The truth about marketing

By Jill Chivers

Marketing is essential to your business. You simply cannot get anything sold unless you have some form of marketing.

In short, marketing is about making people aware you exist, that you do what you do, and that you can help THEM, when and if they ever need or want you.

Sometimes the words marketing and promotion are used interchangeably. They are related, yes, but they aren’t the same thing. Promotion is a part of your marketing –it is a subset of your marketing. But marketing includes at least two other things apart from promotion.

An offering

Marketing is about having the right offering – the right thing to sell, that (at least some) people want to buy, that they need and desire. This may be a physical product (books, vintage clothing, make up, wine, etc.), an electronic product (an online course or downloadable book), or a service (that has no physical form but offers value). You either need to purchase this thing from someone else and sell it on to others; or you need to develop the thing you’re selling yourself (perhaps with the expert assistance of a coach/consultant who specialists and is skilled in product development).

A mode of delivery

Marketing is also about making that thing available to people. They have to be able to get it – to find it in the first place, then to access it, to have it delivered to them, to be able to use it. We have to be able to get our hands on it. Without this element, you have a thing to sell, and people who want to buy that thing, but no way to connect the two.


And yes, marketing is about making us want to buy it. You have to have a sound promotion strategy including compelling sales copy that tells us what your thing does, who it does it for, why we need it, and what we’ll get (benefits, and yes, features) when we buy it. This is the promotion part of marketing.

Really good promotion is ethical – it never oversells, overpromises, or over manipulates us so we buy something we actually have no use or need for. And really good promotion is compelling – we definitely want this thing that you’re offering, because you’ve brought it alive for us in your promotion strategy.

It’s a really good idea to learn more about marketing, especially if you have never started a small business before. There are a heap of marketing courses you can do, either

  • in a classroom or workshop setting (where you attend in person, sit on real chairs, have a real lunch, and meet the real presenter/teacher in real life), or
  • online (where it all happens in cyber space and you need your computer and an internet connection to do the course, and you never meet the teacher or other students in person).

These marketing courses and education programs range from the very cheap to the exorbitantly expensive. I advise you to take your time to find the right course before laying down your cold hard cash. And when in doubt, start with a less expensive program that you won’t break the bank over and you won’t be dearly disappointed if it doesn’t deliver the goods (Remember that just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s good, especially in the land of cyber commerce and education).

It’s possible you may be able to successfully outsource some elements of your marketing strategy and plan, but some things simply have to be done by you, the business owner and entrepreneur.