Although marketing can take many forms, all marketing is an act of communication. The fundamental goal of marketing is to deliver a message to potential consumers designed to convince them to perform a specific action--usually to purchase a particular product or service. To be an effective marketer, one must have a keen grasp on the effects of different media on communication and understand how consumers are most likely to interpret various messages.

Communication Media

Marketers can communicate a single message using a variety of different media. To market effectively, a marketer must determine both how the characteristics specific to various media--both their advantages and disadvantages--and know which are best suited to an organization's message. In addition, the marketer should also know how to adapt an organization's message to fit each media, so that the consumer is delivered the same message through a number of different formats.

Direct vs. Indirect Messages

The message is a piece of marketing can be either direct, indirect, or a combination of both. For example, a sign that reads "Save a Tree: Recycle" is a relatively direct piece of marketing. By contrast, a photo of a fashion model wearing an elegant dress and holding a bottle of perfume is relatively indirect. The viewer must infer that the model is advertising the perfume and--the marketer hopes--associate the perfume with beautiful, well-dressed people.

One-way vs. Two-Way

With the advent of social networks and user-generated content--the so-called web 2.0--many savvy marketing companies understand that the most effective marketing is often interactive than the presentational. While traditional advertising has consisted of a company broadcasting or publishing a message to a target audience, information-age advertising involves a dialogue with potential consumers. In an elaboration on their branding efforts, many companies have developed Internet personalities, using networks like Twitter and Facebook to both send and receive messages.

Communication Across Cultures

One of the difficulties that companies in a globalized world run into is the complexities of communicating to potential customers who are part of a very different culture. While some marketing messages may be appropriate for some audiences, a skillful marketer will know that these same messages may communicate something very different in another culture. For example, while an ad with scantily clad women may be de rigeur in the United States, that same ad shown in Saudi Arabia could be cause for outrage.