Whereas Sales is short term, Marketing needs to be both short and long term.
In the short term, marketing is there to help sales, creating the “Pull” in the market to attract customers by generating prospects through promotion. Particularly in more technical markets, they may be called upon to provide in-depth expertise as part of the sales process. Helping to counter competitive claims is another common short term action.
In some businesses this is wrongly considered as marketings only role.
It’s marketings longer term role that is often neglected in SMEs, quite the opposite to larger organisations. In large companies marketing is the driving force behind five or even longer plans. These cover future product needs, sales forecasts and pricing. They will also be part of the teams working on product development plans, possibly plant utilisation and training/staffing requirements etc.
Another longer term role is building and maintaining brand identity. Leading companies invest millions just in the maintenance of their brands, brands are traded in the same way as products.
Crucial to this longer term marketing role is to ensure that a company doesn’t run out of products. Many businesses fail because whilst doing well at present, they don’t have a follow up product for when sales drop off. Imagine what would happen to a car company if they failed to deliver new models whilst their competitors did.