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No, "marketing" and "sales" aren't synonyms. However, when marketing is done right-that is, intelligently and thoroughly-it can really jump-start the selling process. Confusing the two is more than an English-class goof; you've got to harness the power of marketing in order to streamline your sales efforts and make them much more slick and powerful.
The good news is, you can always turn to the Web for useful, insightful sites that are aimed at improving your marketing savvy. Try these sites on for size:
The Virtual Marketing Handbook: This terse, fact-filled orientation for beginners and more experienced professionals alike was compiled by members of the Carlsbad, California, Chamber of Commerce. Don't miss these chapters: "Reality Check" (definition of marketing); "Profiling the Consumer" (who buys from you and why); "Implementing Your Plan"; and many more that, collectively, will steer you as you do your own marketing thinking.
The Commando Guide to Unconventional Marketing & Advertising Tactics: You want innovative, low-cost tactics? Find them here, in this short but potent pamphlet.
Marketing Resources: A good collection of links to still more information, compiled by staff members at Bing-hamton University in New York. Find answers to more of your questions by clicking through the links.
Marketing Resource Center: Good stuff-it includes a forum where you can ask questions as well as dozens of capsule book reviews to steer your further research. Its online library is filled with hundreds of articles, on everything from targeting your markets to marketing how-to.
Robert McGarvey is the author of How to Dotcom, to be released in November from Entrepreneur Press. Contact him at rjm@ mcgarvey.net.