Many people get confused by the terms marketing, sales, and advertising, and it’s understandable. Before I ventured into the world of sales, I had the same confusion. All the terms are related and they all work together, but there is a real distinction.
One of the best explanations I’ve seen comes from Investopedia. It states is very simply.
“Many people believe that marketing is just about advertising or sales. However, marketing is everything a company does to acquire customers and maintain a relationship with them. Even the small tasks like writing thank-you letters, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls promptly and meeting with a past client for coffee can be thought of as marketing. The ultimate goal of marketing is to match a company’s products and services to the people who need and want them, thereby ensure profitability”
As you can see from that definition, marketing is anything a company does to attract and keep customers. So, how does that relate to sales and advertising? Both are a part of the greater marketing plan.
The greater marketing plan begins by making your company and your product or service known to as many potential customers as possible. We have all seen the ads in magazines, online or on TV which are designed to get our attention. Some people call this “branding.”
Over the years, the Coca-Cola Company has been one of the best at this. Off the top of my head I can think of several Coke slogans and commercials. “It’s the real thing,” “Coke is it,” “Have a Coke and a smile,” and many more. And all of these slogans were coordinated with a strong advertising push.
Coming up with an advertising plan could include, slogans, logo, TV or radio ads, social media, websites, celebrity endorsements, special promotions, or even a color scheme.
Sales would mean individual contact with the potential customer or prospect. It could be by phone, email, “snail mail” or face to face. Most are made with a salesperson talking one-on-one with a prospect, but many sales have been made during a round of golf or a quiet conversation at a coffee shop. Not many people would consider that a “sales call.”
So, here is the difference. Marketing includes the entire basket of tools used to acquire and retain a customer. Advertising is one of those tools that is used to create awareness of the company or product. Sales is another tool in the marketing basket. The salesperson’s job is to utilize all of the other tools to get the prospect to commit to a purchase, or to keep the customer. There you have it.
Want to learn how to be an effective salesperson? Check out Steve’s course!