Every so often I’m reminded that as someone in marketing, I know the difference between marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and promotion. Sometimes when you know something, you forget that other people don’t. It’s the curse of knowledge.
The Marketing Mix is a complex puzzle.
There are plenty of blog posts out there that talk about the 4 P’s of Marketing (the marketing mix): Product, Price, Place, Promotion. I like to add a 5th dimension: Positioning. For me, positioning is such an essential element that informs the entire marketing side of your business. Identifying the place you want to have your brand & product occupy in the marketplace is critical to choosing the right promotions, price, product design, and well, everything you do!
Positioning is an essential piece of the marketing puzzle. Knowing where you want to be in the market is critical. Do you want to be the walmart or nordstroms of your market? Knowing your position also allows you to make significantly better decisions because you can see how it aligns with your position.
For instance, if you’re trying to decide between leasing a space that’s in the upscale end of town vs the hopefully “up and coming” district, and you’re positioning yourself as the finest high end specialty boutique, the decision is clear. You choose the upscale end of town because it reinforces your position to your potential customers and provides information to them on what to expect.
Where does promotion fit in?
There’s a lot of confusion over the difference between marketing and promotion. Even google autofills that in as you begin to type “difference between marketing and promotion” which means it’s a VERY common question. Promotion is a marketing tactic. It’s a part of marketing. It’s kind of like asking what is orange juice. It’s part of the orange, the orange needs it to be an orange.
Promotion is just one part of the marketing mix of: product, price, place (distribution, where can they get it) and promotion.
Promotion is the branch of Marketing that focuses on what you say, how you say it, who you say it to, and when you say it. Advertising and sales are promotional tactics.
But what is marketing?
Capital “M” Marketing is all about making sure you sell the right thing, at the right price, to the right people, at the right place, with in the right way. (Right not meaning perfect or only way-just the effective and appropriate way for you & your product/service)
When we talk about Marketing, we’re most often talking about Marketing Strategy. That’s knowing what you do, why you do it, who you do it for, and how to reach them. Marketing Strategy is about taking your goals (make $x by x date) and charting the path to achieving them. It’s the Big Picture plan that makes sure all of your tactics are useful, efficient, and most of all, effective instead of wasted.
Strategy makes sure you say the right thing to the right people at the right time.
Tactics are how you say it and where. (Facebook vs Instagram, Blogging vs paper mailers, Ebook vs online course)
Tactics are everything you do to be visible from tweets and posts, to facebook, blogging, ads, business cards, website, campaigns, instagram, offering sales, writing a newsletter, giving freebies, putting your name on your vehicle, and a million other things.
It’s a complex dance of knowing your market, your customer, what you want to be seen as, and how you can reach your customer, turning them into paying customers.
Even more simply, Marketing Strategy is Why, Marketing Tactics are How.
How does pricing fit in marketing?
Pricing is the mix of setting the right price that fits your customer, supports your position in the marketplace, turns a profit, and represents value to the customer. See what I mean about Marketing being a complex puzzle? You’ve got to get all these pieces to fit together just right in order to convert people into customers. The better everything is aligned, the more loyalty and life long customers you’re likely to have.
What Marketing is NOT
Just as important as defining what Marketing is, we need to outline a little of what Marketing isn’t.
Marketing is not:
- Research & Development (although there IS marketing research)
Basically, anything related to the operations, actual creation, delivery, or development of a product is NOT Marketing.