Marketing includes creating products, choosing markets for these products and promoting them. It also includes delivering the promised products in a timely way to the satisfaction of buyers. Marketing directors manage marketing teams and oversee all activities, including production of print ads, Internet ads and television commercials. Upstream and downstream marketing activities describe the way marketing departments target their potential customers.

Creating Products -- Upstream Marketing

Upstream marketing includes creating products to sell to consumers. Marketers devise products that serve consumer needs better than the products of any competitors. A family waterpark resort, for example, may study the demographics of an area a hundred miles from their location to determine what type of families live in the area, their socioeconomic background and when the local schools are on break. The resort's marketing staff will then create a resort vacation package that would be within the families' budgets and coincide with school breaks. The resort would place ads in local papers that the families would be likely to see.

Selecting Markets -- Upstream Marketing

Selecting markets is another type of upstream marketing activity, in which the marketing department looks at different types of markets and choose the one that could best be served by the company's particular product. Some sample markets a department may choose from include mothers with young children, urban professionals, senior citizens or college students. The department will then further study these markets to devise a marketing plan that targets them specifically.

Communicating to Market -- Downstream Marketing

Communicating to the market happens in downstream marketing after the product has already been created. This includes billboards, direct mailers, commercials, Internet ads and coupons. Communicating to the market is designed to let as many potential consumers as possible know about the product so that they may purchase it. A clothing store carrying a new line of fashion purses, for example, may send out email notifications to all its current customers to let them know of the new stock.

Delivering Products -- Downstream Marketing

Delivering products to the targeted market is a vital part of downstream marketing. It plays on the knowledge that happy customers will spread the word about the company and this will in turn drive in new business. A company's product must be packaged and delivered to the customer in a way that is entirely satisfying to the customer and sets the company apart from the others. A luxury hotel may advertise a complete and affordable buffet 24 hours a day; if it does so, the buffet must be of high quality and available during the times advertised or the guests may remember and complain to other potential guests.