Difference between Selling and Marketing

Before we move on to the marketing concept, let us analyze the difference between selling and marketing.

Marketing is much wider than selling and much more dynamic. In fact, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Selling revolves around the needs and interests of the seller; marketing revolves around the needs and interest of the buyer. Selling starts with the existing products of the corporation and views business as a task of somehow promoting these products. Marketing on the contrary starts with the customer – present and potential – and views business as a task of meeting the needs of the customers by producing and supplying those products and services that would meet needs. Selling seeks profit by ‘pushing’ the products on the buyer. Marketing too, seeks profits, but not through aggressive pushing of products, but by meeting the needs of customers and by creating value satisfactions for them. In other words, marketing calls upon the corporation to choose products, prices and methods of distribution and promotion, which will meet the needs of the customers. It does not unwisely limit its role to persuading the customers to accept what the corporation already has or what it can offer readily.

The difference between selling and marketing is more than semantic. A truly marketing-minded firm tries to create value-satisfying goods and services which the consumers will want to buy. What it offers for sale is determined not by the seller but the buyer. The seller takes his cues from the buyer and the product becomes the consequence of the marketing effort, not vice versa. Selling merely concerns with the tricks and techniques of getting the customers to exchange their cash for the company’s products; it does not bother about the value satisfactions that the exchange is all about. On the contrary, marketing views the entire business as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs.

The difference between marketing and selling cannot be described better. A doubt might, however, arise to how ‘selling’ can be completely dispensed with under the ‘marketing’ approach. Selling is certainly a part of marketing. By playing down ‘selling’ what is actually sought to be highlighted is the futility of the ‘pushing’ that is inherent in the sales approach. When an organization takes to the marketing approach, there is really no need for pushing products on the customers. The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. Marketing makes such a perfect understanding of the customer that the product or service fits him totally and sells itself. Marketing would result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product available.

In short, it can be said that a difference in orientation towards business is the real separating factor between selling and marketing. If the enterprise has an internal orientation concerned more about itself and its products and its need to somehow dispose of its goods, then it is practicing selling. On the contrary, if the enterprise has a customer orientation concerned more about the customer and his needs, and if it makes genuine efforts to satisfy those needs, them it is practicing marketing. An easy-to-grasp description of the difference between selling and marketing is provided.

The Marketing Concept

The foregoing discussions on the difference between selling and marketing, lead us to the marketing concept. The marketing concept was born out the awareness that a business should start with the determination of consumer wants and end with the satisfaction of those wants. The concept puts the consumers at both the beginning and the end of the business cycle. It stipulates that any business should be organized around the marketing function and its task should be one of anticipating, stimulating and meeting customers’ requirements. The customer, not the corporation has to be the centre of the business universe. A business cannot succeed by supplying products and services that are not designed to serve the needs of the customers. The essence here is that the entire business has to be seen from the point of view of the customer. In a company practicing this concept, all departments will recognize that their actions have a profound impact on the company’s ability to create and retain a customer. Every department and every worker and manager will think customer and act customer.

A shift in orientations:

In short, the marketing concept essentially represents a shift in orientation:

1. From production orientation to marketing orientation
2. From product orientation to customer orientation
3. From supply orientation to demand orientation
4. From sales orientation to satisfaction orientation
5. From internal orientation to external orientation.

It is obvious that the marketing concept represents a radically distinct approach to business. It is the most advanced of all ideas marketing that have emerged through the years. Only the marketing concept is capable of keeping the organization free of ‘marketing myopia’; all other ideas guiding marketing, viz., the exchange concept the production concept, the product concept and the sales concept give rise to marketing myopia of one form or the other.