Why is “marketing” so often used interchangeably with “advertising” when advertising is only part of ONE of the FOUR Ps?  (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion)

Whether you’re talking about marketing or advertising, marketing guru Mitch Joel is right on when he says that people don’t hate marketing.  They hate bad marketing.  If you are not a marketer, the piece of marketing you judge most often is advertising, especially bad advertising, and that is why marketing is a dirty word.

The American Marketing Association says: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”  Too complicated.  Too defined-by-committee for my taste.

There are a ton of marketing definitions out there from the experts… 72 of them here and another ten here.  I tend to favor the notion of value, relationships, and the integrated nature of marketing with the entire business, and I steer away from the notion that marketing is about convincing people of anything or focusing on promotion alone.  Here’s my definition of marketing:

Marketing is the practice of making connections for the purpose of an exchange. The quality of marketing is measured by the value created.

At its core, marketing is about connecting things.  Connect buyers with sellers.  Connect value created with profit derived. Connect brand to a promise.  Connect to consumers through distribution channels.  Connect capabilities with a need.  In order to get the formula right, marketers must be skilled problem solvers that create and nurture many different kinds of connections.

Good marketing should create value for consumers that is at least equal to that it creates for the organizations putting it out there.  Bad marketing simply does not meet this hurdle. I love how marketing expert Jay Baer challenges crowds to make “marketing so useful, people would pay for it.”

Measure marketing activities by the value created (or lost) summed up across all of those connections.  This is Customer Equity (CE).  When we talk about being customer centric, we mean putting the customer at the center of your value model, so measure the impact of marketing activities on customer lifetime value (CLV).   CLV is the single-most important metric to track all the time in today’s complex world of omni-channel interactions and supremely empowered consumers.  It also presents powerful new options for effective marketing automation for those that harness it well.

After all, what is the value of a company if not the sum of net present value for all future transactions with its customers?  Customer lifetime value is it! Getting this metric right is the most powerful tool modern day marketers have.  Be customer centric by connecting every activity back to CLV.  Make more connections, bigger connections, better connections, and be able to measure just how good of a marketing job you are doing.