Marketing refers to promotional activities that a business undertakes to advertise the sale or purchasing of a particular product or service. In modern usage, marketing has come to mean the process by which products or services are developed and marketed in order to reach a wide audience, and to ensure that these reach potential buyers. It is a critical activity in the development of any new venture. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is not enough to develop a quality product or service; the marketing of the product or service is equally important.

Marketing is often confused with advertising. Advertising refers to the promotional activities undertaken by a company to sell its products or services to the consuming public. Marketing is different from advertising in the sense that it places greater emphasis on the design, development, and performance of the product or service, while focusing more on the consumers’ response to it. In popular use, marketing may also refer to the creation of products or services, their promotion, and their use or satisfaction by consumers.

A relatively recent term in the marketing vocabulary, keyword marketing targets the development of keywords relevant to a product or service and then uses them to attract visitors to websites. Marketers often adopt this approach in order to increase the popularity of a website by using the search volume of the targeted keyword or phrases, as well as the volume of traffic directed at the website. For example, if a large number of searchers search for the term “acoustic guitar,” marketers might consider incorporating “Acoustic Guitars” or “Acoustic Guitars Information” into their URL addresses to draw attention to their site. Similarly, marketers may decide to focus on fewer searched keywords by using hyphens between words to attract a larger audience. In short, keyword marketing is the process of attracting targeted audiences to a website with the assistance of search volume, keyword popularity, and other means.

Another term related to marketing that is important to understand in an online context is “CTO,” or “Chief Technology Officer.” This term refers to the chief executive officer of the marketing department. CTOs are responsible for aligning technological innovation to the goals of the company. For example, if the marketing goal is to develop a technology to improve customer satisfaction through greater accessibility and ease-of-use, then a CTO would be the person who would implement that strategy through an internal team of researchers and developers.

One other term related to marketing that is worth exploring is “SEM” (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is an approach to marketing that makes the use of SEO and other Internet-based strategies in order to sell products or services to consumers. This form of marketing tends to target older, more established consumers, rather than teenagers browsing the Internet. SEM has a proven track record of improving the bottom line for companies that effectively use this approach.

The marketing communications industry continues to evolve with the changes that are occurring both on and off the Internet. While traditionalists may see these changes as inevitable, many marketing communicators welcome potential disruption. In fact, changing consumer attitudes toward advertising may make some marketers feel that there is no need to engage in direct mail, telemarketing, or other direct marketing efforts. Others have opted to downplay their direct marketing efforts, opting instead for a more “soft” form of promotion, such as social media promotions or event promotions. The important lesson is that the future of marketing communications will involve more than just sending email blasts to consumers anymore.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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