What entities are marketed in marketing?

Since anything can be marketed, the nature of those entities which actually are marketed is determined solely by whether anyone has found it commercially, politically, or socially worthwhile to market them.

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Any entity can be marketed. The limitations of what actually is marketed, therefore, are imposed solely by motivation, which is to say that the entities which are marketed are those which someone has found worth marketing, in commercial, political, or social terms.

Marketing which is directly commercial in nature, aimed at persuading the consumer to buy a product, is actually much more recent than, for instance, political marketing, which can clearly be seen in Greek and Roman politics. Even in the eighteenth century, commercial advertising was still very basic. An advertisement in a newspaper would often say something like "J. Anderson, Butcher. Andover, Mass." This simply let consumers know that if they wanted to buy meat in Andover, there was a place where they could do so. It was not marketing in the sense of persuasion.

Twenty-first century branding, however, means that different types of entities are often now marketed together, with one that is already popular lending credibility to the one which is for sale. The most obvious instance of this is the celebrity endorsement. However, in the 1990s, it became more common to try to associate a popular idea or movement with the brand, rather than an actual person, whose image might later be tainted. A prime example of this marketing strategy is Benetton, which attempts to market its products alongside the idea of being antiracist.

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A quicker question to answer would have been "what entities are NOT marketed in marketing?" The simple answer to your question is that just about anything can be marketed.

Think of the myriad advertisements that you see every day—each advertising a different product or service. Each of these advertisements is the result of a marketing campaign and strategy. From fast-moving consumer goods and clothing to luxury cars, electronics and everything in between, every type of product gets marketed.

The same can be applied to services offered. Think of all the promotions you have seen for beauty therapists, hairdressers, printing companies, and every other service under the sun. It could even be convincingly argued that a prostitute who posts a provocative picture of herself on Facebook is marketing her services.

In some places, services such as lawyers and doctors may not be allowed to market their services due to ethical reasons. Over and above that, anything goes when it comes to a list of entities that can be marketed.

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A range of products and services may be marketed. Marketing includes all processes and activities by a company involved in getting the product or service to the consumer including advertising, selling, and delivering.

Most products and services that may be marketed fit within the following ten categories. However, a company’s offerings often overlap into more than one category.

  1. Tangible goods and products. This category includes any physical item such as food, apparel, electronics, machinery, and so on. In most countries, these goods form the majority of marketed items.
  2. Services. Included in this category are airlines, hotels, salons/spas, financial services, health services, lawyers, engineers, and so on. Many companies offer both a product and a service, as is the case with a fast food restaurant, for example. Developed countries tend to have a greater share of their economy from the service sector compared to countries with emerging economies.
  3. Events. Companies promote time-based events, such as arts performances like theatre, music, and exhibitions. Sports, trade shows, and religious conferences also fit this category.
  4. Experiences. Theme parks, travel tours, and camps are examples of companies combining services and goods to create, stage, and market experiences. Marketing experiences is very effective because it creates a memory and, thus, an emotional connection between the consumer and the company.
  5. Persons. Typically, this category brings to mind celebrities with agents who market them. However, our age of YouTube stars, bloggers, and Instagrammers has made self-promotion common.
  6. Places. From municipal up to national entities, places market themselves for tourism and to attract and retain residents and industries. Those who market places include for-profit companies such as real estate agencies, banks, and public relations agencies. Non-profit organizations marketing places include local business associations and local up to national advertising and promotion organizations.
  7. Properties. These include real estate and financial properties such as stocks and bonds. Real estate companies, investment companies, and banks market these properties while also providing service to their customers.
  8. Organizations. Companies and other organizations often work to market themselves to the consumer building a particular brand identity and establishing credibility, values, and trust. The goal is to make the organization stand out from competitors.
  9. Information. This category includes schools and universities. In an age of increasing choice among K-12 education, even public schools are finding the need to market themselves. This category also includes books, magazines, newspapers, and databases. In this digital age, data and consumer information is a major entity marketed by companies like Google.
  10. Ideas. This category points to the larger benefits or brand image a company may be promoting. Public service campaigns would also be included in this category.
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