When marketing comes up in conversation, many assume it is graphic design, sales, publicity, or advertising. (Even Microsoft Word tells us they are legitimate substitutes!)
These words are definitely important elements of marketing, but are no more marketing than a tire is a car. Certainly, a good car has tires, but there are other important components.
Four areas commonly referred to as “the 4 Ps” make up marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement (or distribution). This means marketing is everything that involves your product or service, your existing or potential customers, and how you make decisions related to them. In a very real way, everything in business (including you!) is marketing.
Subsets of marketing include sales and advertising, but also, consumer behavior, customer service, retail, community involvement, networking, marketing research and data management, public relations, new product development, business to business marketing, and international marketing. The secret is shaping and integrating these elements purposefully to best represent yourself and your product to those who need you in the marketplace.
All that said, marketing is very much an art and a science. It is not black and white, but suggests an outline. How we color is up to us, as long as we consider, plan, and implement the necessary pieces.