What is Marketing?

Marketing is a strategic thinking position. It consists of positioning the commercial offer so that it meets the needs of the market, presenting it in the best possible way and communicating to make it known to potential customers. This is the very essence of business.

 All companies do marketing and have an interest in working on their marketing approach, even micro-enterprises. To succeed in setting up a relevant commercial strategy and to personalize the customer relationship. This is how the marketing mission is articulated.

What is Marketing?

The origins of marketing

Its origins date back to post-war United States.

From the 1960s, it developed in Europe with the appearance of:

Mass industrial production,

General improvement in the standard of living,

The emergence of new needs.

The term “marketing” has been translated into French with the words: mercatique and merchandising, expressions that were finally abandoned.

In the 1980s, it became global and accompanied the dissemination of information by television and radio. It extends to products and services sold to organizations.

From the 1990s, its techniques, practices and specificities were perfected.

Since the 2000s, its methods have continued to evolve and new areas have been explored, particularly with the rise of the generation of “digital natives” and the global success of companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon,… It was also in the 2000s that Web Marketing (or e-marketing) emerged. Since 2004, it has been both participative and social, interacting with consumers via social networks. The Internet is used in a participatory marketing logic: the customer/consumer is associated with the development and evolution of the product. He may, for example, be asked to choose a new logo or slogan. Participatory marketing is also called collaborative marketing.


Definition of Marketing:

Marketing is a mission of the company that encompasses actions such as:

Market analysis: consumer needs and segmentation, analysis of competitors and their offers.

Analysis of the positioning to adopt on the market and on each segment.

The construction of a product/service offer in accordance with the market analysis.

The construction of a commercial strategy for each segment.

Direct marketing and indirect marketing

There are two branches of marketing, that is to say two lines of work for the marketer:

Direct marketing                         

Indirect marketing

Direct marketing corresponds to the reflection and actions intended to address a customer segment, that is to say one of the specific targets of the company. Indirect marketing corresponds to reflections and actions aimed at “mass” communication: namely the discourse for the “corporate strategy” which constitutes an untargeted discourse reflecting the activities and values of the company. The corporate strategy is often deployed on the company’s social networks when direct marketing uses media and personalized messages according to each target/segment.

The Marketing Department in the Organization

The marketing professions work in conjunction with, on the one hand, the engineers (development of an offer according to market analyses) and, on the other, the salespeople and CRM project managers (adaptation of the commercial discourse according to feedback from the field sales forces). Marketing also works a lot with independent Web agencies, responsible for applying the digital strategies that have been thought out upstream.

Purpose of Marketing

In the end, marketing is an activity serving:

To position the company and its offer on a market

To define how to address its target clientele, by what speech, what arguments, what image?

The aim is to obtain personalized communication and relationships, fully adapted to the expectations of the consumer.


Professions / Assignments

There are many marketing professions. They bring together the “historical” marketing missions and now the Web marketing missions. We find among others (non-exhaustive list):

Market research and analysis


The work of strategic positioning

The formalization of the commercial strategy

The formalization of the digital communication strategy: what brand speech, what content and what media to use (website, social networks, purchase of keywords, sponsored editorial content, etc.

Marketing tools

Strategic reflections on penetrating a new market or developing on an existing market are an integral part of marketing missions. To respond to these reflections, the marketer has many tools and methods, including:

The marketing mix diagram

Porter’s 5 forces diagram

The Blue Ocean

The benchmark

The Marketing Mix (7Ps)

The marketing mix corresponds to the formalization of the market penetration strategy. It consists of developing the following commercial actions – with budgets and schedules – in accordance with the conclusions of the market study:

Product/service catalog

Price policy

Communication strategy

Distribution strategy

Human resources mobilized

Process in place

Actions developed to reassure the consumer

Porter’s 5 Forces

Porter’s 5 forces are an analysis of the external factors capable of influencing a market in the short, medium or long term. The marketing department must master Porter’s 5 forces to adapt its strategy to these variables:

Existing competition in its sector

New entrants

Bargaining power of the market (weight of consumers)

Substitute products or market

Sectorial regulations, legislation

The Blue Ocean

The Blue Ocean or blue ocean strategy is more of a strategic approach than a marketing tool. It consists for a company to position itself in a market segment where competition is less strong. Positioning will be done through the marketing process. It is used at the strategic positioning stage.

This reflexive method helps the company to identify the segments of activity not yet explored on its market, that is to say not yet competitive (as opposed to the fields of activity located in the “red ocean”). The blue ocean intersects with Porter’s market research, marketing mix, and strengths analyses.

It has been at the origin of major successes such as the development of the Cirque du Soleil or the success of the Espresso pods. To go further, consult what is the blue ocean strategy.


The benchmark represents a method of analyzing an offer with regard to the offer proposed by competitors on the same market.

To go further, see Benchmark: definition, interest and advice

In conclusion, through its missions and its scope, marketing represents the first stage of the commercial strategy. It is above all a position of analysis and reflection: a position that will determine all the actions intended to sell and communicate.

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