Sales and marketing is a diverse field and many people confuse them or label them as something else. It is important if you are applying for graduate jobs or placements to understand these nuances, as you are quite likely to be asked questions about your chosen field. Here is a handy list to break down the mystery.
First up, what is the difference between Marketing and Sales? A complex debate for students on our courses but a simple explanation is that marketing determines the message and sales holds the relationship. Of course, as email, social, search and other forms of marketing have transformed the industry, this line has blurred.
Sales is often conducted through meeting face to face, cold calling or networking and involves personal interaction and an individual investment of time. It is often the way that cold leads, which have been attracted by marketing, are converted into sales. Marketing is about engaging with customers for both now and the future, whilst sales is more focused on an immediate transaction.
What then, is advertising? Often used interchangeably with virtually every marketing discipline, the definition can actually be quite specific. It is a form of communications that uses the senses to advocate openly for a brand to convey a message or sell a product. It is often divided into above-the-line (ATL) advertising, which uses traditional mass media such as TV, cinema, radio, print and search. In contrast, below-the-line (BTL) advertising uses alternative direct forms of communication such as direct mail and email. You can go through-the-line (TTL) by combining the two.
It differs greatly from public relations (PR), which is both a goal and a tactic. The goal of PR is to manage an organisation’s reputation through messages targeted at stakeholders. Tactics can vary across the marketing mix, but often involve media relations, which is the cornerstone of PR. This differs from advertising because it does not openly advocate a brand but uses the trust and influence of third parties to spread its message.
These messages can be spread to a variety of different audiences. A common split is between B2B, or business to business and B2C, business to consumer. The difference is not in the content as many people assume. The stereotype is that B2B marketing is stuffy and dry and B2C is fun, light-hearted and creative. The reverse can most definitely be true.
Add in consumer to consumer (C2C) marketing as consumers begin to trust each other more than brands and the division becomes even more interesting. For example, affiliate marketing is where the promotion is done by influencers on behalf of a company. These can be individuals or organisations, bloggers, celebrities or social media users, who are trusted by their audience and can deliver messages to fans in a more authentic way than traditional marketing.
Digital marketing and mobile marketing is one of the most modern iterations of the industry, but this encompasses a range of individual disciplines. Social media harnesses the existing platforms that people use to connect with friends and news to deliver messages. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a fundamental business strategy to ensure that consumers can find the information they are looking for and discover the company when they are interested in its services. Pay-per-click (PPC) is another part of the alphabet soup where digital meets advertising. It involves promoting a visual or link on the internet where you pay a website or social media network a fee when someone clicks on your ad.
Content marketing is another major strand of the industry. It recognizes that people prefer to engage with interesting content that informs and entertains them. This has inspired brands to write blogs, use more aesthetically pleasing imagery and use video as a way to tell stories.
This embodies the difference between outbound marketing which is where business push out their messages to try to earn their attention of their audience and inbound marketing. This is where you create relevant content that is of interest in your specialist area and people are attracted to you naturally. A content approach can underpin many of the other disciplines, such as advertising, PR and digital.
Likewise, there are other types of marketing that can be applied across the mix. Analytics uses data to underpin marketing with insight that can help it resonate with its target audience. Branding is a way to ensure that a company uses its visual identity, written voice and attitude to communicate itself in a way that is consistent with its marketing messages.
Fundamental parts of a business can also be considered as part of its marketing. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a big issue for customers, who want to be reassured that the businesses they have dealings with act ethically and responsibly in areas like the environment, worker’s rights and animal welfare. Business activism is a popular and effective way combine marketing with CSR.
Customer experience deals with the personal interactions a brand can have with its consumers. It is not often considered as part of its marketing, but every interaction with an official representative of a brand can have a profound impact. A bad online review of a rude staff member can do serious damage.
Personal connections with the business are one of the most powerful ways for it to influence its audience. Experiential marketing offers this personal interaction, by giving the public or influencers special experiences that entertain, move or shock them. A physical installation in a city, a game or a product giveaway show the different ways experiential marketing can enhance the reputation of a business.