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What is Marketing? Dispelling Myths.

What the heck is marketing? Not even Google and the American Marketing Association agree on the definition. With so many misconceptions, mixed messages, and knowledge gating it is challenging to find answers.

This blog will go through the various definitions and marketing myths to shed some light on what marketing is, and is not.


Definitions are meant to provide people with a basis for a common understanding. Let's look at the current definitions of marketing:

Google's Definition of Marketing:

"The activity or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising."

Wikipedia's Definition of Marketing:

"Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services."

American Marketing Association's Definition of Marketing (2017):

"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."

Hubspot's Answer to What is Marketing:

"Marketing refers to any actions a company takes to attract an audience to the company's product or services through high-quality messaging. Marketing aims to deliver standalone value for prospects and consumers through content, with the long-term goal of demonstrating product value, strengthening brand loyalty, and ultimately increasing sales."

Each of these definitions touches on at least one of the various aspects of the discipline, including the 7Ps of marketing; product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence. However, the 7Ps of the marketing mix are mainly used for planning a business' marketing practices, not necessarily outlining the details of the execution or the definition of success.

Why isn't there a clear definition of marketing?

Here are some factors that contribute to the lack of a universal definition of marketing:

1. The Evolution of Marketing

Marketing has evolved significantly over time and continues to do so. New technologies, platforms, and strategies are constantly emerging, which means that the definition of marketing is always evolving. This makes it difficult to create a fixed, universal definition of the discipline.

2. Diverse Perspectives

Marketing can be viewed from many different perspectives, such as that of a consumer, a marketer, a business owner, or an academic researcher. Each of these perspectives and roles have a slightly different definition of what marketing entails, further complicating the creation of a universal definition.

3. Contextual Nature

Marketing is highly contextual and can vary widely depending on the industry, market, audience, role, and offering to name a few factors. This means that a universal definition of marketing may not be applicable in all situations or contexts.

4. Broad Scope

Marketing is a broad discipline that encompasses several business areas, including market research, product development, pricing, promotion, and distribution. It has an impact on nearly every aspect of a business. This makes it challenging to create a concise and precise definition that captures all the angles of marketing.

5. Complexity

Marketing is a complex and multifaceted discipline that requires a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences, the business goals and structure, as well as the ability to navigate a rapidly changing landscape and analyze data effectively while operating ethically and transparently. The various involvements of marketing can make it difficult for people to fully grasp how marketing works.

There is no universal definition of marketing because of the complexities of the discipline. It is definition can vary depending on context, perspective, and the specific goals and objectives of the organization or individual using it.

Top 10 Common Marketing Myths

Here are ten common myths that contribute to the misunderstandings surrounding marketing:

1. Marketing is the same as advertising.

While advertising is a form of marketing, it is not the only component. Advertisements go hand-in-hand with a variety of other marketing methods. Things like SEO and targeted content are what will drive consumers to continue researching your products and services after they're hooked by an advertisement. Marketing should come before advertising, as advertising is only one example of a marketing tactic.

2. Marketing is all about creativity.

Creativity is an important element in marketing, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Effective marketing requires a combination of creativity, strategic thinking, and data analysis.

3. Marketing is only for big businesses.

Marketing is important for businesses of all sizes, as it helps to create brand awareness, generate leads, and build customer loyalty. Marketing increases your business’s overall potential, builds your reputation, and increases your reach, and is a tool that must be used to ensure your business is the best and most successful it can be. What business doesn't want that?!

4. Marketing is a one-time activity.

Marketing is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and attention. A one-time campaign is unlikely to be effective in the long run. Different campaigns should run for different demographics and individuals in different stages of the marketing hourglass.

5. Marketing is too expensive for small businesses and startups.

There are many low-cost, high-growth opportunity marketing tactics, such as social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing, that can be effective for small businesses and startups. Kasm specializes in startup marketing, making sure all solutions provided are achievable and scalable. With transparency, testing, and expertise, Kasm can move the needle for your business under any budget.

6. Marketing guarantees success.

As much as I would love to pitch marketing as the #1 solution for your business success, I can't. While marketing can help to attract customers and increase sales, there are no guarantees of success. Other factors, such as product quality, an incomplete customer journey, and customer service, also play a role in business success. This is why Kasm gets to know your business before recommending or accepting any services to ensure that the correct steps are taken toward success.

7. Marketing should deliver immediate results.

If you're marketing online, it's true that you'll likely see results more quickly than if you rely more on traditional marketing methods. However, even online marketing takes time to pay off. Typically, a prospect needs to "hear" the company's message at least seven times before they'll take action toward purchasing an offering.

8. Marketing is all about selling products.

Effective marketing is about creating value for customers, building relationships, and meeting their needs and preferences. It is effective for all types of businesses, including B2C, B2B, B2G, and dual-sided marketplaces.

9. Marketing is easy.

Marketing is a complex and multifaceted discipline that requires a unique combination of skills and expertise. It requires ongoing learning and adaptation to be effective. This combination can be exceptionally hard to find for an in-house employee under a strict budget. Outsourced experts can be a cheaper and more feasible option as their services can be covered by government grants. Kasm is qualified under most Canadian (and province-specific) government grants, making outsourcing to our experts more practical than an in-house hire.

10. Marketing is a luxurious money-spend.

A marketing strategy should clearly define the strategy and outline specific goals, target audiences, tactics, and metrics. A well-developed plan alongside proper execution will yield a return on your investment. In today's market, your business needs to stand out both in-person and online (especially over the 'big-guys') if you want to remain relevant and competitive. Fill out Kasm's Contact Form if you're looking for these services.

Marketing can be misunderstood due to a combination of factors, including lack of knowledge, complexity, rapid change, negative perceptions, an unclear desired outcome, and diversity of opinions. Addressing these factors and promoting a more transparent, ethical, and customer-focused marketing approach can help to improve understanding and perception of the discipline.


The lack of a universal definition of marketing is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows for flexibility and adaptability in the discipline. Marketers can tailor their strategies and tactics to the specific needs and goals of their organization or audience, while also taking into account the latest trends and best practices in the field.

Kasm's take is that marketing is about understanding and meeting the needs of customers in a way that is ethical, effective, and sustainable. It involves creating value for customers and building relationships that can drive long-term loyalty and business success. By focusing on the needs and wants of customers, marketers can create meaningful and impactful campaigns that resonate with their target audiences and drive valuable business growth.


Kasm specializes in marketing for startups. If you are interested in working with Kasm, please fill out the contact form below for a free consultation.



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