COVID-19: You can find information and stay up-to-date on the latest support for business on our coronavirus page or by calling 13 28 46.×

You are here:

Marketing explained

There are many definitions of marketing. Broadly, it involves activities that help to build your brand and business. It’s about identifying and understanding your customers, and developing products and services that meet their needs. Marketing requires careful planning and research – but investing time and money now will pay off in the long term.

Marketing is more than just advertising and logos, it can be across many areas of your business, including:

  • how your customers are greeted on the phone
  • your customer service procedures
  • what your staff wear
  • your email signature

Benefits of marketing

Good marketing tells a story about your business and gives your customers a reason to purchase from you instead of your competitors. It helps you to look at everything in your business that could affect how your customers identify you.

Writing a marketing plan can help you define certain aspects of your business and focus on your priorities.

Legal obligations when marketing

When marketing your business, products or services, make sure you’re aware of any regulations or legal requirements including the ones we’ve listed below.

Learn about your obligations when promoting your business under Australian consumer law.


You need to make sure you don’t mislead your customers when you advertise your products or services. There may be local requirements such as permits, depending on the type of advertising you use.

Check out our list of legal requirements for different advertising activities.


Competitions, lotteries or promotions over a certain amount are regulated by your state or territory through a permit. You can download a permit form from the Australian Business Licence Information Service (ABLIS) website.

Direct marketing

Most direct marketing activities are regulated by federal or state laws. Before you conduct direct marketing, check that you comply with the privacy legislation and spam regulations.

Do Not Call Register

If you want to use telemarketing, you need to comply with Do Not Call Register legislation. The Do Not Call Register is a list of protected phone and fax numbers. If you contact a number on the register, you may be in breach of the law and could face penalties.


As a business owner, you’re responsible for protecting your customers’ personal information. Take care when you collect, use, secure and disclose a customer's information that you comply with the Privacy Act 1988. Find out how to protect your customers' information.

Intellectual property

When you use another person's or business's intellectual property for branding or selling, you need to comply with Intellectual Property (IP) regulations, including trade mark laws.

Trade mark laws

When preparing your branding, business name or website name, make sure you aren't in breach of the Australian or international trade mark laws.

International regulations

When you export or expand overseas, it's important to comply with both Australian and international regulations.

International pricing regulations

If you're considering exporting your products or services, international regulations may impact your pricing decisions. See the Austrade website for details on how to determine your export prices as well as the legal issues that may affect your decision.

When preparing your branding, business name or website name, make sure it doesn't breach Australian or international trademark laws.

European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of data protection requirements. Your business may have to comply with these requirements if you:

  • have an establishment in the EU
  • offer goods or services in the EU
  • have a website that targets EU customers (either by enabling them to order goods or services in a European language (other than English) or enabling payment in Euros)
  • have websites that mention customers or users in the EU
  • monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU on the internet

Find out more about how the EU GDPR affects Australian businesses at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website.