John Porcaro has a post entitled "Marketing Is Hard" on his blog. The source of the post can be found on Porcaro's blog, but is from Kevin Schofield responding to a post by Robert Scoble (is that confusing enough?).
Here are Kevin's realities of marketing:
"Marketing is super hard too. Very few people understand it. Those who don't, almost always fail. Even a lot of the people who do, still fail at it.
Marketing is a lot of inter-related things. Including:
1. Product planning -- taking customer input and market analysis, and coming up with a plan for a target market segment and what the product should be (in partnership with the product design team) so that it fulfills the customer's need and they want to buy it.
2. Positioning -- how do you present a product in a way that makes it most appealing to the target market and sufficiently differentiated from the competitors' products. Often this includes "branding:" developing a unique identity and association with positive qualities that are part of your positioning, and verbal and visual elements that will be recognized as representing that brand.
3. "Go-to-market" plans -- part of me cringes just typing in that term. This is a marketing buzzword for everything you need to do to be ready to launch your product. Some big things, like setting pricing, and a zillion little things fall into here. I have never seen a comprehensive list of what is in a "go-to-market" plan, and I think that's intentional because if it's vague it serves the interests of those responsible for delivering it.
4. Advertising. Using media to raise awareness of your product, and calling potential customers to action to buy it. An inherent part of this is understanding how to match potential advertising forms with your target audience, your brand, and your call to action for them to buy.
5. PR. Officially it's "public relations" though for many folks it could just as well be "press relations" because that's where they (unwisely) spend much of their time, money and effort. This is about how you have conversations with customers, press, and anyone else who is interested in your product. For the people who aren't good at this, it means "professional lying." For the people who are good, it means "telling the truth in a compelling way that's relevant to your audience." Often technology evangelism is a form of PR."
Porcaro has some other great comments in his post.