Sales and marketing, though sharing the same objective, differ significantly. Sales can be considered the last stage of marketing. It would be interesting to explore how they differ, but we will reserve that discussion for another day. In this post, let us look at an equally interesting topic of how sales and marketing have evolved over time. Let us begin with one of the earliest forms of sales and marketing: the barter system.
More than a thousand years ago, when coins and other forms of money were not yet popular, the typical and most common way people procured their products or services was through the barter system–the direct exchange of goods or services without the use of money. For example, a farmer might have exchanged some of his harvest with a carpenter for some wooden furniture. Sales and marketing with the barter system relies on having access to the appropriate persons with whom things can be exchanged for mutual value. Then came the traditional marketplace.
The growing popularity of coins and other forms of money as a medium of exchange gave rise to the traditional marketplace in which producers such as farmers, craftsmen, and carpenters created products, sold wares from shops, and shouted out to crowds of potential customers in order to promote their products. Traditional marketplaces are usually small markets where price negotiations and other decisions related to sales are made quickly, often by one or two persons. Next came the sellers marketplace.
The Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries marked a shift toward mass production in factories such as textile manufacturing. Goods were produced more efficiently and economically and could be sold to a wider market. This created the sellers marketplace. The main objective of the sellers marketplace is to establish a supply chain to procure products and then establish a distribution channel to sell the products to a wide variety of customers, often referred to as mass marketing This was followed by conventional mass media marketing. We will discuss this along with the innovative fragmented new-age marketing of the twenty-first century in the next post. Until then, keep selling!