Reading: What is Marketing?

Business English: Marketing

 Read these texts about production and underline the vocabulary you think useful. Then, do the Quiz below.

What you need is what you get?

Say, after what seemed like an eternity of never-ending searches along supermarket aisles and in pharmacies, you’ve finally found the perfect toothpaste! It’s got this amazingly cool menthol taste and smell, contains loads of calcium, which works wonders for your teeth, and gives you that seductive snow-white smile you’ve always thought was only reserved for grinning stars of toothpaste commercials. If you’re genuinely happy with that groundbreaking discovery, you’re more than likely to mention that to one or two of your friends, thus unconsciously participating in the type of word-of-mouth campaign so beloved by the toothpaste manufacturer. You should not, however, feel flattered or cheated, as every day in the whole world billions of people pass on incredible amounts of information to one another, which may increase (or decrease, for that matter) sales of a given product, and which definitely makes us work like cogs in the advertising machine.

Word-of-mouth used to be the only medium which allowed people to get some precious information of where, when and for how much they could acquire the goods they desired. The invention of print was a milestone for the emerging industry as more and more potential buyers could be reached, and so first print ads appeared on London church notice boards informing the faithful they could come by their prayer books from a local printer. Needless to say, publishers of the first newspapers took advantage of their readers’ craving for information on new products and started placing adverts for imported goods, such as tea or coffee. In 1882 Procter and Gamble splashed out as much as $11,000 on their Ivory Soap campaign, which only goes to prove how profitable this kind of spending must have been and how early in the history of advertising the producers of major brands realized that. Lord Leverhulme, a British Industrialist and colonialist, who in the 19th century started a family business producing soap, is often quoted as saying with reference to his spending on advertising – “I know half my dollars are wasted, but I don’t know which half!” No matter if he was right or wrong, it is a fact that companies which aim to create and maintain brand awareness in their customers as well as increasing sales of their products do not hesitate when it comes to drawing up generous advertising budgets.

It was, however, in the 20th century, notably due to the arrival of electronic media, that the engine of advertising industry picked up speed and developed into what any modern person can easily identify as a driving force of business. No wonder, since one of the concepts underlying modern advertising theory is – “Create a need, then fill it”. Every single day we are flooded with leaflets, brochures, newspapers and glossy magazines encouraging us to splurge on things we don’t always need. We are surrounded byhoardings, posters, people carrying sandwich boards, we listen to catchy tunes and are brainwashed by slogans of radio and TVcommercials and we can’t surf the net in peace and quiet without some irritating banners popping up. It seems we have gone a long way from the modest prayer books notices on London churches, doesn’t it?

So, in the morning, when you brush your teeth, look at that toothpaste and think of the time you’ve spent looking for it, longing for it, dreaming of it and ask yourself that question: Why this one?


  • a word-of-mouth campaign - a campaign where information is spread from person to person
  • a cog in a machine - a member of a large organization whose job, might seem unimportant but allows the whole to function effectively
  • acquire - to obtain, purchase    
  • adverts- a picture, short film, song that tries to persuade people to buy things
  • major brands – an important product made by a company
  • brand awareness- being aware, conscious of the existence of products
  • drawing up – to prepare something e.g. a list by writing it
  • advertising budgets – the amount of money allocated for an advertising campaign
  • leaflets -  a piece of paper which gives you information or advertises something
  • hoardings- a very large board on which advertisements are shown
  • sandwich boards- signboard consisting of two hinged boards that hang front and back from the shoulder of a walker and are used to display advertisements
  • commercials – an advertisement which is broadcast on TV or radio
  • banners- an advertisement that appears across the top of the web page

The interview

Tomasz Nowak is a copywriter attending a job interview at TCM an ad agency, which specializes in new media advertising:

TCM: Which aspects of your education do you see as relevant to the position you are applying for? 
TN: As you probably know, I studied Polish philology, which was a perfect opportunity to gain the kind of insight into Polish and its application required in this kind of work. The curriculum program provided me with an in-depth comprehension of my mother tongue as well as helped me enhance my proficiency with regard to use of various linguistic devices, forms of expressions and literary genres. I believe this sort of competence is a prerequisite for being able to create successful copies.

TCM: I see, and why did you choose to study Polish philology in the first place?
 Originally, I thought it would be a good start for a career path in journalism. I’d always pictured myself as a current affairs commentator, ideally running my own column in a daily newspaper. As a student I took a course in “Creative Writing in Business” and it was then that it dawned on me I had the skills and the talent to write persuasive and appealing texts. In my last year at university I had a four-month internship at one of the leading ad agencies in Warsaw, where I could work with real experts in copywriting and learn from them.

TCM: Speaking of which, could you tell us a little about your experience as a copywriter? What sort of campaigns did you deal with? 
 Right. After the internship I stayed on at the agency and at first I participated in a number of BTL campaigns, where, initially, I was responsible for writing promotional pamphlets and press releases as well as editing POS materials. After a year I was assigned an art director with whom I cooperated in various ATL campaigns, including television and outdoor campaigns of a mobile phone operator and a tobacco company. The year and a half I spent at the agency proved to be very effective and prepared me very well for the next step, which was a transfer to CND, an agency specializing in FMCG’s. Several of my concepts were very successful and won CND lucrative contracts and ‘Media i Marketing” awards. Now, after 2 years with the same employer, I’ve decided to move on.

TCM: You seem to have quite wide experience. What is it that you’d expect from your future job? I mean, why would you like to work for us? 
 Obviously, working for the competition I closely followed TCM’s activity on the market. I must say that your company was often used as a benchmark for advertising standards and since I’ve always wanted what’s best for my career, I’ve decided to work for the best. I’m extremely attracted by the opportunities you offer, especially the chance to participate in campaigns launched by means of new media – I’ve had extensive experience in Internet advertising and I would like to develop further in that direction. I am keen to explore new channels and combine my knowledge of traditional advertising techniques with the emerging ones to keep up with the demand and changes in the industry.

TCM: That sounds interesting. And how exactly do you get your ideas?  
 The bottom line is understanding of what is required of my copy. The ideas themselves come out of the blue when you least expect it, however, to get it right you need to focus on the elements that will suit the client. To achieve this, I would resort to the obvious brainstorming sessions with my workmates – a good art director is indispensable in such a case. Teamwork is essential, but I also need some time alone, when I could actually get to know the product, understand its nature, its USP, and then come up with a concept that will emphasize all the right points or, to put it bluntly, sell it. Inspiration may be hiding anywhere, so you just need to keep your eyes open.

TCM: Right. Thank you very much for your time. If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep a copy of your portfolio for reference. You should get a call-back within the next three days. 
 Thank you, I look forward to that. Good bye.

TCM: Good bye.


1. When people pass on some information about a product to one another, they participate in a word-of-_________ campaign.

a) lips                           b) mouth                       c) mouths                     d) lip


2. In a large organization, where your opinions don’t really matter, you may feel like a _________ in a machine.

a) clog                          b) bog                          c) hog                          d) cog


3. Companies gain most of their profits from sales of their __________ brands.

a) major                        b) biggest                     c) huge             d) big


4. Some commercials are aimed at creating brand __________ in potential customers.

a) knowledge                b) recognition                c) awareness                d) consciousness


5. In British English “billboard” is referred to as ___________ .

a) hoarding                   b) boarding                   c) hurdling                    d) broadening


6. Before preparing a campaign, an advertising agency must draw ________ an advertising budget.

a) out                           b) off                            c) in                             d) up


Last modified: Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 4:59 PM