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Marketing, Is it selling or advertising?

Kirjoittanut: Seungyeon Shin - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

Principles of Marketing
Philip Kotler
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Marketing?


For me, the strong image of marketing was the “means” to sell a company’s products and services, like commercials or advertisements. But is marketing about selling and advertising?


The Principles of Marketing explains that selling and advertising are just a small part of marketing, but it defines marketing as the process by which companies engage customers, build strong customer relationships, and create customer value in order to capture value from customers in return. (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 6) As you might have noticed, it is all about customers and market. The Process of marketing is explained in FIGURE 1. This essay aims for learning the first and second steps of the figure which are Understanding the marketplace and customer needs and wants, and designing a customer driven-marketing strategy.

FIGURE 1. The marketing process: creating and capturing customer value (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 6)


  1. Understanding the marketplace and customer needs and wants
  • Customer needs and wants

It is highlighted that Marketing is all about creating value for customers. Therefore, we need to understand customers. As a first step, what are your customer’s needs, wants, and demands? Needs are simple: basic needs like food, warmth, clothing, and safety. Also, social needs like a sense of belonging. And wants are the form of human needs that are made by culture and personalities. For example, an American needs food but wants to have Big Mac at Mcdonald’s whereas Mexicans want tacos and tortillas. When consumers get the buying power, the wants become a demand. (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 7)


PICTURE 1. User Persona: a tool to find out customers’ needs and wants


  • Market Offerings: Products, Services, and Experiences

Kotler, Philip, et al define Market offerings as a market where customers can get their needs and wants. It isn’t limited to physical products, but also includes services such as banking, hotel, airline, hotel, etc. The common mistake marketers make is that they forget underlying customer needs while they are caught up with customers’ existing wants, and it is called marketing myopia. Marketing myopia occurs when companies focus on a specific product or only one marketing aspect rather than considering many other benefits that are generated by a product. (Pahwa 2022)

Then what factors drive marketing myopia? For example, it happens when marketers are

  • putting more attention on selling rather than building relationships with customers.
  • Predicting growth without running proper research and Mass production without knowing the demand
  • Giving importance to just one aspect of the marketing without understanding deeply what customer wants.

Hence, it is important for markers to not only focus on products/services but more importantly to have a wider-minded marketing approach as considering the benefits and experiences that customers get from the product or service. (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 7)

  • Exchange and Relationships

Marketing is about exchange and relationships between customers and companies.

When people want to get their needs and wants, they can be satisfied by products, services, ideas, etc. And when companies maintain a consistent exchange with customers, it leads to a strong relationship with customers. (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 8)

  • Markets

A market is a set of buyers actual and potential buyers. Identifying customers, their needs and wants, designing good market offers by setting a reasonable price, and promoting them are core marketing activities. As it became digitalized more than ever with social media and many other factors, marketers need to take into consideration that it is a two-way affair. Not only asking “how we can influence customers” but also “How customers will influence us.” (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 9)


  1. Designing a customer value-driven marketing strategy

To design a successful customer-orientated marketing strategy and plan, marketers need to answer two questions: What kind of customers will we serve (what’s our target market)? and how to serve them the best (what’s our value proposition)? (Kotler, Philip et al. 2020, 10)

  • Setting customers to serve

First of all, how can we identify our customers? From the Red Brick pre-accelerator program, I was able to learn how to do user identification by answering three questions: Who can be best benefit from our service? Who would be our core target group and who would be the most marginalized group? What are the common things (shared needs or values) these groups are sharing?

The major learning from this exercise was that it is critical to define what customers we want to particularly target instead of trying to reach all customers.

  • How to build a good value proposition

A value proposition is a set of benefits or values that are promised to be delivered to meet customers’ needs and wants. Simply put, what is our secret sauce that will be differentiated from competitors in the market? Another exercise that we did from Redbrick accelerator helped to make a value proposition.

PICTURE 2. Value proposition template from redbrick



In conclusion, we can notice that Marketing is not just simply about selling and making advertisements but the process of finding who would be our customers, understanding their needs and wants, and how to build and maintain the relationship with them. And it is not quite easy, it is indeed a long process. There are many things to consider when it comes to marketing strategies, but no strategy can succeed without understanding customers and the market.


Reference list:

  • Kotler, Philip et al. Principles of Marketing. Eighth European edition. Harlow, England: Pearson. 2020.


Soonie from Entre.

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