There is often a misconception about the role of marketing within the function of a business. What is marketing worth? Do I need marketing? How do I measure whether my marketing is moving the needle? These are all very good questions that are worth addressing when doing analysis of a marketing program for a company. The most common question, however, is “How is my marketing going to help my sales?” After all, sales are the lifeblood of any business.

The biggest misconception that many business owners make is that marketing can take the place of sales. Many will mistakenly believe that if they ramp up their marketing efforts, they will not have to put in the time, effort and investment into their sales force. Unfortunately, this is not how marketing works. Marketing cannot be thought of as an expense that replaces that of sales. Rather, it should be viewed as an investment that supports and enhances a company’s sales effort.

A strategic marketing effort can improve customer loyalty, increase sales consideration and enhance a company’s overall brand identity. Marketing is about taking a consistent, impactful message and communicating that message to a targeted audience. Marketing will not sell a product or service on its own, but when it’s time for a potential customer to make a buying decision, the emotions facilitated by a strategic marketing campaign can be the difference.

For example, consider the impact of something like a targeted e-newsletter. This is a very effective marketing tool that a company may use. That e-newsletter alone will not make a sale. What it can do, however, is keep a company top-of-mind for a potential customer. Additionally, if the content is developed and delivered properly, the e-newsletter can give the customer confidence in their decision to buy from that company. The content should demonstrate a company’s knowledge of the industry and pain points for its customers.

Marketing is an essential piece of the sales puzzle as its role is to motivate a target audience to toward one brand over another. Sales people should view their company’s marketing as tool they should utilize to better close deals. Without marketing, a sales team is not able to realize its full potential.