The Definition Of Marketing

Here’s the simplest, most jargon-free, definition of marketing you’re ever likely to come across:

If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday’, that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.

And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

And if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.


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27 thoughts on “The Definition Of Marketing”

  1. Alan, Love the approaches you take. First self motivation. Your articles are straight forward and hit home. Second and most important your “THE 1 ONE PAGE MARKETING PLAN”. Simple yet straight forward ideas that get you where you want to be in the least amount of time. I was struggling with my website BIGTIME for a long time! Now, just putting the finishing touches (photography-wise) on it. Reduced copy to say just what has to be said and added landing pages to announce each facet of my business (custom manufacturing and engineering). You’ve provided the earthly inspiration. Now I pray!

  2. I loved this! I think it clearly articulates the various aspects of marketing in a very simple way for non-marketing people to understand.

    1. Voila! C’est tout! Best definition ever. It sticks.
      No PHD required. Refreshing to be able to read a definition without reaching for the dictionary or worse – having to use Google.

  3. Great book, thanks Alan. Already one of my favorites in the library. Your book is spot on and full of what I like to call “meat and potatoes.”

  4. And if your circus prides itself on leaving very little impact on the planet, and you call it “The Eco Circus” and your promotion hire walks the elephant AROUND the flower bed at the Mayors House, the Mayor thanks you, and the press does a story about THAT … and your Sales people point out that your bags of feed say “grown without pesticides” and the vendors fill up your reusable container or sell you one, and all your food waste gets composted on-site, and your slogan is “Walking the tight rope to sustainability!” and your logo and design carry through this sentiment in their communication tone….

    That’s Branding.

  5. I recently heard a similar definition referencing chat up approaches for students at university. Very amusing but not appropriate for business use! This version is excellent.. thank you!

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