What Marketing Is NOT

What Marketing is NotMy recent post  of marketing definitions with contributions from seventy-two different sources generated a lot of discussion around what marketing is.

One interesting topic that arose in these discussions was the question of what marketing is NOT. As with art, examining negative space provides a different view of marketing and how it functions within an organization.

4 Marketers’ Views of What Marketing Is NOT

I reached out to a number of experienced marketers and asked them what they thought marketing is NOT. Here ‘s what four leading marketing professionals say the flip side of marketing is.

  1. Marketing is not sales. We have a client that considers themselves a marketing organization, but the only thing they do is support sales. We’ve spent a lot of time educating them on what it is that makes a marketing organization and what they’re doing is not it. Gini Dietrich – Chief Executive Officer, Arment Dietrich, Inc.
  2. Marketing is not hard. It’s complex. But it’s not hard. Find people who your product or service could help and provide them with information that helps them make a buying decision. Jason Falls Social Media Explorer

  3. Marketing is not sales. Marketing certainly supports sales, but its scope is much, much broader than that. Marketing is conversation, communications, branding, advertising, an image and a voice, it’s customer support and assistance. It’s listening and responding. Marketing encompasses every single aspect of an organization’s image to the public, its customers, prospects, partners and community – even to its own employees and internal constituencies. Rebecca Lieb – Author of The Truth About Search Engine Optimization

  4. Marketing is not “creative.” I commonly hear from students who say they don’t view themselves creative enough to be in marketing. Certainly there is a creative side of execution, but the real heart of marketing is the customer insight that comes through research, data, and analytical tools. Mark W. SchaeferExecutive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Author of The Tao of Twitter

7 Functions marketing is NOT

Here’s my perspective on what marketing is NOT. As much as marketing perceives that it drives the enterprise, I’ve identified seven functions that are not marketing. (Some of these points are similar to those of my marketing colleagues above.)
  1. Marketing is not sales. Marketing focuses on attracting appropriate prospects, developing warm sales leads, and providing supporting materials to encourage purchase. But the actual execution of these sales, whether in a store by a clerk, in an inbound call center or in the field by an assigned sales professional, is the responsibility of the sales function. (The exception is ecommerce and direct marketing where there’s often no actual salesperson involved.)
  2. Marketing is not customer service. As a firm’s customer facing representatives, customer service responds to customer needs across platforms and channels. Customer service and marketing have a strong working relationship since agents must understand the ins and outs of every promotion and be able to close and upsell prospects. And customer service can be an invaluable source of timely customer feedback.
  3. Marketing is not creative (or graphic arts). While marketing content and communications often need creative and graphic input, marketing focuses on the broader strategy and tactics aligned with business goals and building customer relationships. Marketing is responsible for branding but it usually does not execute the creative that develops the brand, logo and related collateral and advertising.
  4. Marketing is not product support. Marketing usually does not provide day-to-day product support. With the help of various social media formats, what marketing can do is create useful and engaging post-product support content. To be executed well, marketing needs a product management staff who have deep product expertise.
  5. Marketing is not senior management’s personal publicity machine. Marketing is responsible for creating and supporting corporate thought leadership. But, contrary to what some senior executives would like you to believe, marketing isn’t a personal publicity machine focused on getting one or more executives in the public limelight. For these efforts, executives should hire their own publicity agents.
  6. Marketing is not crisis management. Crisis management, especially in today’s 24/7 news cycle, often falls under the umbrella of real-time PR. The reality is, when done well, crisis management needs to cross many corporate functions including senior management, customer service, legal, human resources, operations and investor relations as well as marketing.
  7. Marketing is not human resources. Marketing’s ability to promote a company to prospective employees and to support HR communications are important elements within the overall communications function. But human resources is still ultimately responsible for these functions.

While marketing drives and supports sales, it is usually someone else’s job to close the deal. Marketing, at its core, is about developing the strategies and tactics that support achieving an organization’s goals by building relationships with prospects, customers and the public. But others usually execute these strategies and tactics.

What do you think marketing is not? Why do you feel this way? Please add to the discussion in the comment section below.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
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