Marketing is part science, part art, and it can be challenging to bottle up both parts into a winning campaign. Your business (or nonprofit or service agency) needs to communicate what it does clearly and well; present a positive, compelling brand identity; focus its resources where they’ll do the most good; grow its market share by attracting and retaining good customers or clients; and migrate to new media, techniques, and technologies as soon as your customers are ready to move along with you.

Since I researched and wrote the first edition of Marketing For Dummies, the field of marketing has fragmented into ever more narrow specialties. Now you can find entire books on how to market on Pinterest or Facebook. The poor marketer gets the impression that he must be incredibly clever, technically skilled, and able to whip up web page designs in the morning, code crafty meta tags over coffee break, attract a frenzy of social media followers before lunch, and then present the marketing plan complete with budget and sales projections to the board of directors in the afternoon.

Marketing is best approached as a more hands-off endeavor, in which the marketing manager or planner thoughtfully selects services and people to implement a sound plan. I challenge you to do a little reading and a little thinking before you allow yourself to get caught up in some complex and wearying new technical challenge.

Every business needs marketing imagination — creative thinking from a marketing ...

Get Marketing For Dummies, 4th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.