Is marketing the same as selling (but with a college education)?

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I was with a Marframe prospect at a boardroom table a while ago and the prospect turned to me and said, "C'mon Warren; marketing is just selling but with a college education."

O nce I had wiped the table clean (from spurting out my coffee) I realised - not for the first time - that business leaders often confuse marketing with selling.

This misapprehension lies at the very heart of what Marframe does, and so I thought it worthy of an explanatory blog.

To many people, the word ‘marketing’ often conjures up images of fancy brochures, advertising slogans, lots of LinkedIn updates, events or give-aways such as branded pens.

Although such things can be important, they each play a very small role indeed in the reality of creating a successful marketing strategy i.e. one that is designed to increase sales and drive profit. And of course make businesses ripe for acquisition.

Business leaders often confuse marketing with selling.


Selling is not the same as marketing – and by definition they are contrasting in their approaches.

In simple terms, marketing wants the company to understand its customers so well that it can develop and offer what the customer will find of real value. By contrast, selling tries to push the customers into buying what the company makes (or has always made).

It is not just the team here at Marframe that think so. The marketing author, Peter Drucker, goes to great lengths to reinforce this point and goes as far as saying that the two can indeed be the antithesis of each other:

"Selling and marketing are antithetical rather than synonymous or even complementary. There will always be, one can assume, a need for some selling. But the ultimate aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself."

Put another way, you might say that selling is the very last stage of the marketing process.

Whilst this statement may seem to be more of a vision than reality, it nevertheless highlights the essential role that marketing should play in speeding up the sales cycle.

Here at Marframe, we believe the intention of marketing is simply to bring the company the right relationships with the clients and potential clients that offer the highest prospect of success.

Your marketing strategy will therefore be the best opinion as to how a company applies its sales and marketing resources most profitably in the marketplace.

For further information on this blog or any other marketing issue, please call us at Marframe at any time on 01494 726 535 or email: