The difference between marketing and selling

Posted by oink2 Monday, December 12, 2011 0 comments
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.
The difference.

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.

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.

This is why it is important for companies to come up with offerings that more than demonstrate functional superiority, satisfy specific needs or desires of consumers. This can come in various forms—packaging, sizing innovation, distribution, advertising—and dimensions that are functional, sensual and emotional.

Meaningful segmentation.

To really know their target market, marketers need to identify the group of consumers that has the strongest need for or affinity to the brand. Every consumer is, of course, unique. Each has needs that are different from others, so it would be unwise to custom-fit a product or service offering to a single individual. For the same reason, it would be impractical to expect the needs of all consumers to be satisfied by a single product or service offering. Thus, the most cost-effective, practical way to market a product is to target a specific group of customers and consumers with largely similar needs.

This is where market segmentation comes in—identifying and targeting a group of consumers that are in some demonstrable way similar to one another but different from the rest of the market. Determining the most apt group of consumers for its product or service can, of course, be done through an appropriate market segmentation study.

Clear and compelling brand positioning.

Creating an image for your product and clearly positioning it in the minds of the target market—these are musts for establishing a long-term relationship with the consumers. Brand positioning, which sustains the brand image and explains the product’s unique selling proposition (USP), is ultimately what makes the consumers choose a product over its competitors and patronize it over the long term. It is what makes a brand uniquely meaningful to its target markets and what clearly distinguishes it from the other players in the same product category.

Solid marketing mix.

A strong marketing mix that is consistent with the brand positioning is a must for ensuring that a brand will continue to sell. The marketing mix is simply the totality of the activities done by the company that affects the marketing and selling of the brand. Each element of the mix—product, packaging, pricing, distribution, promotions, advertising—has its own characteristics, but each must be carefully considered in its relationship with the other elements and with the overall marketing strategy to ensure that the delivery of the brand promise is maximized.

This marketing mix should be balanced and made consistent with the brand’s desired position and image in the market. To have it any other way would just confuse consumers and weaken the standing of the brand in their minds.



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