What is Marketing?

Marketing is for everyone including you!

Let’s set the stage for our discussion. Marketing is not just for business folks. It’s for everyone, including you! Marketing is universal, broad and multi-dimensional. Many people are immediately turned off when they hear the word marketing, since they assume it has nothing to do with them, and it is just for business folks. They assume one needs formal business training to have an intelligent discussion with marketing folks, who use words like market size, segmentation, pricing, positioning. This is a false and myopic view of marketing, and in my opinion, limits most people’s capability to grow, both personally and professionally.

What makes me and my approach to marketing different is that I see marketing as universal, broad and multi-dimensional. I believe it can be applied to improve any area of life, to get a job, build a relationship, get an internship, or get a promotion. This is what makes marketing stimulating, powerful and exciting! The only reason we associate marketing with the word business is because this is the most lucrative and abundant use of marketing. It is what generates revenue for any business. And as we all know, money always gets attention.

But the real question is, if marketing works so well in the business world, why can’t we take the same fundamental principles and concepts and apply them to the real world? This is the basis of my thesis, teaching, and philosophy, and what I am ultimately all about: Take the principles of marketing and apply them to real world situations. Take marketing from the business world to the real world. I truly believe that marketing can be and should be used by anyone at anytime, in any area of life. This is why I have committed myself to writing a book and these special series of reports. I want to unleash the true power of marketing for anyone who wants to use it to their advantage.

Formal Definition of Marketing

So, what is marketing? Well let’s start with the formal definition of marketing from the American Marketing Association, which defines it marketing as follows:

“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.”

For those of you who have never had any exposure to marketing, this definition can be a little overwhelming. Don’t worry, you are not alone! I believe this definition is too complex and does not reflect the true nature of marketing. That’s why, several years ago, I started a mission to de-mystify marketing and simplify it so anyone can understand and relate to it, and use it in any area of their life. I want to boil marketing down to its bare essence.

At Harvard Business School, marketing is defined as “demand generation.” I like this, and for awhile was convinced it was the best definition I could find, until one night I asked myself, “But how do you generate demand?”

There has to be a need. Demand is created when a lot of people need something. This also fits with all the marketing texts that teach marketing is about finding a need and fill it. And it’s what I was taught at Business School.

So it all made sense, until one day I asked myself another question, “I wonder what determines if people need something?” Then I got the answer: Value! Need emerges
when people place value on something. Value is no more than the level of importance that people place on something.

In fact if you look at it, value is really no more than a need that has been amplified to the extent that it becomes a want. We all need a better car, we all need more money or a bigger house, but only when this need becomes of value will it happen for us.

So here is the equation:

Needs x Weighted Importance = Value (Want)

The wonderful thing about my finding is that it is universal. People buy products or build business or social relationships because they want to. It is of value to them!

So if marketing is all about being able to successfully sell products, services and ideas, or build relationships, all you need to do is to bring the value to the marketplace. So here is my new definition of marketing:

“Marketing is the process of bringing value to the marketplace.”

In the case of business, the thing of value is your product, service or idea. In the case of getting a job, it is your skill sets. In the case of building a personal relationship, it is your personality or persona. At the end of the day, it has to be of value: Value to others.

Some may have made the connection between marketing and value, but most people will miss it. Value is an immensely complex subject. Value is relative; value is in the eye of the beholder, value changes over time. I will be talking extensively about value in another one of my special reports.

What people value, or place importance on depends on their values.

Values are our filters in life – they determine if you are prepared to evaluate anything. What determines your values? Upbringing, exposure, religious, spiritual, and social beliefs all play a part in the way we behave.

Your values determine the way you evaluate your world.

Upon further research and reading I found the concept was actually pioneered by Andrew Carnegie, America’s first reported billionaire. He said, “To get what you want, you need to help others get what they want. For you to become rich, you must enrich the lives of others.” In my opinion, Carnegie was America’s first marketing genius. As I say in my book, value is the heart of marketing. But it’s a tricky concept, and that’s why we have a specialized set of tools to use to get our hands around value. These tools are called marketing. It pins down value, defines it, and communicates it in the most effective way to those who need to hear it.

Let’s Meet the Tools of Marketing

In my book I developed the concept of the house of marketing, shown in the figure below:


The house is built on three pillars, with three different tools:

I will be talking about these tools extensively in another special report, but for now, you can see that the tools/pillars have a very clearly defined role and responsibility in creating and supporting the house of marketing (value).

Market research helps us understand the perceived value people want. Marketing communications or advertising helps us communicate to the market the perceived value, and sales is no more than the process of convincing people that we have something of value for them. If you use the tools of marketing effectively and correctly you cannot just build a house, but a mansion!

When you bring true perceived value to the marketplace, how can you go wrong? You’ll be able to get what you want; since you now know the world pays for value. To be an effective marketer, all you need to do is to be externally focused on how you can add value to others. And you can use the tools in any way to build whatever type of house or mansion you want.

My friends in finance have similar tools they use to determine the financial health of a company. These tools are called P&L, Cash Flow and Balance sheet. I was the first person in the world to define marketing as a set of highly specialized tools and to show how they work together in my book Marketing is King!

May the invisible force be with you!

Although marketing is about bringing value to the marketplace, value that is important to others, most people still think that marketing is about being manipulative, and that marketers are out to take advantage of you.

They will make sarcastic comments like, “he could sell snow to an Eskimo.” But true marketing is not about being manipulative, it is about helping people by bringing to them value that they need, want and appreciate.

Marketing itself cannot, and does not change the physical or chemical properties of any product, service or idea, since it does not even touch it. So to assume that marketing guys can sell anything to anyone is a false assumption, since we cannot change the physical properties of anything. All we can do is to bring out the best properties in things, the intrinsic properties, and show people how they can benefit from it. You see, marketing folks will first identify, uncover or bring to bear the inherent value within a product or service, and then try to denominate, or put this in a context that is useful or valuable to someone else – The market! We cannot make something into what it is not, we can only bring out the value within it, its true value, and show others how they can benefit from it. Our goal is to convert intrinsic value (the value within something) to perceived value (value important to the marketplace). When it happens, we create an invisible force that drives the buying decision.

You see, marketing folks will first identify, uncover or bring to bear the inherent value within a product or service, and then try to denominate, or put this in a context that is useful or valuable to someone else – The market! We cannot make something into what it is not, we can only bring out the value within it, its true value, and show others how they can benefit from it. Our goal is to convert intrinsic value (the value within something) to perceived value (value important to the marketplace). When it happens, we create an invisible force that drives the buying decision.

The inventor of dental floss was a New Orleans dentist named Levi Spear Parmly, who discovered dental floss in the early 1800’s. It replaced silk, which was used at the time to clean teeth. But dental floss was unavailable to the consumer until the Codman and Shurtleft Company started producing human-use unwaxed silk floss in 1882.

But it was not until marketing giant Johnson and Johnson Corporation came along that sales of dental floss took off. In 1898, J&J patented dental floss and started to market it. But it is not as a piece of string (which basically it is) but as a dental hygiene product.

Please note that Johnson and Johnson marketing folks did not lie or change the chemical or physical properties of the string. They simply showed how these properties could be used or applied for the benefit of others. This gave this piece of string incredible value (invisible force) in the marketplace.

So you see that marketing is not about making something out to be what it is not, it is about identifying the true intrinsic value in something and then relating this to the perceived value that the market desires. This is why I love marketing so much, it is all about looking for the good in people, products or things, and how this can help others! We are positive thinkers!

Bringing out the best in any product, service or idea does not mean over- or under-selling it, just bringing out the “true value” within it. I talk about this extensively in my book, and explain why and where the word marketing came from. The first four letters of marketing spell Mark and the first six letters of marketing spell Market. The goal of true marketing is to be on the mark of what the market wants. Then you are doing true marketing!


Many overstep the mark or over-represent their product, service or ideas, while others under-step the mark. As such, they do not bring true value to the marketplace, and consequently are not paid what they are truly worth, and do not get the best price.

Marketing is my passion and exciting for me because it is all about positive thinking, about getting every ounce of value out of any product service, idea, person or action, and not settling for less.

Marketing is a set of tools that can be used or abused. True Marketing cannot change something or make it something that it is not. It simply brings out the best and true value of any person, product or thing. It is the invisible force.

True marketers every thought, focus and action is on the betterment of other people’s lives. Money, wealth and prosperity are simply the result of doing this. It is only by bringing others what they want, desire and believe to be important that you will get what you want.

Here’s how invisible force can be used in a real world situation to get what you want, while helping others in the process. Let’s say I am looking for a job, so I come to you and say, “I need a job, as I am unemployed and have a mortgage.

I have two car payments and two kids in private schools.” Would you give me a job?

You just can’t give me money without me bringing you some value in return. So let’s try it another way. Approach the situation the way a true marketing professional would, by looking at the product or service being offered, finding the true value within it, and offering it in a way that appeals to others.

So instead I say, “I notice your sales have been flat over the last six months. My area of expertise is marketing. I would like to show you how I can put formalized marketing systems in your company, proven to generate an increase in sales revenue for you. In my last company I got a 70% increase in sales by doing this exact thing. Would this be of interest to you?”

Notice how many times I used the word you, notice how I positioned and presented my case in the context of interest to you. Now I probably will get what I want (a job), but only because I was able to bring you the value that you wanted first.

Many people assume that just because they think they have a good product, service or idea that other people should feel the same way. They think because they like someone, the other person should feel the same way. It’s back to front thinking! One of the worst mistakes you can make in marketing is to assume. Just ask!

Just try the whole thing in reverse. For example, you want to be a really interesting person. What do you do? You simply become interested in others. Try this at your next party. Go up to someone and ask them, “Tell me about yourself.” Spend all evening just listening (instead of talking). You will probably be the most interesting person at the party!

Reverse thinking is the absolute secret to marketing!
Put other people’s needs, desires and interests ahead of yours. Most people are self-centered. They think the world revolves around them, so they struggle.

We are all here to serve each other. If you are really in a “marketing mood” as I call it, you will want to listen to other people’s views, thoughts and opinions. Once you make this mind shift from being self-serving to wanting to serve others, you will find a whole new world of opportunity awaits you.

Marketing is a way of life!

I hope that you are beginning to see that marketing is not just some academic concept, and you don’t need to be in business owner or an MBA to start to practice marketing. All you need to know is that marketing is about bringing value to the marketplace.

Saying simple and kind words to your spouse or friends in the morning can be of tremendous value. It makes their day and is something of value.

If you are successful in your business, social, and personal life, you are a good marketer. Your customers and friends love you, because you bring value on a regular basis. They like to be around you and look forward to hearing from you.

The true marketer constantly thinks about the needs of others. Marketing is not an academic concept or theory. It is a way of life, an attitude of continually looking at ways of adding value to others lives. Business marketing is about making the world a better place!

The word “innovation” simply means to add value. In the past, we had to go to the library to do research. Today we have high speed Internet. In the past, if you brought a product you kept it. Today you have perhaps a 30-60-90 day money back guarantee. The point is that marketing folks always are looking at additional ways to add value to your life, to make it easier and more fun. As you know now, marketing is all about you! Marketing does not take advantage of others or manipulate. Only those who add maximum value will survive. To win the game of marketing, always focus on adding value to others at each and every opportunity.


Thank you for allowing me to share with you a “fresh perspective” on marketing with you. I hope you have enjoyed our journey as we have taken a serious look at the anatomy of marketing. It is not just an academic concept, it is for you! It is all about getting every ounce of value within you, your product, your idea, your service and showing others how they can benefit from it. This way it is your invisible force.

Remember, marketing is about doing well! We do not lie, we do not make out things to be what they are not, and we simply highlight true value for another’s benefit!