in Marketing

Attempted Marketing is not the same as Marketing

I work in the world of marketing. I have been in this world in one way or another for over a decade, and have worked with (and for) enough companies, agencies, startups, and marketing consultants to see that the word “marketing” is one of those words that has a very broad interpretation, depending on who you’re talking to.

Many small businesses and startups have spent their time and money doing “marketing” activities: some listening to recommendations from friends and family, others trying the latest trend they read about on Facebook or in Forbes, others listening to a self-professed expert marketer, and others who are doing things the same way they’ve been done in their business since the beginning.

Some businesses never try anything new, and others move on to the next marketing tactic before they’ve really even “finished” the last one they tried.

About 15 years ago, I learned to speak a second language (Spanish, for anyone who cares…). This was not an easy task, and caused more headaches than I’d like to admit. However, because of this experience, I have a very strong appreciation for the meaning of words. I enjoy etymology, and strongly believe that cultures and words derive their power specifically because they have meaning.

Marketing is one of these words…


1. the act of buying or selling in a market.
2. the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

The word marketing originates from the word “market” which is basically the place where buying and selling i.e. transactions take place.

Every academic definition of the word marketing I encounter always focuses on the transaction, or the actual act of making the sale.

When someone attempts to steal something from someone, fails to achieve their goal, and is caught in the process, they are charged with attempted robbery.

When you engage in any kind of marketing tactic, and fail to make a sale from your activities…shouldn’t that more appropriately be referred to as attempted marketing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – please leave them in the comments below.

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