The use of the term marketing is being stretched.

Advertising is not marketing any more than a shoelace is a shoe.

Words have meaning, though some skew meaning to exaggerate.
Consider the exaggeration of the term marketing.

For example, Mailchimp brands itself as a marketing platform.
They promote their email automation services as marketing.
This claim is an exaggeration that may enhance their image but skews the definition of marketing.
They are not alone.
A better description of many online promotional platforms like Mailchimp is they are an advertising agency.

However, in their defense, the term advertising agency does seem outdated and insufficient.
The “advertising agency” has evolved well beyond print and broadcast advertising.
Many also manage social media, automated email, website design, sales leads, and web search algorithms.

Although they may seek a term that strives to avoid the image of a 1960s ad agency,
the use of the term marketing is a stretch.


Marketing targets a customer and identifies their need or want.
Marketing creates a product or service to fulfill their need or want.
Marketing specifies business strategy.
Marketing administers the strategy plus tactics via the 4Ps of marketing.

1 Product | The need/want customer solution and its competitive edge.
2 Price | Discount, competitive, or premium.
3 Place | The Trade Area (market boundaries) & Trading Area (trading location).
4 Promote | The 4th P specifies the tactics used to sell the product or service.

Promote options include personal sales, eCommerce sites, promotional events, and advertising.
Advertising is a subset of the 4th P-promote. It includes print & broadcast media, websites, social media, email, direct mail, point-of-purchase materials, and billboards.
The exaggerated version of marketing implements a fraction of its definition.

Why does this matter?

Referring to advertising as marketing is not an existential threat.
That would be an exaggeration.
But the principle of correct word use is not an exaggeration.

Words communicate.
Distorted meaning impedes communication.
Impeded communication creates misunderstanding.
Misunderstanding can create chaos.
Chaos sinks organizations, breeds conflict, covers up corruption, inflames hatred, and crushes freedom.
That is an existential threat.

But let’s start with a simple 1st step.

Do not confuse marketing with advertising.

Dr. Richard H. Buskirk my favorite professor defined marketing.
Doc Buskirk’s definition of marketing initiated with the term “Customer Orientation”.
All business activity should aim at and serve the customer.
The following link outlines his all-to-short history: LA Times

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