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Unfortunately, there is still a misunderstanding about the word marketing. Many people, including top executives, use it as a sophisticated term for selling. Marketing representative is commonly used in ads to recruit salespeople. Actually, marketing is a way of managing a business so that each critical business decision is made with full knowledge of the impact it will have on the customer.

Here are some specific ways in which the marketing approach differs from the classic, or sales, approach to managing a business.

  1. In the classic approach, engineers and designers create a product, which is then given to salespeople who are told to find customers and sell the product. In the marketing approach, the first step is to determine what the customer needs or wants. That information is given to designers who develop the product and finally to engineers who produce it. Thus, the sales approach only ends with the customer, while the marketing approach begins and ends with the customer.

  2. The second major difference between the sales and marketing approaches is the focus of management. The sales approach almost always focuses on volume while the marketing approach focuses on profit.

In short, under the classic (sales) approach the customer exists for the business, while under the marketing approach the business exists for the customer.

The marketing concept is a management plan that views all marketing components as part of a total system that requires effective planning, organization, leadership and control. It is based on the importance of customers to a firm, and states that:

All company policies and activities should be aimed at satisfying customer needs.
Profitable sales volume is a better company goal than maximum sales volume.
In order to conduct a successful marketing program you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What type of business are you in (manufacturing, merchandising or service)?

  • What is the nature of your product(s) or service(s)?

  • What market segments do you intend to serve? (Describe the age, sex, income level and life-style characteristics of each market segment.)

  • What strategies will you use to attract and keep customers?

    • Product

    • Price

    • Place

    • Promotion

    • Persuasion (personal selling)

  • What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

  • Who is your competition, and what will you do to control your share of the market?

  • This Sales & Marketing article was written by on 2/28/2005

    This article is used with the permission of Visit them online to learn business, read profiles of entrepreneurs, and participate in community forums.