Many people confuse “selling” for “marketing”. They consider these two terms as one and the same. Marketing refers to a large set of activities of which selling is just one part. For example, a marketer of televisions, before making the sale, does a lot of other activities such as planning the type and model of televisions to be produced, the price at which it would be sold and selecting the distribution outlets at which the same would be available, etc. In short, marketing involves whole range of activities relating to planning, pricing, promoting and distributing the products that satisfy customer’s needs.
The function of selling, on the other hand, is restricted to promotion of goods and services through salesmanship, advertising, publicity and short-term incentives so that title of the product is transferred from seller to buyer or in other words product is converted into cash. The major differences between selling and marketing are listed as below.
- Selling is only a part of marketing process and is concerned with promoting and transferring possession and ownership of goods from the seller to the buyer. Marketing is a much wider term consisting of number of activities such as identification of the customer’s needs, developing the products to satisfy these needs, fixing prices and persuading the potential buyers to buy the same. Thus, selling is merely a part of marketing.
- Sale vs Satisfying Customer Needs: The main focus of selling is on affecting transfer of title and possession of goods from sellers to consumers or users. In contrast, marketing activities put greater thrust on achieving maximum satisfaction of the customer’s needs and wants.
- Profit vs Customer Satisfaction: All selling activities are directed at maximising sales and, thereby, the profits of the firm. In other words, the emphasis is on profit maximisation through maximisation of sales. Marketing, on the other hand, is concerned with customer satisfaction and thereby increasing profit in the long run. A marketing organisation, thus, attaches highest importance to customer satisfaction as a route to profit maximization.
- Start and End of the Activities: Selling activities start after the product has been developed while marketing activities start much before the product is produced and continue even after the product has been sold.
- Difference in the Emphasis: In selling, the emphasis is on bending the customer according to the product while in marketing, the attempt is to develop the product and other strategies as per the customer needs.
- Difference in the Strategies: Selling involves efforts like promotion and persuasion while marketing uses integrated marketing efforts involving strategies in respect of product, promotion, pricing and physical distribution.