Marketing Essentials for Engineers: What is Marketing

I'm in no way an expert on marketing. But over the course of my career there were several occasions when I had to step out of engineering domain and consequently I've learned a few essential marketing concepts along the way. With my recent transition to a product role, I've had to delve deeper into marketing again and start learning more about it. I think engineers in general would benefit greatly if they'd be more familiar with marketing concepts and due to my engineering background I'm in unique position to describe marketing in terms an engineer could understand. So I plan to run a series of blog posts to demystify marketing and make it more accessible to engineers. If you have some specific question about marketing that you'd like me to address, let me know in the comments.

Engineers like to operate with well-defined terms so let's start this series with a definition what is marketing from Wikipedia:

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.

The words used in this definition provide great vantage point to start dissecting what marketing is. First, marketing is a process not an one off activity. Marketing should permeate every activity including the most technical ones and shouldn't be some afterthought that is outsourced to some marketing agency. Second, marketing is about communication and by communication it is meant communication with people not sending bits down the wire. Third, value is the core concept of marketing and when we're talking about value we're talking about the value as seen by the customers not about kicks that an engineer receives playing with cool new technology or designing great looking products or services. Fourth, the ultimate measure of success in marketing is when a customer opens his or her purse and hand us the money; any other type of adulation is welcome but secondary in importance.