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50 Types of Marketing: A Clear Road or a Complicated Journey?

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Imagine stepping into the vast, ever-evolving world of marketing for the first time. Even those without any formal training in marketing are already familiar with the many faces of marketing, from the local decorator’s leaflet to the captivating billboard on your morning commute or the slick TV ads that weave stories into a 30-second slot. These everyday encounters hint at the rich tapestry that is ‘marketing’ – a broader and more diverse concept than we often realise.

But consider this: Could there really be around 50 different types of marketing? The number seems staggering, almost overwhelming. Is it possible to categorise the marketing field into so many distinct types?

The answer, intriguingly, is both yes and no.

However, before we delve into this intricate web of marketing definitions, styles, and strategies, let’s first take a step back to understand the evolution of modern-day marketing.

A brief history of marketing

Broadly speaking, the evolution of marketing has several key phases:

The era of mass marketing (pre-1950s):
Originally, marketing was predominantly a game of mass communication. In the early 20th century, the focus was on reaching as many people as possible through mass media such as newspapers, radio, and, later, television. This era was characterised by a one-size-fits-all approach, with limited segmentation or targeting because it wasn’t possible to reach them, let alone understand how to.

Segmentation and differentiation (1950s-1980s):
Following World War II, a boom in consumer spending and the emergence of television advertising led to more refined marketing strategies. A significant trend during this time was the targeting of women, predominantly perceived as homemakers and responsible for family care. Advertisements frequently depicted women in roles that, by today’s standards, are seen as stereotypical and sexist.

However, despite the narrow and stereotypical view of gender roles, this period was pivotal in developing market research, brand positioning, and demographic targeting. It was instrumental in identifying and reaching out to different consumer groups.

The Rise of Direct and Niche Marketing (1980s-2000s):
Advancements in data analytics and the proliferation of TV and direct mail enabled marketers to target consumers more directly and personally. Niche marketing gained prominence as businesses focused on specific consumer segments with tailored products and messages. This period also saw the rise of relationship marketing, emphasising customer loyalty and long-term engagement.

Digital and internet marketing revolution (1990s-present):
The advent of the internet and digital technology brought with it a monumental shift. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the rise of search engines, email marketing, and the first forms of digital advertising. This era marked the true beginning of digital marketing, encompassing SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing.

Personalisation and integration (2000s-present):
With the explosion of digital channels and platforms, marketing became more fragmented and personalised. Data-driven marketing allowed for unprecedented levels of personalisation and targeting. Social media platforms opened new avenues for brand engagement, influencer marketing, and user-generated content.

Emergence of AI and advanced analytics (2010s-present):
The latest phase in marketing evolution involves artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics. These technologies enable predictive marketing, hyper-personalisation, and nuanced consumer insights. Neuromarketing, voice search optimisation (e.g. Amazon Alexa and Google Home), and immersive technologies like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual reality) are also emerging as new frontiers.

The best marketing strategy ever: CARE

Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur & Marketing Expert

The power of multiple, diverse marketing strategies

The magic of having multiple marketing strategies at your disposal would be fine-tuning marketing messages to resonate with every unique audience segment. From the personal touch of email marketing to the broad appeal of social media, each channel reaches a distinct group of consumers, making every marketing effort more relevant and impactful. This precision leads to higher engagement and better conversion rates, much like hitting the bullseye in a game of darts.

Consumer tastes and preferences shift like the tides, and the variety in marketing methods acts as a compass, guiding businesses to adapt and stay relevant. New platforms and technologies are constantly emerging, and with them, novel marketing strategies like influencer and video marketing have become indispensable for engaging with younger, tech-savvy audiences.

Digital marketing weaves its way through the online world, while traditional methods like TV and print ads bring warmth to other demographics. This holistic approach ensures no corner of the market is ignored and confirms there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to marketing.

Crafting unique marketing experiences

Each type of marketing adds its unique flavour to the mix, creating a rich and dynamic brand experience directed at the right people. And ‘people’ is what they are. We continually refer to them as ‘the target market’, ‘the target audience’, the sector or the demographic, but they’re people with whom we’re trying to engage. Remember that.

Content marketing, for instance, provides valuable insights through articles and videos. Experiential marketing, on the other hand, is like an unforgettable adventure, creating real-life experiences that forge deep emotional connections with the brand.

Marketers have become artists, experimenting with colours and techniques, from the bold strokes of guerrilla marketing to the intricate details of targeted digital campaigns. This creative freedom keeps the marketing world vibrant and exciting, often leading to campaigns that are not just effective but memorable. Look at how ground-breaking (albeit quite bizarre at times) the Guinness TV adverts were, but people everywhere remembered them. And the unforgettable, everlasting power of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches‘ campaign.

Balancing marketing diversity with practicality

But there’s a downside to this vast array of options, too.

Nobody would deny that developing an effective marketing strategy is crucial for the success of any campaign. However, the sheer number of marketing styles is highly likely to be overwhelming and potentially counterproductive for many marketers and business owners. Where on earth do you begin?

While arguably a natural outcome of modern marketing, this diversity of types will likely cause more confusion and indecision than clarity and focus, particularly for those new to the field or operating with limited resources.

Working through common traditional and digital marketing strategies is challenging enough. Understanding and possibly implementing niche areas like neuromarketing and experiential marketing adds to this challenge. These specialised strategies require a wide range of knowledge and resources.. which many marketers or businesses simply do not possess, nor do they necessarily need to.

Ultimately, the choice will be defined by how crucial it is to engage a specific sector or demographic with your marketing campaigns and the resources available to implement them.

Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them to do so

Bryan Eisenberg, Speaker and Online Marketing Pioneer

Marketing Type Categories: Choosing the Most Insightful Approach

Below is a comprehensive list of marketing types, and to help you understand how they might fit into your own marketing strategies, they are grouped into particular categories.

Of course, they could be grouped in several ways, the most obvious of which would be an A-Z list. But this isn’t particularly helpful if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the first place.

An obvious grouping would be by era or historical development, such as Early Marketing Methods, Digital Revolution Strategies, and Modern Marketing Innovations. It’s more of an educational perspective that would show the evolution of marketing over time.

Another way to group them would be by the medium or channel through which they deliver their marketing messages. For example, Digital Marketing Channels, Traditional Marketing Channels, Social Media Platforms, Direct Marketing Techniques, and so on.

We could group by the target audience (people!), such as Consumer-Focused Marketing, Business-to-Business Marketing, Niche Audience Marketing, etc. It would be useful for marketers focusing on audience-specific strategies, but again, you need to know what you’re looking for at the outset.

Finally, we could group the definitions by marketing goals or objectives. For example, Brand Awareness Strategies, Lead Generation Tactics, Customer Retention Approaches, etc. This would be particularly practical for marketers with specific objectives in mind.

However, the most useful grouping is one that considers the marketer’s perspective and the strategic focus or the nature of their approach. This is particularly insightful as it aligns marketing types with business strategies and goals. It allows for a deeper understanding of how different marketing tactics can be used to achieve specific strategic objectives, whether it’s building a brand, driving sales, or nurturing customer relationships.

Let’s take a look at the list of marketing strategies by category:


Brand Marketing: Focused on shaping public perception of a brand, this strategy employs storytelling, creativity, and sometimes humour to forge emotional connections with the audience. It requires a deep understanding of the target market and a unique positioning to create memorable campaigns.

Public Relations (PR) Marketing: Involves managing the public image and reputation of a brand through media relations, crisis management, and strategic communications. It’s about building and maintaining a positive public perception.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Marketing: Aligns a brand’s values and operations with social and environmental responsibilities, aiming to positively impact society while enhancing brand reputation.

Cause Marketing: Aligns a brand with social issues, promoting products while supporting a cause. It requires carefully aligning brand values with the chosen causes and clear communication with customers about these efforts.

Ethical Marketing: Focuses on moral principles, emphasising honesty, fairness, and responsibility in its practices. It involves ensuring that all marketing efforts are socially responsible and reflect the brand’s ethical standards.

Product and Sales-Driven

Product Marketing: Focuses on driving demand for specific products through strategic positioning, messaging, and market research. It’s a collaborative effort across multiple teams, aiming for a unified approach to marketing and sales.

Direct Marketing: Involves direct communication with target customers through mediums like mail, email, and telemarketing to prompt an immediate response or action.

Outbound Marketing: Characterised as intrusive, it encompasses direct approaches like cold calling, mass email campaigns to purchased lists, and traditional print advertisements.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC): Involves placing ads on platforms like search engines and paying a fee each time the ad is clicked. It’s a way to buy visits to your website rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Affiliate Marketing: Rewards external partners for driving customer purchases creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Affiliates promote products that resonate with their audience, leveraging their existing marketing channels for additional revenue.

Customer Relationship and Loyalty

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Marketing: Utilises CRM systems to analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, enhancing customer retention, and driving sales growth.

Relationship Marketing: Focuses on identifying and nurturing satisfied customers to foster brand loyalty. It involves creating engagement through testimonials, case studies, and other forms of interaction.

Referral Marketing: Encourages and rewards current customers for referring new customers to the business. It’s a way to leverage existing customer networks to expand the customer base.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Capitalises on the power of personal recommendations, encouraging shareable content, referral programs, and customer reviews to promote the brand through trusted channels naturally.

Loyalty Marketing: Focuses on retaining existing customers and encouraging repeat business through loyalty programs, rewards, and exclusive offers designed to deepen customer loyalty.

Content and Communication

Content Marketing: Involves crafting and disseminating materials like blog posts, videos, and social media content to guide the audience through their purchasing journey with relevant and valuable information.

Social Media Marketing: Utilises platforms like Facebook and Instagram to engage with audiences and promote brands dynamically and interactively, balancing promotional content with organic posts.

Email Marketing: Connects brands with people via email for various purposes like brand promotion and customer relationship management, adhering to regulations like GDPR.

Conversational Marketing: Involving real-time, one-on-one interactions across various channels, it aims to engage customers through mediums such as phone calls, text messages, and social media.

Storytelling Marketing: Uses narrative techniques to create a connection with the audience, crafting compelling stories around a brand or product to evoke emotions and build deeper relationships.

Targeting and Personalisation

Personalised Marketing: Tailors the marketing experience to individual users using strategies like customised email subject lines and targeted product recommendations, leading to a more efficient purchasing journey.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Tailors marketing campaigns to individual prospects or customers, treating them as unique markets for high conversion rates and strong, targeted client relationships.

Niche Marketing: Focuses on a specific segment of the market, developing products and marketing strategies that specifically cater to the unique needs and preferences of that segment.

Geo-Targeting Marketing: Delivers targeted promotions based on a customer’s geographical location, often used in digital advertising to show relevant ads to users based on their location.

Demographic Marketing: Targets specific demographic groups based on characteristics like age, gender, income level, etc., tailoring messages and channels to resonate with the particular needs and preferences of these groups.

Digital and Technology

Digital Marketing: Harnesses the potential of the internet to reach audiences through channels like search engines, social media, and email, covering various tactics from SEO to social media engagement.

Mobile Marketing: Involves reaching customers through mobile devices, utilising strategies like SMS messaging, mobile apps, and responsive website design.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Focuses on improving website visibility in organic search engine results, enhancing web traffic and engagement.

Augmented Reality (AR) Marketing: Utilises AR technology to create immersive and interactive marketing experiences, blending digital elements with the real world.

Virtual Reality (VR) Marketing: Employs VR technology to create fully immersive marketing experiences, allowing customers to engage with products or environments in a simulated 3D space.

Predictive Marketing: Utilises data analytics, machine learning, and AI to predict future customer behaviours and preferences, enabling more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

Neuromarketing: Applies neuroscience principles to marketing, studying consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective responses to marketing stimuli.

Innovative and Alternative

Guerrilla Marketing: Employs unconventional and often surprising tactics to grab attention in public spaces, using creative, cost-effective methods for high impact.

Stealth Marketing: Involves subtly promoting products without explicit audience awareness, often using product placement in media like TV shows.

Viral Marketing: Aims to create content or experiences that are highly shareable, encouraging rapid and widespread dissemination through digital means.

Experiential Marketing: Creates immersive brand experiences engaging events that forge emotional connections with audiences beyond mere information sharing.

Influencer Marketing: Leverages the influence of individuals with a substantial following or authority in a particular niche to promote products or services.

Data and Analytics

Market Research Marketing: Utilises market research to inform and guide marketing decisions, gathering data on consumer behaviour and preferences.

Data-Driven Marketing: Employs data analytics to inform marketing strategies, relying on consumer data and insights to drive decision-making.

Performance Marketing: A results-driven approach where businesses pay only for successful transactions or actions, such as clicks, conversions, or sales.


Video Marketing: Enhances brand awareness and conversion rates using video content across different platforms, particularly effective on platforms like YouTube.

Event Marketing: Involves organising and promoting events to engage a target audience, developing creative assets for awareness and interest generation.

Sponsorship Marketing: Involves supporting events, organisations, or individuals to gain brand exposure and association with particular activities or audiences.

Network Marketing: Utilises a network of distributors to grow a business, often relying on personal sales and building a network of individual sellers.

Business Orientation and Scope

B2B (Business-to-Business) Marketing: Focuses on marketing products or services to other businesses, often involving longer sales cycles and relationship-building strategies.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Marketing: Targets individual consumers, focusing on driving quick conversions and capitalising on emotional decision-making processes.

Global Marketing: Involves scaling marketing strategies to resonate across different international markets, requiring extensive research to understand cultural nuances.

Local Marketing: Targets customers in a specific geographic area, often near a business’s location, using local media, community events, and local SEO strategies.

Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth

Tom Cates, Chairman and founder of The Brookeside Group

The overarching outsider that is Brand Awareness

While many of the fifty marketing strategies above implicitly contribute to building brand awareness, Brand Awareness marketing could indeed be considered a distinct category in its own right.

Brand awareness is often the most successful type of marketing, especially for companies whose marketing activities are low or non-existent. The same is true where the product or service is needs-based, not wants-based (think insurance vs an iPhone), or in niche markets.

And here’s why:

Recognition and recall: Brand Awareness marketing aims to increase the recognition and recall of a brand among its target audience. This differs from direct sales marketing or lead generation strategies, which have more immediate, conversion-focused objectives.

Trust and credibility: Well-known brands are often perceived as more reliable and credible. When potential customers are familiar with a brand, they are more likely to trust it and feel comfortable purchasing from it. This trust can be particularly influential in industries where safety, quality, or reliability are paramount.

Competitive advantage: High brand awareness can serve as a significant competitive advantage. A well-known brand can stand out in a crowded marketplace, making it easier to launch new products, enter new markets, or command a premium price.

Long-term strategy: Building brand awareness is often a long-term strategy. It’s about creating a lasting impression in the minds of potential customers, which is crucial for long-term business growth and customer loyalty.

The broad range of tactics: Brand Awareness marketing can encompass a wide range of tactics, from traditional advertising and PR to digital content marketing and social media campaigns. The focus on making the brand known and remembered rather than directly selling a product or service is what sets it apart.

Measuring success: The metrics for measuring the success of Brand Awareness marketing are distinct from other types of marketing. They often include brand recall, brand recognition, and brand equity rather than direct sales or lead conversion metrics.

In addition to Brand Awareness marketing, there might be other niche marketing types that could stand alone, depending on the industry, market trends, and technological advancements.

For instance, Sustainability Marketing, focusing on a brand’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility, is becoming increasingly important to consumers and could be considered a separate category.

Key takeaways

  • Recognise the value that fifty or so marketing strategies bring to the table and that each has unique strengths.
  • Consider rethinking your approach to marketing to resonate with different consumer segments rather than just trying to be all things to all people.
  • Try using a combination of different marketing techniques to maximise reach and impact.
  • Approach marketing as a creative endeavour. Balance your marketing style with both digital and traditional strategies to help you connect with all segments of your target market.


In conclusion,

For those feeling overwhelmed by this level of diversity in marketing, it’s essential to remember that only some marketing approaches are necessary for some campaigns or businesses.

But if you do need to focus and be on target, there’s comfort in knowing that within each of these marketing disciplines, established guidelines and best practices exist. It’s a roadmap for those who venture into each specialised area.

As you consider your marketing journey, embrace the opportunities within each strategy and let it be a process of discovery rather than a cause for concern or overwhelm.

Your journey in marketing is not just about reaching an audience; it’s about creating connections, weaving narratives, and building a legacy. Let it reflect your vision, be a testament to your creativity, and a bridge to ‘your people’.

With more than 30 years experience in business and marketing, Clive is the visionary behind The Marketing Alliance, launched in 2018. Clive leads a curated tribe of accomplished marketing and business support professionals who consistently delight clients through their creativity, innovation, strategy and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
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