A lot of people will answer “What’s the difference.” Whilst the two are commonly portrayed as the same concept, they are in fact major differences between the two, differences which are important to take into account when deciding your business strategy.
Sales is largely about increasing the number of consumers purchasing your product, regardless of whether it’s the right product for them or whether they’re going to buy again. Marketing starts before a product has even been created. It starts when the first research into a potential product and market is being conducted, when potential consumers are being asked what they desire. It then follows the process all the way to deciding which mediums to use to promote the product, with sales being one of these mediums, and then ensuring the customer is content with the service provided and will provide repeat custom, as well as favourable word of mouth.
Peter Drucker, the Godfather of modern marketing, stated “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” This sums the difference up perfectly. Companies whose idea of marketing is just getting someone on the phone or cold calling, without considering who they’re targeting, whether they’re using the correct medium or putting emphasis on ensuring they’re likely to want to purchase again are missing the big picture. They are in essence making the selling process unnecessarily difficult. In times of economic uncertainty, such as the current recession, a strong brand built from consistent and prevalent marketing activities over a vast time period will be the difference between companies succeeding or failing.