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Advertising is a particular promotional tool that attracts the greatest controversy as to roles and contributions in social, economic and ethical spines. It is not the only communication tool which organizations utilize  in trying to communicate the existence and quality of their products to the potential and/ or prospective buyers but, it is the most commonly used and the most noticed of all the promo tools.

It is the only one that gets to the greatest number of the firm’s target audience at the same time. It is not done by profit oriented organizations alone but, politicians, government and even non- profitable organization do adverts.

Advertising can therefore be defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor. The word “any paid form” distinguishes advertising from publicity because every organization that wants to advertise will surely purpose space or time in the chosen medium to tell the story about a product or service. “Non-personal” distinguished advertising for personal selling because advertising reaches large number of audience through mass media which are non-personal and do not have the chance for immediate feedback as personal selling does. Ideas, goods and services established that advertising is not restricted to tangible products but also intangible products. Advertising is used by profit and non-profit making organization to promote their products. “An identified sponsor” indicates that the source of every advertising messages is always made public and this differentiates advertising from propaganda and rumor (Adilika , Ebua and Nnolim, 1996).

On the other hand, personal selling is a direct personal communication (face-to- face or over the phone) aimed at influencing purchase decision. Personal selling derives its undisputable unique importance from the business maxim which says that “production is not complete until consumption takes place”. Personal selling is seen as the last bus stop in the promotional journey. The overall marketing objective or goal is to increase profitable sales of an organization’s offering.

Of all the promotional functions, personal selling stands out as the singular element that can get buying action and transfer of title. It must however be noted that personal selling must work in tandem with other elements of the promotional mix to gain full expectations of the strategic marketing goal. Personal selling dominates the promotion policy of most firms, and attracts more expenditure than any other marketing function.  Personal selling is likely to carry the bulk of the promotional load in a situation where.

  • The market is concentrated geographically in a few industries or in a few customers
  • The product has a high unit value, is quite technical in nature or requires demonstrations.
  • The product must be fitted to an individual customer’s needs as in the case of securities and insurance.
  • The sale involves a trade in.
  • The product is in the introductory stage of its life cycle.
  • The organization does not have enough money to sustain an adequate advertising campaign.

In contrast, advertising may be most effective in achieving awareness and encouraging the buyer’s initial interest in the product or service, but it takes personal selling to convince the customer of the product’s unique attributes as against competitive alternatives. Personal selling presentation is flexible and can be tailored to the peculiar needs and behaviour of each customer. With personal selling, customer’s reaction to a particular sales message can be discovered and necessary adjustments made without delay.


Any organization that creates a product or a service and then sits back and wait for things to happen, usually discovered that nothing much does happen. The organization needs to tell its story, to communicate with its potential customers. The fact is that after the best (new) products have been created, brilliantly packaged, rightly priced, magnificently distributed and well positioned to best suit the needs of the customers. All these marketing efforts would be a waste if, it has not been brought to the notice of the customers (current and potential) such is the essence of advertising and personal selling amongst others.

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