Many business owners and practitioners mistakenly think of selling and marketing as interchangeable concepts. This is particularly true in the case of small businesses, which often equates marketing with selling deliberately due to organizational and resource limitations.
But even if sales and marketing are intrinsically linked, the fact is that they are two very different business activities.
Selling begins when a product or service becomes available for consumption or use. This function covers retailers’ awareness and confidence on the product and cultivating customer advocacy for the maker of the product or service.
Marketing, on the other hand, is much broader in scope and starts long before the selling process takes place. It covers everything about the market, the consumer, and the brand.
Marketing is about creating consumer-relevant brand that satisfy specific market needs. It is about building product and brand awareness, influencing consumer’s purchase considerations, and making them repeat customers.
Marketing and sales are complementary functions, any one of which can’t achieve its goals without the other. And they need two key elements to make them successfully do this: (1) an extensive understanding of their customers and (2) the ability to adapt to the changing needs, attitudes, and behaviors of the market.
To ensure continuing sales success, a marketing strategy needs to achieve four specific goals for a particular product or service: strong consumer focus, meaningful segmentation, clear and compelling brand positioning, and a relevant marketing mix.[related|post]
A strong consumer focus.
Nobody buys a product for what it is.Consumers buy a product if they think it benefits them. It is therefore critical for a company to understand the psychology of their target market. A company can do this by doing relevant research on the demographic they want to attract.
Marketers have the tendency to want to develop products that carry superior functional claims. Though this is a good thing, it is not always possible to achieve such demonstrable product superiority such as technical or cost limitations. Moreover, such superiority may not always be sustainable as competitors often try to outperform, if not match, benefits or propositions being offered by competition.