FAQs: What Is Marketing? (Plus Common Stages and Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Practicing effective marketing tactics allows a company to promote its product or service in a way that attracts and engages its target audience. When implementing marketing strategies, it's often best to research your audience to brainstorm different promotional strategies, test these potential solutions and review your results to determine potential updates to apply to upcoming campaigns. Knowing how marketing works can help you better understand which format to use and ways to cater it to your audience for increased engagement and revenue. In this article, we review what marketing is, four stages of it and different types to use.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the actions, plans and strategies companies implement to attract target audiences and promote their products or services to them. They can successfully complete this by using engaging, informative and high-quality messaging in their advertisements and content materials. Those who work on marketing teams often take time to research their target audiences to better understand their interests and preferences. From there, the marketing team can create captivating marketing materials catered specifically for these audiences. This helps the organization build brand awareness, strengthen trust with customers and increase revenue.

Related: How To Write a Marketing Plan (With Examples)

What are the 4 stages of marketing?

Before you can successfully implement a strong marketing campaign, try to follow the key stages of marketing to ensure you have a fully developed idea, strategy and campaign prepared. The four key stages of marketing typically include:

1. Developing ideas

When creating and marketing a product, take time to brainstorm what it is, the features it provides and the value it offers customers. This allows you to have a fully developed plan ready before launching the campaign. Try to consider your audience and any challenges they may face as consumers. This can help you determine how your product helps solve these problems, answers their questions or benefits their lives. You can use this information to create a list of campaign ideas that allow you to create messaging that relates to and attracts consumers.

Related: Marketing Pipeline: Overview, Stages and Benefits

2. Researching and testing ideas

Once you've prepared a plan for a potential product or service, you can start testing it and conducting research to locate any improvement areas. Consider conducting tests through efforts like surveys or focus groups. You can ask questions about their buying habits and the features they prefer their ideal product to have.

If you have an idea prepared and are ready to test its success, you can pitch it at the focus group to analyze how attendees respond and adjust your campaign accordingly. Gauging potential customers' interest in the product and campaign also helps you understand which prices to set and features to include.

3. Advertising

After you effectively establish your product and its features, you can build a marketing and advertising strategy to promote and sell it to consumers. You can build a plan for your marketing campaign to promote the product on various media forms to ensure it reaches a wide target audience. It's typically best to determine how or where to publish your campaigns based on the habits and interests of your audience. For instance, if you notice that most of your audience engages with your social media posts on weeknights at 6 p.m., you can consider publishing your campaign at that time.

Try to establish clear goals and benchmarks that you'd like the campaign to reach while it's live. This allows you to more easily track your metrics while the campaign is running to determine how successful it is. When the campaign ends, you can review these analytics to determine how well it performed and if your customers engaged with the campaign or took actions that led to purchasing the product or service. Review these analytics closely to identify any improvement areas to consider for your next campaign.

4. Selling

When you establish a strong product and clear marketing strategy, you can decide your plan to sell it to consumers. There are many ways to do this, including selling to wholesalers, consumers or other businesses. You can also consider where you're selling products to, like national, local or international markets. Another option could be to sell your products primarily online with an optimized and user-friendly website.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing?

To effectively promote your product or service to the correct audience, consider using a mixture that details what you're marketing, where you're selling the product, how much it costs and how you're promoting it. The four p's of marketing typically include:

1. Product or service

Your product or service is the item or support you plan to offer customers. Consider conducting extensive research on your target market to determine what type of products or services they're searching for to improve their processes, overcome challenges or benefit their lives. Before you can successfully promote and sell this product, try to understand what product you're selling and the features that make it unique or valuable to customers. You can also conduct competitive research to determine how it stands out from others and why customers should purchase it over your competitors' products.

Related: The Marketing Mix: The Art of Using the 4 Ps of Marketing

2. Price

The product's price is how much of a profit you expect to earn after selling it to customers. There are many different elements to consider when deciding on how much to sell your product for, such as marketing, unit and distribution costs. It's best to ensure that the price you choose to sell the product for still allows you to make a profit even after all the expenses made to create, market and distribute it. Research competitors who sell similar products to understand their prices. This helps you develop a more competitive pricing plan for your product or service.

3. Promotion

Promotion typically involves selling, marketing and advertising your product. During this phase, you can use a wide variety of marketing types depending on the outlets your customers regularly use or prefer. The type of promotion you publish can also depend on which stage of the product life cycle your product is in and the audience you want to attract.

The product life cycle is the process a product typically goes through, starting when it's introduced to the market to when it's increasingly purchased and removed from the market. For example, when a product is in the beginning stages of the life cycle, you may promote it on many channels to increase brand awareness and visibility to consumers.

Related: What Is a Product Life Cycle?

4. Place

This refers to where you're distributing and selling your product. You can sell your product from a wide variety of places, like a website or a physical storefront. Knowing where you're selling your product helps you establish the product placement it'll receive. If you sell your product on a website, you can determine which page it appears on for consumers to view. For products sold in stores, you can decide where to place them for customers to easily access and purchase them. Once you know where it's located, you can communicate this to customers in your marketing materials.

What are common types of marketing?

There are several ways you can promote your product and brand through engaging and valuable messaging or marketing materials. Here are the common types of marketing:

  • Video: This involves using promotional videos and commercials to send a message about your brand or product to customers. You can create videos that educate viewers on industry topics, offer tutorials on how to use your products or share updates on new products you're releasing.

  • Search engine optimization: You can use search engine optimization to optimize a website's content accordingly to rank higher in search engine results. Consider creating and publishing quality, error-free content that includes keywords customers typically search for on search engines.

  • Print: Most print marketing campaigns take place on physical materials like newspapers, posters, billboards or magazines. You can create ads to showcase on these formats or publish guest features to target audiences who regularly read these publications.

  • Digital: Also known as internet marketing, this type involves publishing your content online to reach a wider array of customers who regularly search the internet. Most digital marketing campaigns appear in formats that users can access on a phone, tablet or computer and can appear on formats like social media, websites or emails.

  • Social media: Many companies publish posts on social media networks that help them communicate with customers through comments, likes and other forms of engagement. Some companies might also find influencers with large followings and pay them to promote their product.

  • Content: This marketing type involves writing and publishing copy that promotes a brand, educates audiences and attracts new customers. Types of content marketing you can publish often includes blog posts, white papers, ebooks and website copy.

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