Marketing. What's that? - FOR THE LOVE OF BRANDING Marketing. What's that? - FOR THE LOVE OF BRANDING

Marketing. What’s that?

Marketing Feb 01, 2017 145 Comments

Marketing. What's that?


Magic word.
It can do anything.
It can get anything.
It can solve anything.
It can buy anything.
It can sell anything.

We constantly hear: it went well because it has good marketing, or it didn’t go well because it doesn’t have good marketing.

But, do we exactly know what we mean when we use those expresions?
Do we just use them indiscriminately because it’s became such a trendy thing to say?
Are we aware of what we’re talking about when we talk about marketing?

About it, there are thousands of books published, courses, conferences, masters, etc. The offer is unlimited. Does marketing really have so much to offer?



The definiton of marketing has been in the dictionaries way before it appeared as a daily concept in our society. Why did businesses then suddenly put marketing as such an important part of their strategies? How did markets work before marketing existed?

It seems that when marketing is applied in the right way it can lead to surprisingly succesful results. As a matter of fact, we might even choose the presidents of our nations depending on how well an electoral campaign has been managed from a marketing perspective, which turns the marketing director of the winning campaign as the new guru and hero of the election. So, are we electing a candidate/president as a marketing product or as a real LEADER? It’s obvious that an electoral campaign has to be perfectly structured, but so does the kitchen in my house…

How are we affected by marketing on a daily basis?
Do we elect/choose depending on our own criteria/needs? Or is there someone else who decides for us?
Does marketing empowers the virtues/values/qualities, etc. of the person or product or does it hide its lacks and weaknesses?


But really… what is marketing?

In my opinion, marketing is a set of actions specifically designed to achieve a goal and they’re directed towards any group of people with the ability to buy or decide.

The final receiver of a marketing campaign will always be the group of people that responds positiviely to that stimulus.


What is it used for?

From a marketing campaign a benefit is always expected, whether it’s economical or personal.


Which are its applications?

Marketing may be applied in any sector where there’s a potential ability to make business with. Marketing may also be applied on a personal level.


How did markets work prior to the appearance of marketing in our society?

Marketing, as a business concept, began to be used in the US at the beggining of the 1960’s. But, how did markets work prior to that?

Since the beginning of time, there wasn’t a so-called market and people would exchange first need products. Selling, buying, etc. would come after on, and they’ve been present in our lifes since somebody (to simplify) wanted to sell something (the smartest one maybe?) and somebody was ready to buy (….?).


The evolution of the implementation of marketing as a business concept in our society may be explained in the three following stages:
First stage:  DEMAND > OFFER (1900 to 1945)

During the first half of the 20th century and after two World Wars (1st World War 1914 to 1918 / 2nd World War 1939 to 1945) population needed everything, starting with the most basic products like food, medicin, paper, soap, fabric, wood, brick, etc.

In this first stage, where demand was larger than offer, the implementation of marketing as a business concept didn’t seem necessary.

Second stage:  DEMAND ≈ OFFER (1946 to 1960)

Once those first needs had been achieved, demand and offer started to level. As a consequence of a better employment stability and the economic growth, markets introduced new products and services beyond the very first need ones: leisure, sports, design, cars, home appliances, etc. Potential buyers were ready to spend and invest in order to achieve a better life quality, social status, etc.

In this second stage, and because demand and offer were quite in the same level, the implementation of marketing as a business concept still seemed unnecesary.

Third stage:  DEMAND < OFFER (1960 - Present)

We reach the 1960’s and marketing as a business concept starts appearing in markets and society. Why? There was an imperative willigness to sell. With a population with a higher income, ready to spend, buy, invest, etc. companies start designing campaigns in order to sell more, and more of everything, and thus increasing their sales and benefits.

Got money to spend? Don’t worry, I’ll make you spend it.

In order to achieve those goals it was mandatory to seduce the potential buyer with appealing and tempting campaigns, focusing on creating needs that the population didn’t have up until then. For example: home appliances, numerous TV screens per house, a car for each member of the familiy, second residences, holidays abroad, etc. In a few words, putting in people’s minds the culture and the need of spending money.

In this stage, where the offer surpasses demand, is when marketing comes up as a business concept. Companies and organizations start facing a fierce competition, and it’s necessary to implement a set of commercial strategies in order to gain visibility in the market and reach the consumer.



By observing the evolution of consuming in those 3 stages, we could conclude that marketing emerges in our society as a business strategy in the markets as a consequence of (Fig. 1):


Emergence of Marketing

Fig 1. Emergence of marketing

The 3 stages introduced above are directly related with the GWP per capita, as shown in Maddison’s data (see Fig. 2). We can see how the GWP starts growing exponentially by the end of the 2nd World War (1945), thus entering a stage where consumers can afford and want to buy more. This fact, is directly related with the implementation of marketing as a business concept by organizations in order to face competition and improve their position in the markets.


GWP per capita, 1820-2008. Data source: Maddison (2008). The five data points from 1820 to 1950 are Maddison’s estimates.

Fig 2. GWP per capita, 1820-2008. Data source: Maddison (2008). The five data points from 1820 to 1950 are Maddison’s estimates.

At this point, we already have a well trained population, willing to spend, buy and consume.

Companies and organizations, aware of this population’s new lifestyle, put great efforts to create marketing campaigns, appliable to any product or service. There’s well organized marketing campaigns, profesionally structured with the goal to put in the market a reliable product that can find the adecuate consumer. There’s another marketing though, which goal is to obtain the maximum economic benefit in the least time, with wild ‘leg-pulling’ campaigns.

Thus, is there a good and a bad marketing? In upcoming articles we’ll talk about different types of marketing and explain their differences.

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Carmen Sancho

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