Here is How Marketing and Selling are Different

Here is How Marketing and Selling are Different

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Apr 25, 2022 18:07 IST

Learn the main differences between marketing and selling, and find out how they depend on each other.


Selling coexists with marketing, but the terms are not interchangeable. Today, you will know the differences between marketing and selling and learn how each activity is essential on its own. Let’s explore how they are different through the following sub-topics. 

  1. Marketing and selling definitions
  2. Types of marketing vs. selling
  3. The perspective of marketing vs. selling

Marketing and Selling Definitions

“The aim of selling is to satisfy a customer need; the aim of marketing is to figure out his need,” according to the Father of Modern Marketing, Philip Kotler. 

Let’s elaborate on this statement. 


Marketing is a business strategy that involves understanding and offering what the customer desires. It is about making the customer’s journey valuable, from awareness to conversion. This is done by promoting a product or service through various means of communication. 

The means here refer to both offline and online tactics. For example, a marketing department is responsible for putting out blogs, social media posts, radio ads, etc. These types of content inform the customer about the business’s product or service. Such informative content also resolves any pain point or query that the customer may have. 


Selling is the art of making the customer buy the product or service. The goal is to assist when the customer has made a purchase decision. It refers to the end of the conversion process after the to-be buyer is informed about the product through marketing activities. 

The communication here shows how the customer benefits from the product or service for the money they are paying for. 

Simply put, selling is transactional and persuasive in nature. It is to persuade a customer to pay for the product or service. You may also check the definition of sales to understand this primary distinction further. 

Types of Marketing vs. Selling 

Another way to learn the difference between the two is to see the key types of marketing versus selling. 

Types of Marketing

Some popular types of marketing are listed below. 

Outbound Marketing 

This refers to delivering a message through traditional media including billboards, TV ads, radio, etc. This type of marketing is also quite expensive and considered sales-like. Most small businesses today do not adopt it. 

Inbound Marketing 

This broadly falls under the domain of digital marketing. Remember, earlier, you learned about modern marketing communication including blogs, social media, etc. These tactics 

fall under the realm of inbound marketing, and they are carried out in the online space. 

Learn more about them in the types and benefits of digital marketing. 

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PR Marketing 

Short for Public Relations marketing, this type of marketing involves partnering with similar businesses to increase brand awareness. This is a common type of marketing for B2B  (business to business) companies. 

Types of Selling

A sales department in a company utilises these types. 

Transactional Selling 

Here, a sales representative reaches out to customers to close a sale. It is the most popular type of selling. 

Solution Selling

In this type of selling, the sales rep offers more reasons to the customer to buy the product or service. 

The representative also knows that the customer is aware of the product. But, the customer here, is not sure if purchasing will resolve any pain points. So the representative uses different tactics to show how the product will answer their queries. 

Hard Selling 

Here, sales reps do not focus on communication skills. Instead, they insist that the customer must buy the product immediately. Hard selling’s biggest advantage is that it is good for reaching short-term goals. 

The Perspective of Marketing vs. Selling 

You may have gathered an idea that the product or service plays a central role in selling. In marketing, the customer is more important than the product. 

Selling can be considered an inside-out approach. That means this activity utilises the best of what a business offers. Then, a sales plan includes the strategies to increase revenue from selling the product or service. 

On the other hand, marketing is an outside-in perspective. It relies on providing value to the customer, based on which, a business earns revenue later by selling.  A marketing plan typically depends on the 4Ps of marketing including product, price, place and promotion. 

Based on that, the marketing department creates a strategy along with a budget that will reach the target audience. Selling becomes a part of a marketing strategy at a later stage. 

Parting Thoughts

“ It’s not the best product that wins but the best-known one that wins,” as Jaiden Vu, Founder and CEO of Vantura Cosmetics, mentions. Marketing and selling are both necessary, and one cannot operate without the other. 

Especially in today’s scenario, most online experiences begin with a search engine. Customers first research the product and then purchase. That is what marketing has essentially become. Even selling is becoming more and more personalised now. 

In fact, a study by Sales Insights Lab showed that 71.4% of their survey respondents said that 50% or less of their sales prospects are a good fit for what they sell. This statistic implies that understanding the customer is more critical than first selling a product or service. 

So whether you are an aspiring marketer or salesperson, take up the latest marketing courses or sales courses to learn the latest strategies. 

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About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio