Online Marketing

The Role of Marketing: How it Affects Business and How to Market the Right Way

14 minute read

Picture the scene: It’s Friday night, and you’re seated on the couch, unwinding while watching your favorite TV show. Your roommate joins you, and during a commercial break, a particularly amusing advertisement captures your attention. You find yourself laughing more than usual, and your roommate acknowledges the effectiveness of the marketing. This memorable commercial stays with you throughout the week, leaving a lasting impression on the associated company.

Many questions crop up from this experience: is an entertaining commercial really “marketing”? Is there more that goes into this kind of ad than just a funny idea? The ad almost seems more like it’s an attempted sale, but what’s the difference between sales and marketing? How do we define sales and marketing?

Definition of Sales and Marketing

Defining sales is straightforward. The term sales includes any number of activities that are designed to promote the purchase of a product or service. Sales processes will include negotiations of price, delivery, and other important elements. 

Marketing, however, is a little more difficult to define concretely, as it has several different meanings that are often conflated. Marketing can be defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Functions of Marketing

From these two foundational definitions, we can essentially say that marketing makes sales possible, and without sales, marketing would be rendered redundant. They are complementary strategies, but very much distinct. The functions of marketing are many and go beyond simply drawing people’s attention to a particular product or service that is for sale. There are seven functions of marketing that are key for any business.

1. Distribution

In marketing, a distribution strategy refers to how a company is going to deliver its products or services to a customer. This can vary depending on what service or good you’re offering, as there are different distribution channels in marketing. You’re most likely not going to start a digital marketing agency in the middle of the countryside with only 3 neighbors within a 50-mile radius—you would likely have more success in an urban area where there’s plenty of potential businesses. Distribution strategy is key, regardless of the product or service offered.

2. Financing

It takes money to make money, as the old saying goes, and if you want to run a successful marketing campaign, you’re going to need some money. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, but you need to create a smart financial plan that allocates some funds to spend, always planning so that your outlay does not outgrow your returns.

3. Market Research

Market research is arguably the most crucial of the seven functions, and it involves researching your target demographic to build a sound marketing strategy. Effective market research requires the use of tools to find out who you should be targeting based on what you’re selling. If you’re a tech company launching a new social media platform, are you going to target solely people aged 80+? Most likely not.

4. Pricing

Once you know how to do market research, you’ll find that market research will help you create other elements of your marketing strategy, such as pricing. Make sure you’re not losing any profits by selling too low. Similarly, you don’t want to overcharge and then not see any kind of return because customers found a cheaper alternative amongst your competitors.

5. Product and Service Management

To stop your business from falling behind from your customers’ perspective, it is important to constantly make improvements to the product or service you offer. By staying on top of customer feedback and online reviews, you can see what’s working and what isn’t. Tracking performance metrics is a smart way to keep up with service management and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your campaigns.

6. Promotion

Promotion means getting your advertisements in front of the right eye. You’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of advertising from your brand’s end, and keep up with any trending advertising strategies. Advertising on Facebook is a great place to start your promotion efforts if you’re new to digital marketing and can’t rely on a trusted partner yet.

7. Selling

As we’ve explained, selling is not marketing, but it does provide an essential foundation for marketing. The selling process begins once you’ve completed market research and determined what your prospects want and need. From there, it’s time to finalize your offers and start selling.

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Having seen some of the functions of marketing, as well as having defined both sales and marketing, it should be clear that there is a huge difference between these two aspects of a successful business. The differences between sales and marketing are less stark, and the two topics are quite complementary, so understanding the complexities that separate them can be tricky.

Sales focus on actually selling the products or services through direct interaction with customers. On the other hand, marketing is much broader and focuses on creating awareness of the brand, product, or service, and building relationships with an audience to drive long-term sales growth. 

To sum up the nuances, we can say that marketing is the journey, and sales is the destination. To reach that destination, however, marketers must stay ahead of the curve and identify trending and lucrative strategies before competitors. Key to this success is inbound marketing, a popular marketing strategy that no business can afford to ignore.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is an approach aimed at bringing in and getting them interested in your company and your offerings by relying heavily on the creation and dissemination of quality, conversion-focused content. Inbound marketing can be contrasted with outbound marketing, which is an approach where businesses reach out directly to potential customers.

There are many ways to ensure you’ll get results with inbound marketing, and with all of the continuous technological advancements, companies can attract more attention by creating content that is relevant to people’s needs and by including keywords, key phrases, and other metadata that search engines look for when ranking search results.

Inbound Marketing Strategy Examples

Armed with a full grasp of what inbound marketing is and how it differs from outbound marketing, let’s analyze three of the most popular methods of inbound marketing.


One of the most common inbound marketing strategy examples, social media is a great way to engage potential leads. Companies that take advantage of social platforms are more likely to succeed because an eye-watering 91 percent of the U.S. population have a social profile of some sort. Including social media in your digital marketing efforts is the easiest and fastest way to tap into enormous audiences and increase your chances of gaining organic leads.


If you need to bulk up your website’s content to begin attracting organic visitors, there’s no better place to start than with a blog. At inSegment, we have our own digital marketing blog to discuss trending topics and share insights into the work we do. Any company can self-promote, and a blog is one of the best ways to do so. Also consider generating different types of content, including videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, and whitepapers, all of which can help diversify your content portfolio and increase your attractiveness to a wider variety of audience members.


Email is another great example of inbound marketing. Marketers can use email marketing to draw attention to solutions that companies or consumers need and encourage them to learn more with intriguing copy and creative calls-to-action (CTAs).

These three inbound marketing strategy examples are foundational to successful companies everywhere, and if you take advantage of and implement these inbound marketing tactics, you will see several improvements in your business, from increased traffic to better customer relations.

What About Marketing Performance Metrics?

Effective marketing relies on metrics for informed decision-making. Performance metrics, such as Return on Investment (ROI) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), gauge the impact and efficiency of your campaigns. ROI compares revenue to costs, guiding budget allocation and channel optimization. CAC assesses customer acquisition effectiveness, refining strategies over time. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tailored to goals, like website traffic and social engagement, offer additional actionable insights to identify trends and opportunities.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) shapes long-term success, tailoring strategies for retention and loyalty, and brand awareness metrics, such as reach and impressions, evaluate visibility. A strong brand presence attracts and retains customers. Leveraging analytics tools like Google Analytics will help you stay informed when it’s time to make decisions.

Strategically investing in marketing metrics empowers businesses to adapt and thrive. Conducting regular assessments and analyses helps you optimize your marketing strategies, propelling your business toward its full potential even in a dynamic and competitive market.

The Importance of Marketing in Business

Ultimately, the importance of marketing boils down to the fact that businesses need to get their products and services in front of the right eye. If you aren’t reaching out and constantly learning what your target audiences want, it becomes much more difficult to attract them and drive them toward conversion.

Taking advantage of tactics like social media and content creation can help enormously, but this is just a jumping-off point. Producing high-quality content that’s written with human visitors and SEO in mind can be tough, not to mention the difficulties that come with trying to plan, launch, and maintain a digital marketing strategy overall.

Putting your trust in an experienced agency with a track record of helping partners in your industry is the best place to start. As a full-scale digital marketing agency, inSegment has teams dedicated to SEO, Content, Social Media Advertising, and more. Working as an extension of partners’ companies, inSegment’s professional digital marketers have delivered successful, sustainable campaigns time and again.

Contact inSegment today and start leveraging digital marketing to drive results for your business.