What are the key aspects and vocabulary of sales and marketing in Business English? What is more important, sales or marketing? What are the keys to success in sales? The questions and more are answered in this lesson.

Business English Marketing and Sales


Vocabulary – Expressions – Phrasal Verbs – Idioms:

Marketing – The whole process of ensuring that once produced, goods and services are profitably sold to the consumer. Marketing includes amongst other things advertising, promotion, sales, pricing strategy, branding and channels of delivery.

Branding – the building of a positive image of a product or service by means of logos, colors, brand names, liveries and all marketing activities.

Sales – The end process of marketing – of selling goods and services to the consumer. It can also refer to volume, for example, “Sales were up last month”.

Advertising – The process of communicating messages to the potential consumer, letting him or her know about the suitability and desirability of the products or services that you are selling, and tempting them to buy.

Promotion – Methods of enhancing the product or service, for example, discounts, Buy One Get One Free offers – often referred to as Bogofs – and competitions. This wide definition also includes advertising and public relations.

Marketing Mix – This refers to the mixture of methods used in order to ultimately sell a product or service. For example, advertising, discounts, distribution channel, publicity – effectively the marketing tool box.

Media – The media are the carriers of the marketing message, usually in the form of advertising, but also in the form of publicity. Media includes traditional media, such as cinema, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards. It also includes modern media such as web sites, blogs, search engines, and social media.

Campaign – A set of coordinated marketing activities designed with a specific objective. For example, a campaign to launch a new product could include publicity, advertising, price promotions, new channels of distribution and more.

The four P’s – Product, place, price and promotion – the four main elements of the marketing mix.

Direct Marketing – Marketing activity directed at individuals, for example e-mail campaigns, mail shots, point of sale promotions.

Channels of Distribution – The way the product or service gets to the consumer. For example, online, in supermarkets, by personal sales (such as Tupperware parties).

Publicity – The activity of generating favorable news stories regarding a company’s products and activities, designed to raise awareness and favorable feelings towards the product or service.

Public relations – The basket of activities designed to convey positive information and good will about a company, product or service. This might include sports sponsorship, charity work and community activities such as clean up campaigns.

Market research – Research designed to find the attitude and intentions of consumers towards your products and services, and those of your competitors.

Marketing and Sales Live Example

Live Example:

John Mills and Sarah Hopkins are reviewing their company’s marketing strategy. They are looking at the four P’s, because they are concerned that they don’t have the right marketing mix. The company has been very focused on advertising in traditional media, but this is becoming expensive, and they feel that they might do better by using a marketing mix which would include direct marketing, in particular e-mail shots, and also social media such as Facebook.

Public relations is important to the company as they make products which some people consider to be environmentally unfriendly. They also need to improve their channels of distribution, because people are spending more money on-line and less in conventional retail outlets.

Marketing and Sales Live Conversation Example

Live Conversation Example:

John: I really feel that we need to do more market research before we make big changes in our marketing mix.

Sarah: I agree. I’d like to know more about how people see our brand. Do we need to improve our image? Would that increase sales?

John: I think our advertising is looking tired and old fashioned. We don’t have good social media presence.

Sarah: We’ve been relying a lot on price promotions, and that’s made our brand look lower quality than it really is. I think it’s a job for public relations, to freshen up our image.

John: I don’t agree. I think we need to do a complete analysis of the four P’s – plus some market research – before we start doing new things.

Sarah: That makes sense, but in the meantime, the bottom line is suffering, so we need to take action fast!

Marketing and Sales Practice


Before you attend a marketing meeting, make sure that you know as much about your competition as you possibly can.

When you have a sales crisis, how do you balance the company’s need for quick results with the marketing department’s desire to understand the situation more fully?

Explain how marketing is more than just sales.

Analyze your company’s 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place (where the product is sold) and Promotion.

Are you familiar with the most effective ways of marketing using social media?

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