How do marketing and sales differ, and where does brand fit in?
We frequently talk to people who will “smoosh” brand, marketing, and sales into a single amorphous concept when they’re scoping marketing services. But these three concepts are not equal, and they’re not strictly linear. You can have strong sales before you’ve fully developed your brand. You can, if you’re very fortunate, have a strong enough brand that you don’t have to invest much in marketing. However, to get the best results in terms of growing revenue, we recommend that you take a holistic approach to looking at brand, marketing, and sales.
Before you focus on the big picture, let’s examine what each of these concepts actually means.
Marketing centers on creating information and influence to generate awareness, interest, and confidence in your prospects. These are activities and tactics that span the pre-purchase portion of the customer journey, right through to when a prospect makes a purchase. Typical marketing activities include:
Sales encompasses the (traditionally) human-led, relationship-based activities that cover the purchase and post-purchase stages of the customer journey. It uses tools and solutions to convert interest from prospects and customers into revenue. Typical sales activities include:
- Sales presentations
- Sales collateral/leave behinds
- Case studies and white papers
- Road shows and on-site training
- Post-purchase support (technical support, user groups, and online communities)
Brand is a somewhat different beast when compared to marketing and sales. For one, brand spans the entire customer journey, from earliest awareness stages to creating brand evangelists. For another, your company is not completely in control of your brand. Your brand is a balance between how you think of your company and how your audience perceives your company. Ideally, you should have clarity and consistency in your message, offer, and value proposition across all parts of your organization, so that your customers’ vision of you is closely aligned to how you view yourself. As you may guess, this means many activities could be considered part of branding, but some core brand activities include:
- Brand guidelines
- Brand training
- Brand messaging (such as Adcetera’s One Voice Program)
Basically, sales drives revenue, marketing drives margin, and brand helps drive the entire customer journey.