Marketing is the process of communicating value to sell goods to satisfy customers' needs. Marketing can either be business-to-consumer (B2C), meaning individual people are the end-users of the product or service, or business-to-business (B2B), where other businesses are the target market. While marketing is often only thought of as the end promotional product (such as an ad campaign), marketing is really a combination of activities that explores and delivers an optimal mix of pricing, product development, distribution, and advertising in order for a business to achieve success, most often measured by increased profits, for their product or service. Marketing has been described as both a science and an art, and overlaps, but is not synonymous, with the concepts of advertising, promotion, market research, and sales.
A number of marketing specialties exist, including cause marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, direct marketing, guerrilla marketing, and influencer marketing, to name only a few. This research guide approaches the topic of marketing broadly and does not spend time on specific types of marketing efforts. This guide is for researchers interested in the field of marketing, and includes information about the marketing industry and resources related to the study of marketing practice and theory. For how to find information about consumer behavior and market research, see our guide Doing Consumer Research. To find sources on marketing for entrepreneurs see Entrepreneur's Reference Guide to Small Business Information and our Small Business Hub.