The Difference Between Marketing and Sales
Published May 12, 2023
A big term in marketing is content marketing, and according to SEMrush, “content marketing is a long-term digital strategy that aims to generate attention and interest in your brand. It involves creating relevant content and sharing it on platforms where your target audience hangs out.” This strategy is an excellent example of marketing’s goal and the mindset of marketers. We are totally ok giving away valuable content for free in exchange for future value. Why? Because we know that quality content and providing helpful information to potential customers will build their trust in the brand and stay in their minds when they’re ready to make a purchase. Content marketing may quicken an individual’s purchase timeline because you educate them on their options and help them decide. An example of content marketing is when you see those helpful comparisons on a website or even a free valuable tool. That brand is banking that a portion of its audience will come to them with their purchase because of that preestablished relationship built off content marketing.
Ok, now back to sales. Indeed’s definition of sales is “Sales refers to the exchange of a product, commodity, service or delivery for money. It involves helping prospective clients or customers by listening to them and understanding their wants and needs to find them what they’re looking for.”
Full disclaimer of my bias, I come from a marketing background, so I have a negative view of sales. Let’s start with the first part; it’s the core definition of the transaction itself. The second part is why they confuse marketing and sales. It sounds similar to marketing with listening and a passive approach to the customer, and likely great sales should be precisely that. Yet, I often find sales to be aggressive.
One of the most significant factors between sales and marketing is how they make the first contact point. Sales is a much more aggressive and unwanted call, email, etc., in your face that looks to jump you all the way in your purchase journey in a few conversations to a purchase. Sales also have this need to get you on a call or presentation. While marketing is much more relaxed and goes at the pace of the customer.
Let’s touch briefly on the times when they are blended. Customer service is a big one, is a live person in a store part of the marketing or sales? The answer is a bit of both and tips one side or the other depending on how that individual interacts with you. We all know the stereotype of a car salesperson right on you the moment you step out of your car. This experience is likely heavily tilted toward sales. While someone you approach and they educate you on all the options and then gives you your space to make your decision has a lot of marketing principles in their approach.
Again, I’m biased and often exposed to great marketing and marketers working in the field and exposed to subpar sales efforts. In a perfect world, a business has a mixture of both, and for companies of a decent size, you need both working hand in hand, making each other’s lives easier.