Marketing and selling are often referred to as if they’re the same thing, but they’re certainly not interchangeable. It can be easy to get confused between the two, especially since they both appear to have similar goals – after all, aren’t both aimed at getting more sales? The difference lies in the approach, and the overall mindset for reaching these goals. In addition, good marketing holds much more benefit for your business than simply making a sale.
Put simply, the goal of selling is to affect the exchange of money from your customer’s hands into your own. Obviously, this has to take place in order for a business to survive, and it is an important part of marketing – but it’s just one small part, and it’s not very effective without the other parts of marketing. Selling often carries a somewhat negative connotation, as people feel that they must “beat the bushes” in order to find people and convince them to buy.
People who have misgivings about going into sales generally don’t like the feeling of constantly trying to coerce people, and possibly even trying to get them to buy something that the salesperson knows they don’t really need. The solution to both problems lies in good marketing, and then the actual selling portion really only consists of answering potential customers’ questions about your product or service before the transaction takes place.
The goal of marketing
Marketing is a broad term that encompasses anything that pertains to establishing and keeping public relations – targeting, sales, advertising, customer service, and customer interaction. Many businesses focus only on the sales and advertising aspects of marketing, and then can’t understand why they’re spending potentially massive amounts of money toward these two goals without gaining much traction. Just like singing opera to rap fans, if you’re advertising to the wrong crowd you’re never going to get the response you want.
A good marketing plan should include ways to poll your potential audience, strategies for how to talk to them (i.e. exact wording for effective ad copy), and then a feedback mechanism that allows you to ensure they’re satisfied. In addition, a good marketing platform will help you understand exactly what your potential customers want so that you can provide that solution. It may seem like a lot of work to structure good marketing, but without that kind of framework you will always have to chase people for every sale.
Results you can expect
With a good marketing plan in place, selling is no longer a chore. Instead of wasting countless hours going out looking for anyone who will listen to your spiel that essentially just asks them for money, you’re putting your business out into the marketplace and asking people what they want. Selling then becomes a matter of delivering that which the largest part of your target market has asked for, and offering any support or improvements they may ask for along the way.
Thanks to the internet, a good marketing plan no longer has to be very expensive or time-consuming. You may still spend a month or two on initial market research before you know what to offer and to whom, but the results are still much faster than traditional offline research, and they include much larger portions of the population for a more accurate response. Even simple mechanisms like online polls offered over social media or message boards can give you a starting point. Above all, the bottom line is that marketing has to be done before, during, and after the sales process if you ever hope to have a business that doesn’t merely survive sale-to-sale.