Weekly Column: 2016-12-02

Marketing vs. Sales: Why Marketing is as Important as Sales

The basic definition of “sales” is to sign a contract or generate revenue from selling inventory. One must have revenue in order to maintain a business.  Revenue is necessary to purchase inventory, invest, and pay employee wages. Even businesses that do not sell goods, but provide services, such as lawyers, doctors, movers, insurance providers, beauty salons, and banks, still rely on sales to profit.

Therefore, selling is the ultimate factor in generating revenue, regardless of the type of business. Outstanding manufacturing processes, cutting-edge technology, clear goals, and progressive and advanced management skills are all useless without a sales mechanism.

However, if it follows that sales are the most important aspect of a business, why are there so many business owners and entrepreneurs stressing that marketing a product is just as important, if not more important than sales?

The reason is quite simple! Advertising and marketing boost sales. Both advertising and marketing are great ways to expose and publicize a brand or business, which directly affect the sales, so marketing and sales go hand-in-hand.

Although sometimes it is difficult to ascertain where the marketing process ends and sales begin, in the simplest terms marketing creates favorable conditions for sales and sales bring in revenue. In other words, if marketing is like leading a horse to the water, sales is the thirst that makes a horse drink.

No one can deny that steady sales make for financial solvency. Now more than ever, marketing is far more crucial  in order to ensure sustainable sales.

In the past, businesses relied on word-of-mouth recommendations, storeroom displays, or costly media publications in order to make themselves known. However, now it is possible to utilize social media to put out content and dramatically increase audience reach and engagement. According to market research over the past decade, this type of marketing has proven to be just as fundamental as sales. New companies and brands that have implemented digital marketing early on have an advantage over their competitors.

Research shows that over 90% of marketing teams utilize digital marketing and regard social media as a substantial factor in business growth. Because more than 30% of internet traffic is focused on the top eight social media websites, customers are using social media to search for products more frequently.  Sales teams understand that the use of social media boosts sales to help achieve sales goals. Who hasn’t heard of Uber or the Fitbit? While these are now household names, they did not exist ten years ago. Through the application of digital and social marketing technologies, both companies have grown to be multi-billion dollar companies.

It is well known that social media and online marketing have revolutionized the marketing industry. However, the ever-evolving marketing trends continue to blur the boundaries between marketing and actual sales. Marketing via social media allows businesses to build stronger content strategies. By addressing customer questions, concerns, grievances, and listening to their feedback, businesses are able to develop quality content to connect more efficiently to their customers. Everyone knows that using platforms such as Facebook will help to increase exposure and increase brand visibility. Additionally, it is more beneficial now because end-users are able to make purchases in the app which means companies that invest in digital marketing are able to sell their products and services directly through their advertising and marketing media. 

In the end, who will come out on top, sales or marketing?  Are online marketing tools being utilized to increase and facilitate sales in a way that is surpassing traditional sales systems and technologies? My answer is a resolute, “Yes.” Popular social media platforms, such as Instagram, are developing features such as shopping tags and intuitive sales portals. Are selling products or providing services from a physical store offline? If so, you should enhance your sales with online marketing. Although a clear winner has not yet been revealed in this competition between marketing and sales, if the current trend continues, online marketing may exceed sales in generating revenue. The most important question is: are you ready to reap the benefits that effective and intuitive online marketing can bring to your business?