Why Sales is Not Marketing. And Marketing is Not Sales


I recently read an insightful blog from Christina Nicholson, the owner and operator of Media Maven. In her blog, “Five Signs You’re Not Ready for a Public Relations Retainer Fee,” she brought back to life a thought that must not be forgotten: sales and marketing are not the same.

Many in the business environment often lump these two distinct functions into the same department, but the roles and responsibilities are quite different.

Sales is typically defined as the exchange of a commodity for money, or the action of selling something. Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association, is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Many times, marketing is categorized by “The Official 5 Ps of Marketing”:

  • Product: The good or service being offered to the consumer or end-user
  • Price: Understanding profit margins and the pricing of competitors
  • Promotion: Driving exposure of product through marketing and communications
  • Place: The multichannels of distribution
  • People: Customer service

So, what is missing from this? The C: Communications. Marketing-focused communications help influence consumer and customer spending, identify target audiences and enhance a company’s reputation.

Outreach to target audiences must be consistent, professional and ongoing. And media relations is the key element of developing and managing company and brand reputation. The increasing role and number of electronic media (webinars, podcasts, e-magazines, social media, TV, radio) has created special importance for enhanced media relations.

Now back to sales and marketing, or what is not sales and marketing.

Some organizations and companies are lean, and the departments are combined as Sales and Marketing. Allowing marketing and communications representatives in your respective organizations to execute on what they know best is the recipe to success. Sales reps and execs need to sell and marketing associates need to support the sales team and drive conversations. It’s always a team effort, but expect your sales team to close the deal. That’s what they are best at.

At MCCI, we are tasked with promoting your product or organization, but are not directly involved in the selling of your organization’s goods or services. Our talented team of marketers, news gatherers, and multimedia experts work to ensure your brand is in the conversation. The conversation is already taking place and we take the steps necessary to make you a part of that.

And this is where sales and marketing certainly turn opposite directions. As Ms. Nicholson writes, “I lead the horse to water. You make the horse drink it.” Marketing – whether it be in the form of e-blasts, digital ad campaigns, a call-to-action on social media or the traditional print ad placement – drives the target, end-customer to your product. The continued push of public and media relations, as well as managing active social networks and up-to-date web experiences, will ensure your brand is in the conversation.

Do you need to join the conversation? MCCI is here to help! Contact us today.