There can be many entities which we can market:
1. Product: the very basis to understand. This includes physical goods like electronic items, furniture, clothes, etc. You can see thousands of these products around yourself. Companies do many kinds of research to understand the need and bring a solution to cater to this problem. Example: Apple launched iPod knowing people don’t feel comfortable to carry Walkman MP3 player and memory of these devices very limited.
2. Services: Another major contributor is service. Here you actually pay for something invisible, intangible or non-permanent solution. For example, you want to travel to your hometown and take bus or airline services, which help you to transport from one place to another. At the end of the journey, you won’t get any physical item except bus/airline ticket. Many companies provide products as well as services. For example, Microsoft provides products like Surface tablet and services like Bing, Outlook, Azure, etc.
3. Place: This is a very particular kind of offerings. You may not have a need for these services like above one but you go there to experience. For example, countries put advertisements for their cities for tourist and industries. Sometimes, some agencies try to attract people to visit one place just for an experience like Disney lands, carnivals, etc.
4. Person or individual: In India, we do organize puja in all auspicious occasion and we need a pundit (pandit) who recites Sanskrit mantras (religious chants). Similarly, you can find any individual or organization who cater to the specific need. Many times, they do B2B services as well. For example, L&T largely caters to government requirements.
5. Ideas and Information: Today data science is evolving and many companies are acquiring data and information to do better analysis. For example, Nielsen collects data from the market and sell it to the organization. There are many service providers who help you to design or organize certain events or products. They are mainly consultant companies who might cater to business or customer directly. For example interior designers.
6. Events: Events are crucial to interact with customers directly and tell them about companies’ innovation. For example motor shows, mobile conventions, etc. There are many companies who promote social and economic causes through these events like the World Cup, World Economic Forum, Ted Talk
In conclusion, marketing is an amalgamation of many entities and plays an important role in the need assessment, product development, sales strategy, and customer support. We should not get confused with sales and marketing. Sales and advertisement are subsets of marketing.