​A little while ago over on my Facebook group: Like Minded Business Owners – and also on several other groups, I asked a question to people, wanting to know what they thought the difference between Marketing and Advertising was.

I can tell you there are some VERY passionate people out there who contributed to the answer of this question.

Almost everybody got what advertising is – a process of marketing.

But there were many varied answers to what marketing is – so that’s the topic of this blog post today – What is Marketing?

My answer is simple and was drummed into me by my mentor many years ago for many years!

Quite frankly, marketing is EVERYTHING and it’s the business you are in.

No matter what your business is, retail, service, not-for-profit, whatever, you are actually in the business of marketing.

If you change your mindset from, I am a retailer – to I am a marketer you will change the quality of your results fairly quickly!

Why is it everything?  Because everything you do or say, is saying something about you, whether you meant it or not.  EVERYTHING!

For the sceptics – I really do mean everything.  Marketing is much more complex then running a big, expensive ad campaign and waiting for the sales to come in.

Marketing is across all aspects of your business and across all customer contact points including your website, your building frontage, how you answer your phone, your marketing campaigns, your sales process, how you and your team present yourselves (in person, on the phone and after hours), how you present your shop, how you present your products and how you deal with your customers – the good, the bad and the ugly – the list is endless because we are talking EVERYTHING.

I owned an amazing kitchenware business with my best friend for many years.  We built it from scratch.  We poured our heart and soul into that business which rewarded us in an endless amount of ways.  We built a successful brand – we worked extremely hard – but our brand became us, and we became our brand.

But owning a large retail shop in a regional area also meant you were well known, well respected and well-judged from the outside (we all know the feeling as business owners don’t, we!).

We never took that marketing hat off – well occasionally we did – outside our regional centre, well outside!  In the supermarket, I wore my brand because my customers were their customers.  Out for dinner, with my family, I wore my brand because my customers ate there too.  At school board meetings, I wore my brand because they were my customers also.

I’m not complaining – far from it – I’m just making a point.  Marketing is everything.  One of my favourite sayings is “your bank balance is not a reflection of you but a reflection on how well you market what you do”.

As Ralph Emerson put it “what you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you’re saying”.

So, I walk into your business or you hand me a business card with a mistake on it or a badly photocopied brochure and you say “I’m an expert at” … I’m thinking no you’re not – because what you are is speaking so loudly, I cannot hear what you’re saying.

It’s not so much about what you’re saying but what I’m hearing/seeing.

It’s a noisy and competitive marketplace out there – I know I don’t need to tell you that – so what are people seeing/hearing from you?

You can see where marketing and branding start to cross over here.  Branding is definitely a part of your marketing.

So, have a look inside your business, perhaps from a customer’s point of view.

In this, you are observing:

  • your team
  • how you answer the phone
  • your uniform (or lack of it),
  • your actual marketing campaigns etc

Then, answer honestly this question:

If marketing is everything – what message am I sending to my customers and is it the message I want them to hear?

Is the message consistent?

Is the message intentional?

Does it have the ability to grab or create attention, to nurture until your customer is ready to buy and then retain them as a loyal customer?

Maybe it’s time to look at:

  • The quality of your marketing materials
  • The quality of your marketing methods
  • The quality of your marketing messages
  • The way you present yourself
  • The way you appear in front of people
  • The way you answer the phone
  • The message in your message bank or answering machine

Everything is having an impact on your business and people’s perception of your business.

So, the big question to leave you with is if marketing is everything, how does your business stack up?

You can probably tell that I’m a little passionate about marketing – I just think its such a huge area where business owners can fall down – thinking marketing is just x or y when it is, in reality the whole freaking alphabet!

Change your mindset about marketing, treat it as everything, and your results will change and result the change in mindset, I guarantee you.

Let’s continue this conversation in my Facebook Group – Like Minded Business Owners, or drop a comment down below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners.  Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.

With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)

Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast


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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

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