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These answers are excerpted from books by Barbara Findlay Schenck. Please credit when citing. Thanks.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the process through which you win and keep customers. It's the matchmaker between what your business is selling and what your customers are buying. It relies on two-way communication between your business and your buyer. (From Small Business Marketing for Dummies)

What is branding?

Branding is the process of building a positive collection of perceptions in your customer’s mind. Your brand image lives in your customer’s mind whether you intentionally put it there or not. Branding is the route to making sure that the brand image you have is the brand image you want. (From Branding for Dummies)

What is a business plan?

Your business plan is the blueprint for how you'll build a successful enterprise. Most business plans include these components: Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, analysis of business environment, company description, company strategy, marketing plan, financial review, action plan, and appendixes with detailed information that supports the plan. (From Business Plans Kit for Dummies)

What's the difference between a business plan and a marketing plan?

Your business plan sells your company. Your marketing plan tells how you plan to sell your products. Because selling your products is key to your company’s success, an outline of your marketing plan is at the heart of your business plan. (From Business Plans Kit for Dummies)

What's the difference between marketing and sales?

The terms marketing and sales aren’t synonymous. Marketing is a never-ending process that involves research, product development, pricing, labels and packaging, distribution, advertising, promotions, public relations, sales, and customer service. Sales is the point at which the product is offered to the consumer, the case is made, the purchasing decision is made, and the business-to-customer exchange takes place. Selling is an essential part of the marketing process. (From Small Business Marketing for Dummies)

What's the difference between a vision statement and mission statement?

A vision statement defines why you’re doing what you're doing and the ultimate good you want to achieve through your success. Think of your vision as the picture of where you ultimately want your work to lead you. A mission statement defines the purpose of your company and the effect you intend to have on the world around you. It states what you do for others and the approach you follow in order to achieve the aspirations you’ve set for yourself, your organization, or your business. Think of your mission as the route you’ll follow to achieve your vision. (From Branding for Dummies)

What’s the difference between a goal and an objective?

Goals establish where you intend to go and tell you when you’ve gotten there. They help improve your overall effectiveness as a company — whether you’re trying to increase your share of the market, for example, or improve your customer service. Objectives are the specific steps you and your company need to take in order to reach each of your goals. They specify precisely what must be done — and when. Think of it this way: Goals tell you where you want to go; objectives tell you exactly how to get there. Goals can increase your effectiveness; objectives back your goals and make you more efficient. Goals are typically described in words; objectives often have numbers and specific dates attached to them. (From Business Plans Kit for Dummies)

What's the difference between a branded product and a commodity?

Commodities are products that customers can’t differentiate from one another because they all seem to serve the same need, solve the same problem, and deliver the same value. If people can’t see a clear reason to buy one product over another — if they think that all available products deliver the same value and quality — they’ll view all the products as commodities and buy whatever’s available at the lowest price. Branded products are the opposite of commodities. When a product, business, service or person becomes known for compelling characteristics that consumers believe make it different and better than other offerings in the same category, it becomes a brand that wins buyer preference and premium pricing. (From Branding for Dummies)

What's the difference between branding and positioning?

Branding is the process of building a positive collection of perceptions in your customer’s mind. Positioning is the process of finding space in your consumer’s mind to build your brand by addressing an unfulfilled want or need with a distinctively different and ideally suited offering. Positioning precedes brand development. It defines how you’ll slot your brand it into an available space in the market and in your customers’ minds. (From Branding for Dummies)