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Most people think of marketing in terms of advertising and common house hold brands that you purchase at home or online. I have spent my career in this space and my favorite definition of it is: "Marketing is everything.” — Regis McKenna
This statement exemplifies the school of thought that everything you do – not just your products, pricing, promotion, and distribution, but even your billing, how you answer the phone, your speed of handling problems –it all affects how your customer perceives your company, so everything is marketing. So very true...and fun.
In it's purest sense Marketing is the activity, set of institutions (Like Manufacturers & the Dealers that sell them), and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Established companies like Ford, Caterpillar, Toyota do very well in Marketing as well Apple, Skull Candy not to mention the NBA and Nike. Pretty diverse group right?!?
Per both Erin & Nessie, It is a very broad discipline and actually pretty fun and exciting. I spent my time on the OEM/Independent Dealer side of Marketing and its about developing a true Sales & Marketing partnership that drives and adds value to the customer. The four P's of Marketing also drive diversity in the opportunities you can work on. Place (or Distribution) is a whole different animal then Price or Product. Same with Promotion(or Advertising). People can spend entire careers in just one of the P's. My favorite by far is "Place" but you cannot be successful with out all of them.
Finally I like to add People as a 5th P, while unconventional it is a very real and important aspect of Marketing too.
Adding on to Erin's input "do you have to be creative and new thinker?"
I'd add, being a "problem solver" is a must have. The more creative your are the broader solutions you can help develop or pioneer. New thinker or not if you can solve customer problems you will enjoy marketing.
Happy to discuss further
At the the very basic level marketing is simply the practice of getting a product, idea or service purchased and utilized by a desired audience. To Nessie's point this practice is responsible for defining what's known as the 4 P's (product, price, place and promotion) for a brand. Marketers do this specifically through...
1.) Research & Analysis Understanding customer needs and uncovering insights
2.) Strategy & Engagement Defining and managing the consumer brand experience
3.) Communications - Defining the message and developing campaigns to promote the brand
4.) Channel Management Determining where and when messages should appears
To answer the question "do you have to be creative and new thinker?"
The answer is yes. But don't let that discourage you. Creativity is as much a skill as it is a talent. Creativity does not mean you're an artist. Creativity is the willingness to open yourself up to new ideas, processes and outcomes. More and more businesses today are expecting future leaders to exhibit creativity in the approach to solving challenges.
More importantly, I believe the skills required for an entry level position in marketing are...
Communication Practice being able to articulate your idea.
Curiosity Demonstrate your willingness to try new things and don't be afraid to fail.
Be Proactive Demonstrate you can self manage and won't let opportunities pass you up.
Creativity is a great thing to have. Depending on what type of marketing a company does, a lot of it is about building relationships with other companies/people. For example, my place of work uses trade-outs a lot. This means we ask a publication/magazine to run an ad for us, and we will do the same for them. This is frequently used to promote for trade shows.
You might also be interested in actually creating the message for an ad campaign, which needs a good amount of imagination and knowledge of your target audience.
The basis of all marketing jobs are the four p's: product, price, place, and promotion. Check this out for more info on that: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_94.htm
Depending on the industry, marketing can include many different things, but some basics are always there. Good luck! :)
Cindy C. Lawrence
Marketing majors work with companies and assist them with the market trends they also forecast a products pricing, target market and distribution. Both creative and a new thinker will help you in this field.