Is Marketing Too Complex to Understand?

Do you remember sitting in your school desk, desperately trying to understand something your teacher was explaining? Perhaps your teacher turned to the chalkboard and drew a sketch or a diagram, or worked out the solution step by step, and it clicked. What a relief!

Maybe sometimes marketing feels hard to wrap your head around. Many business owners find it easier to understand business finance or operations than marketing. Perhaps you put off marketing-related work because you find it frustrating.

Many business owners feel this way. However, marketing is a key business activity, just like operations, management, and finance.

The Rosewood Marketing team created a sketch to show the relationship between key aspects of marketing. This framework is called the Marketing Tree™. Take a moment now to look at the sketch.

Rosewood Marketing Tree

The leaves of the Marketing Tree are what may come to mind when we think about marketing. Effective marketing starts far below the leaves, with things you may not even see looking in from outside. It starts with deep roots that draw in energy for the Marketing Tree to flourish. However, the leaves also provide important functions that sustain the tree’s life. The same is true for the trunk. The whole tree works together for healthy growth. In marketing, many parts work together for healthy business growth.

Like any comparison, the Marketing Tree is not perfect; and it is not a complete picture. It is just one way of illustrating a complex reality. We hope you experience some “light bulb” moments just like many clients have when we introduced this framework.

In this article, we’ll examine the key terms on the Marketing Tree, starting with the roots. By the time we get to the leaves, you will understand more clearly how different parts of marketing support each other. Then you will be able to identify missing connections in your own marketing that you could correct for better results.

The Roots of the Marketing Tree


Your vision is a clear picture of the new future you intend to create. This primary root goes deep to the water source and provides energy to keep growing when the short term is dry.

Rosewood Marketing’s vision statement is, “A marketing plan for every business.” Amazon’s vision statement is, “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Your vision statement explains your business’s purpose. Like a farmer eyeing a marker at the end of a field to make a straight row, your vision keeps you focused on the results you want to achieve over the long-term.

Vision statements are often unrealistic or impossible to achieve, and that is good. Just like it is best for the farmer to focus on a distant object to make a straight row, your vision statement should be far away.


Your mission is the practical way to move toward the vision. This is what we commonly see as business— building houses, repairing cars, or baking cakes.

Here is our mission statement: “Rosewood Marketing guides business owners who struggle with marketing to help them achieve sustainable growth.” Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Your mission is where the rubber meets the road in daily operations. Understanding and defining the real problem affects decisions about your marketing strategy, marketplace positioning, and allows you to achieve your long-term vision.

Core values

Your core values are priorities for decision making everyone needs to follow so the vision and mission can be realized. Core value roots spread wide and stabilize the tree in the daily winds of decision making.

Rosewood Marketing’s core values are Creativity, Communication, Wisdom, Diligence and Integrity. Goldglo Landscapes core values are Relationships, Teamwork, Creativity, Sustainability, and Beauty.

Core values are a compass, helping people across the company make decisions promoting your mission and vision. The core values protect what is important to the company.

How do we treat people? How do we work? What is important to us? Without core values, how does your organization stay aligned? Core values set customer expectations of doing business with you, and the same values deliver the customer’s experience.

A note about the Roots of the Marketing Tree: These roots affect the entire company, not just marketing. They feed management, operations, and finance.

The Trunk of the Marketing Tree


Research is discovering the reality or myth of key assumptions. Many business problems are a result of wrong assumptions. It is important to discover whether or not or not our key beliefs are true regarding customers, their needs, and their preferences.

Are you working on a new product? Wishing you knew more about your target audience? Wondering how you could help your dealers become more effective? You can discover the answers with research.

Without good research, you don’t have a solid basis for making decisions or creating strategy. The next time you plan some changes in your business, get out and talk to some customers or dealers in person, call an industry expert, or do extra reading to broaden your base of input.


Strategy is defining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the Target Market, the Brand Essence and the Pricing. Strategy combines all aspects of the business root system into a cohesive approach that leverages time, dollars, and opportunity to best serve the mission and vision.

Your USP answers the question of why people should buy from you instead of your competitors. Your Target Market describes your ideal customers. Your Brand Essence is a short story or vivid word picture that communicates the personality of your brand. Pricing is the single greatest communicator of value when a consumer considers a purchase.

Strategy gets worked out in three main areas: a plan, branding, and messaging. A solid strategy is the basis for implementing an effective, comprehensive marketing plan that invests your marketing dollars to bring the highest return. Let’s look at the three parts below.


A plan is made of budgets, calendars, and lists allocating time and dollars and detailing who will do what when. With proper planning, you can delegate responsibilities and track results.

A plan based on your strategy is a roadmap forward. Once in place, it eliminates much of the last-minute scrambling, missed opportunities, and over-spending that happens when a business flies by the seat of its pants.


Branding consists of initiatives to communicate the Brand Essence, and positioning, and inspire feelings of oneness with the brand. People and processes in all departments need to serve the customer according to the Brand Essence. Every touch an ideal customer has with the brand should invoke respect and create positive public awareness.

The work of branding involves much more than your logo and brand colors. Consider this quote from renowned corporate logo designer Paul Rand: “A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.”

Each experience with your company or product shapes the customer’s view of your brand. This includes everything from the ads, to the appearance of the product, to the way the product makes them feel.

One branch of the Marketing Tree is also labeled Branding. The leaves on the Branding branch are where the visual parts of your brand—the colors and logo—are applied.


Messaging involves creating key messages that attract attention, create interest, develop desire, and explain how to take the next step. Messaging includes copywriting, photography, and illustrations that combine into message modules that can be published in various mediums such as brochures, websites, and ads.

Your marketing efforts will be hamstrung if your messaging is ineffective. Refine those messaging points that resonate deeply with prospective customers and promise a solution to their pressing problem. Consistently publish those messages across your advertising channels.

The Branches of the Marketing Tree

Lead Generation

Lead generation includes initiatives to identify prospects and begin relationships. The goal of lead generation is to get people in the target market to raise their hands and say, “I’m interested!”

Ads, direct mail, and job signs (the leaves of this branch) are a few tools to let people know you can solve their problem.

Advertising to “get your name out there” can be a waste of money. As Allen Dib says in his book The 1-Page Marketing Plan, “Rather than ‘getting your name out there,’ you’ll fare much better by concentrating on getting the name of your prospects in here.”

Lead conversion

Lead conversion consists of initiatives to influence and facilitate appropriate buying decisions. Its goal is to educate and influence prospects (leads) so they make a buying decision that satisfies them.

Catalogs, websites, and samples (the leaves of this branch) are common lead conversion tools to help people learn more about you and your offer. Remember, they are wondering if they can trust you or your product to solve their problem.

Like we all do before a purchase, your prospects are weighing the risk versus the reward. The reward is having their need met or their problem solved. The risk is wasting the money they will pay you. There may be other risks, such as lost time or lost opportunity. For example, hiring an architect who is unfamiliar with the particular type of construction needed could result in extra months of revising plans, reviewing blueprints, or improvements. It could even result in a failed project! Suppose your shed delivery person backs over a prized bush that had been given to your customer by a special someone. It is impossible to replace. We should consider the risks people take to do business with us.

Sometimes people delay deciding. Have a follow-up system in place so that after someone in your target market says, “I’m interested,” you can nurture that lead until they make a buying decision.

Sales and CRM

Sales and customer relationship management (CRM) are made of people who interact with customers and the scripts, tools, and systems salespeople use to manage relationships. Interactions with employees can quickly raise or lower the value of your brand in the customer’s mind. Train employees to relate to customers based on your company’s Brand Essence. Teach them to use the sales tools you have developed.

A CRM system allows your salespeople to record and access information about leads and customers. This database helps them personalize their interactions with each lead.

Salespeople have a reputation of being slick and sly, willing to promise anything to get the sale. In stark contrast, your salespeople should serve as trusted guides to help customers make the best choice on their own.


Thank you for coming with us on a climb through the Marketing Tree! As in any area of business, there is always more to learn about effective marketing.

Which part of the Marketing Tree should you focus on this month to improve the health of your own Marketing Tree? Choose one thing and apply it this week. Schedule some time to follow through and get it done. Over the long-term, the results may be significant!

Marketing Tree Concept and Graphic © 2017 Rosewood Marketing, LLC.

About the Author: Roy Herr is the senior marketing consultant at Rosewood Marketing. The Rosewood team guides business owners through marketing challenges into sustainable growth. Contact Roy at