responsible for identifying, creating and satisfying consumers' perceived desires profitably"
Actually, marketing in the contemporary world has pretty much ceased to have anything to do with extolling the virtues of a product, and rather has everything to do with presenting a lifestyle fiction. It is an attempt to make potential consumers feel that their personality / image / love life / family life / friendships will be complete with a certain product, or more precisely incomplete without it.

Almost no ads, save for those at 4am for the latest Ron Popeil invention, actually tout the benefits of a certain product in the way PyramidHead outlines above. What ads do mostly is present images of people - complete happy beautiful fictional people with unobtainable unreal lives - images that have the effect of making potential consumers feel anxious and defective when confronted with their own less than perfect state by comparison. If the marketing is successful, the consumers then sub-consciously desire the product in order to pathetically strive for the unobtainable fictional state presented.

So it can be said that the purpose and function of marketing is to make and keep potential consumers unhappy and anxious, and the more successful a marketing campaign, the more unhappy and anxious it will make the public.

A consummate example is the marketing of SUVs. By any account, these are terrible automobiles to own. The fuel economy is atrocious, they are prone to rolling over and bursting into flames, and insurance rates are sky high. For the purposes that 95% of their owners use them, i.e. hauling kids around to soccer practice, a mini van would be a much safer and more cost effective option. However, the actually qualities of the vehicles are not the features of the ads. Rather, marketers have homed in on a particular vulnerability of the demographic group that would potentially drive them. In this demographic group, although their narrow pathetic lives consist solely of commuting to mind numbing jobs and driving screaming kids around, they like to see themselves as having other qualities. Thus the SUV is marketed as an 'off road' vehicle that exciting-type people who like camping and mountain biking would drive, and the consumers who purchase them do so in an attempt to complete their defective self-image in such a way by association, even though they never use the vehicles for that purpose.

Not wanting to tread on any toes but this node would be better titled 'Popular marketing misconceptions'. The writeups contained herein describe a small part of marketing more accurately described as advertising. The Uk Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) offers the following definition:

"Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers' requirements profitably"

This definition clearly shows the difference between the simplified view of marketing as 'spreading the good news' or the antiquated Webster definition of simply buying and selling in a market compared with the modern view of marketing as an essential function of any business in identifying the wants, needs and interests of target markets and to deliver the desired products more effectively and efficiently than competitors.

It is an important distinction to make between the simple act of advertising and selling a product which has been the traditional view of a marketers role, and the accelerated responsibility of the marketing function in todays business as the driving force behind most major corporate decisions. Indeed the paradigm shift in marketing concepts in recent times has been the idea that everyone at every level of the business is involved in the marketing process.

The view of the marketer as an advertiser or a salesman is obsolete. Marketing is a highly evolved and scientific process which enables a business to develop an accurate understanding of their current and forecast position in relation to their Customers, competitors and the industry in which they operate as a whole. Increasing competition and other constraints on growth in many industries mean it is often the understanding of these factors which makes the distinction between successful and unsuccessful companies.

There is a wealth of information about marketing on the interwebnet thingy, have a look at

which offers a beginner’s guide to the major concepts.

The definition that is widely accepted in academia is:
"Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives."
by American Marketing Association

Almost all people who took a course titled Introduction to Marketing are forced to memorize this definition as well as the 4Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Product is the tangible (a can of soda) or intangible (car wash) item or service that you are trying to sell.
Price is the monetary value that the customers are asked to pay in exchange of the product
Place is the distribution efforts that you are making in order to sell the product.
Promotion is the efforts (other than distributing) that enables the customers become aware of your product.

Marketing people

In the course of a few years, I have been able to observe several Marketing Departments from the perspective of various Engineering and R&D departments. There seems to be three distinctive types of marketing:

Type I marketing

The marketing staff go out into the marketplace, do surveys and interview clients and potential clients to find out what they want in a product. They come back and have meetings with engineering in which they present their findings, and discuss the manufacturing possibilities, eventually agreeing on what product improvements can be made, or what new products can be manufactured.

Type II marketing

The marketing staff go out into the marketplace, do surveys and interview clients and potential clients to find out what they want in a product. They come back, have meetings with the advertising department and design ads which make it seem like the company's products meet or exceed the clients' needs.

Type III marketing

The marketing staff go out into the marketplace, have lunch with and interview marketing staff from other companies to find out who is leaving and who wants to change jobs. They come back to the office and write emails and internal "newsletters" that talk about the "great" new leads and "exciting" opportunities that exist for the products. A few weeks later, they quit and go to another company.

Mar"ket*ing, n.


The act of selling or of purchasing in, or as in, a market.


Articles in, or from, a market; supplies.


© Webster 1913.

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