General Management

What is Marketing in the Core? How is it Different from Sales?

There is some amount of confusion between the terms marketing and sales. There is some overlap between these two entities as well. In this brief piece, I will uncover what marketing is all about and how different it is from marketing on the whole.

Ever since my business mind started to ponder about, I believed in one principle that is closely associated with marketing.


The above phrase defines all there is to marketing. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, marketing is the management of process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. This points wholly towards my marketing principle.

Theodore Levitt of the – The Marketing Imagination fame defines it this way : the purpose of a business is to get and keep a customer. Marketing aims to decide what companies should do to achieve that purpose and then to ensure that is is done.

Another definition from the marketing genius Kotler in his book Marketing Management – marketing concept holds that the key to achieving organizational goals consists in determining the needs and wants of target markets (actual and potential consumers), and delivering the desired satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competitors.

Let’s look at sales now. The concept of sales revolves around selling the product, and it encompasses promotional effort and activities as well. Sales is more centered about from a business point of view where as marketing is customer centric. Marketing looks at things from the consumer, so that you can discover your community with Netcinity, etc. It revolves around the customer’s requirements and works on meeting those requirements to satisfaction, along with ringing in profits for the organization.

A second major difference between sales and marketing is the fact that sales quantifies in terms of numbers or volume. Marketing goes deeper and profits are the unit of measure for marketing success.

All these said, there are a couple of things that I need to mention that have to be in place by default.

The product or the service that is being marketed and sold needs to available for sale at all time. It must not run out every other month. So, plenty of thought must be put into the distribution and continuous production of it. If it’s a service, then there must be adequate resources to ensure that service for the consumer is always in place whenever he/she needs it.

Second major aspect that is a pre-requisite is innovation – be it product or service innovation. The product or service in question must keep improving. Anything that does not grow or improve simply withers away. If the product or service is not changing with the times, then it will cease to be consumed – thereby bringing an end to the product or service line. Innovation must be ongoing. While an improvement is introduced in a product, the next improvement must already be ready for testing. No wonder, companies spend a good part of their purchase for research and development.

An interesting comment from The Basic Arts of Marketing by Willsmer – The customer is the only arbiter of quality. An improvement the customer does not understand or does not want is no kind of improvement at all. This is true. If, as a consumer, I cannot see an improvement, I don’t care what improvements have taken place in the back end – unless I am not a layman.

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