Marketing - A very complicated definition

Updated: Apr 28



The definition of marketing is quite complicated. Indeed, it is possible to identify several types of marketing, and almost every 3 or 4 years, due to the rapid evolution of technologies in e-commerce, a new definition comes out to accompany a new marketing concept!


However, all these variants of marketing strategies have a similar objective: to sell.


Let's recall the exact definition of marketing given by Investopedia: "Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses. Affiliates do some marketing on behalf of a company.

Professionals who work in marketing and promotion departments seek to get the attention of potential audiences through advertising. Promotions are targeted to specific audiences and may involve celebrity endorsements, catchy phrases or slogans, special packaging or graphic designs and overall media exposure."

We often talk about inbound marketing, outbound marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, etc., and it becomes difficult to understand.


We will try here to do a review of all the main types of marketing that are used at the beginning of the 21st century, with an emphasis on the so-called "digital" marketing techniques.

Traditional marketing

Let's start with the oldest method to give the first definition of marketing: traditional marketing. This expression refers to the promotion of a brand on non-digital support so could be qualified as pre-internet. Information was not as easily accessible, available, and disseminated as it is today. The majority of traditional marketing was therefore based on so-called "outbound" tactics towards consumers. The most classic are: print media, TV ads and billboards, or product flyers.


Digital marketing or web marketing

In contrast to traditional marketing, there is digital marketing. It takes advantage of relatively recent technologies that did not exist twenty years ago. This type of digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts and actions that use an electronic device or the Internet to reach the public in new ways. Companies use digital channels such as search engines, social networks, email and other websites to connect with their existing and potential customers. Most of the types of marketing and their objectives that we will look at in detail below are just subsets of the larger family of digital marketing.


Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing refers to an intrusive promotion that includes print ads, TV ads, cold calls and emails. This method of marketing is called "outbound" because the brand takes the step of sending an advertising message to all consumers to make itself known - without them asking for anything. It's a type of marketing that seems a bit old-fashioned these days.


Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is the opposite of outbound marketing. It aims at attracting customers rather than undesirably soliciting them. The majority of inbound marketing tactics are digital marketing because consumers are trained through various strategies to search online, especially as they progress through the buyer's journey, the final stage of which is, of course, the purchase.


Content Marketing

Content marketing has become a key element of inbound marketing and more generally of digital marketing, as it allows the public to find the information they need on search engines such as Google or Bing. As a result, it involves the creation, publication and distribution of content dedicated to your target audience. The most common media for a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content and premium content resources such as white papers, ebooks or webinars.


SEM marketing (Search Engine Marketing)

SEM marketing includes all activities aimed at ensuring the visibility of your company's products or services on search engine result pages (SERP/Search Engine Result Pages). When a user enters a particular keyword, SEM techniques allow your company to appear in a good position in the results of the search pages. This is called SEO. The two main types of SEM are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for so-called "organic" search results and SEA (Search Engine Advertising), also known as paid SEO, which can be seen in Google through sponsored results/advertisements. SEA is simply a system of ads.


To get started in SEO, you need to familiarize yourself with search engine ranking factors and produce content that will be ranked/indexed by them.

To get started with paid SEO, you can, for example, use Google Ads, which is Google's advertising biding system. Advertising spaces are purchased through a bidding system.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing involves creating content to promote your brand and products on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter. To be successful in social media marketing, it is essential to know your target audience perfectly. People rarely connect to social media to buy anything, so it's up to you to think about the types of content that will be useful, informative, entertaining or compelling. Your content should be unique and tailored to the specific platform on which you share it. That's the sine qua non for enhancing the reach of your message.


To facilitate the publication of content on all platforms, several social media tools can simplify your life, such as Hootsuite.


Email marketing

Email marketing is the practice of sending promotional messages or educational and entertaining content to people who willingly subscribe to your email service or newsletter. The main objective is to deepen the relationship with your customers and prospects/in-coming customers by sending them personalized marketing messages. Taking this idea one step further, you can also use email marketing to accompany prospects with emails displaying tailored content that will move them along the sales path.

Nevertheless, be responsible in your approach. Only send these promotional emails to people who have previously agreed to receive them. And don't forget to make it easy for them to unsubscribe if they want to unsubscribe from this email service.

The first thing to do is to define a strategy to create your mailing list, which will be the database of contacts to which you will be able to send emails. The most common mechanism is to use lead capture forms on your website. Next, it is best to use email marketing software along with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to send, track and monitor the effectiveness of your emails. To take your messaging strategy further and maximize productivity, you can also look at email automation tools that send emails based on trigger criteria (customer purchase activity, birthday, etc.).


Video marketing

Video marketing uses video to promote and market your product or service, increase engagement across your digital and social channels, educate your consumers and customers, and reach your audience with new media.

The last few years have seen an increase in the popularity of the video format in content marketing, to the point where video marketing has become a central part of the marketing strategies of all major brands, especially in social networks such as Instagram or TikTok, not to mention YouTube of course.

Some video marketing applications such as Dubb, Bonjoro, or Vidyard even allow you to feed, analyze, and evaluate your leads according to their activity.


Acquisition marketing

All types of marketing aim to acquire customers, that's obvious. But, depending on your objectives, your actions will focus on particular aspects, such as brand awareness or traffic generation, for example. Acquisition marketing, on the other hand, is purely focused on customer acquisition.


Acquisition marketing is a type of marketing that combines strategies and tactics of other kinds of marketing, but with a focus on how to turn these marketing revenues into sales. Emphasis is placed on inbound marketing techniques to ensure consistent, quality traffic to your website, which is the source of lead generation. This includes the use of many tools, such as social media, tailored content, and SEM.

Once you have traffic on your website, you need to turn that traffic into leads and then into sales. This is where acquisition marketing comes in. It can provide you with several strategies to turn your online sales site into a real lead generation machine. Acquisition marketing can even include a strategy for optimizing and developing your leads so that they can be easily passed on from your marketing team to your salespeople.

Influence marketing

Influence marketing is a perfect way to tap into an existing community of followers on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. What is an influencer? An influencer is a person who influences others to take an interest in your company or brand, by posting videos, photo messages on social networks or by blogging. Influencers connect directly to their subscribers and offer your company the opportunity to reach new potential customers and ultimately increase your sales.


To get started in influence marketing, you must first create your influence marketing strategy and define the type of influencers you are targeting, i.e. their niche.

How do you find these influencers?

The most basic method is to perform a manual search on social networks, but you can also use an influence marketing platform or call on a specialized agency.

From there, it's up to you to get in touch with these influencers and don't forget that they know their audience better than you do, so give them some creative freedom in the development of marketing content.


Native marketing

Native marketing refers to a type of advertising that is very much in vogue today. How does it work?

Brands pay reputable publishers, such as national newspapers or online news media, to run sponsored articles or videos that blend seamlessly into the editorial content of the media in question. These publishers are, of course, paid to show this sponsored content to their audience via their website or social media.


Customer marketing

This marketing technique, which takes its name from "customer marketing", is the antithesis of acquisition marketing, where the emphasis is on acquiring new customers. Customer marketing, on the contrary, focuses on retaining your existing customers, doing everything possible to satisfy them and turning them into advocates for your brand. These loyal and conquered customers are the best ambassadors for your business by sharing with their friends or relatives the positive "customer experience" they have had with you. This is an excellent approach because retaining and retaining existing customers is much less expensive than implementing an acquisition marketing strategy.


Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing is about seeking and fostering face-to-face, one-on-one relationships and communication, as they say in the United States, across as many channels as possible. The goal is to converse with your prospects or customers when they want to and in the right way. This includes many possibilities, from live chat, to phone calls, to Facebook Messenger and email.


The challenge in this type of marketing strategy is to be able to manage multiple channel formats without communication worries or loss of productivity. This is why it is essential to use conversational marketing tools, such as a unified inbox, to streamline your efforts within the company.

There are many other notable marketing methods, such as buzz marketing, guerrilla marketing, account-based marketing, and many others, that you should consider to complete your marketing toolbox.


Just keep in mind that a good overall marketing strategy cannot be satisfied with only one method. It is by trying several of the above marketing techniques simultaneously that you will be able to see convincing results in terms of sales and revenue growth.


We understand that modern businesses need flexibility so that we will adapt our resources to your needs. A marketing department is on demand for as little as 1,000 euros a month.

Our services

Ask us anything

Cost effective

Complete knowdledge

Flexible contract

A la carte menu

Talk to an expert