Let’s Give Marketing the Definition it Deserves

According to Merriam-Webster Marketing is defined as: "the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service". says marketing is: "the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling".

Investopedia says marketing means: "Marketing as a discipline involves all the actions a company undertakes to draw in customers and maintain relationships with them. Networking with potential or past clients is part of the work too, including writing thank you emails, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls and emails quickly, and meeting with clients for coffee or a meal.

At its most basic, marketing seeks to match a company’s products and services to customers who want access to those products. The matching of product to customer ultimately ensures profitability".


Many companies have a “Director of Marketing & Sales”, would this inherently mean they are basically the same thing?

One of the most frustrating parts of our job is to help entrepreneurs identify the difference between marketing & sales. Yes, they are 2 very different things. While that may seem interesting, what is really going to bake your noodle is that they should never be “directed” by the same persons.

Let me explain.

All 3 of these definitions define marketing, to different degrees, with the thought processes of yesteryear.


I challenge that...

In 2021 marketing should be defined as:

Marketing seeks to match a company with those to which it is most valuable. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Ideal customers for a company’s individual products and/or services
  • Vendors & Partners who can provide a mutually beneficial product or service to the company
  • Team members who possess skills sought by the company

At its most basic, marketing seeks to position the brand in a way that its value is emphasized or even exaggerated to those most relevant to the company in one way or another.

As for the other stuff, I argue that those are sales activities.

Since marketing's job is to build value to the relevant masses, then sales’ job would be to handle the one-on-one relationships with those prospects interested in the company’s products or services. This includes returning calls and emails, meeting with clients for coffee, playing golf with prospects, etc… Any activity that is one-on-one.

Human Resources would typically manage the Team Member prospects, and Operations or Accounting typically handles the Vendor Relationships.

Do you want to give away all of the keys to the castle in advertising or would you prefer to save some meat for the sales conversation?

Of course it is the latter. If you gave away all of the information in your advertising, there would be no need for a conversation. With this conclusion let me ask, how could the person ultimately responsible for closing the sale also provide the partial picture without giving away so much that a conversation is not needed?

If the same person is "directing Sales & Marketing", how much time and energy do you reasonably believe they will spend on positioning the brand to potential team members and vendors? We see it all the time, the director chases sales and figures operations will figure it out after the sale (meaning it isn’t their problem) and they are right. Most Directors of Marketing and Sales salaries are based on sales, so there are typically plenty of sales but the company is barely profitable because the person who should be attracting talent and strategic partnerships is too busy chasing sales.


Matthew Maennche

Chief Strategist

With over two decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience, Matthew Maennche’s views on developing and supporting a successful business are fundamentally different from the norm. As a developer and strategist, Maennche has helped thousands of businesses of all sizes, both domestic and international, take their organizations to the next level.

Matthew also spends time giving back to the local business community as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the local chapter of SCORE.