What is marketing?

What is marketing? How to describe marketing to your colleagues

If you’re in the marketing industry, you’ll know how rewarding it is, and how instrumental it can be to business success. You’ll also know how hard it is to describe what you do to your colleagues. From sales to finance, people outside marketing often answer the question of ‘what is marketing?’ with ‘the fluffy stuff’, ‘just posters and flyers’, or (very uncharitably) ‘a drain on our resources’ – and apart from being inaccurate, it can result in marketers being seriously under-utilised.

To combat that, at HN we’ve created a handy guide to explaining the four branches of marketing to your colleagues, and how they benefit your business:

The four branches of marketing:

1. Analytical marketing
All about understanding your customers’ needs, behaviours and values, using research and insight. It helps us decide what to sell, who to sell it to, and how to position it best to the customer.

2. Operational marketing
Putting systems and processes in place to manage the marketing process and ensure its effectiveness. This ensures that marketing provides a solid ROI and does what it says it does.

3. Marketing planning
Optimising your budget, improving the way you implement your strategy, and creating targeted value propositions. Not surprisingly, it ensures that we stick to a plan instead of committing random acts of marketing.

4. Creative marketing
The communication of your proposition. The last bit of the process, where we create the flyers, write the copy, and do the ‘fluffy stuff’ that convinces the customer to buy from us.

And, if you want something a little more artistic to help explain to your colleagues what marketing is, here’s four definitions from the HN team themselves:


What do you think marketing is? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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