We’re all marketing. We’re all sales.

I decided to write this post after reading two posts.

One was by Heidi Cohen about the different definitions of Marketing.  The other was a post by Chris Brogan about how we are all in sales.

Heidi’s post got me really frustrated.  Not because of her style of writing but more the fact that if people within Marketing cannot find a standard definition about what Marketing is, how do we expect other to value that function and understand it? Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled myself with how to define marketing, but the more and more I think about it, I feel the only purpose all those definitions serve is to sell a book or get a mention.  Despite my previous definition, I’ve narrowed that down even further now. Marketing is everything and anything aimed at getting a sale in the near or long term. It is as simple and as complicated as that.  Don’t agree?

  • Social Media is about engagement.  But why are you engaging?  So people feel good about you so that when they are considering purchasing something within your realm, they choose you over others.
  • Your ads are about driving people in store when you hope people will buy. Or buy directly from you online.
  • Your promotions are about generating sales.
  • Your PR is about making people feel good about you. See Social media above for remaining process.
  • Your customer service is about generating good feelings with the aim of generating future purchases.
  • Your office lobby is about promoting who you are.  If you are a cleaning company and your lobby is full of crap, how easy is it going to be to sell yourself to others?
  • Your salespeople are communicating on behalf of your company.  If they are not presentable or they are offensive, will you get a sale?

To be honest I struggle to think of any function/activity that doesn’t impact the company image and therefore (in the long run) sales.

Which brings me to Chris’ post.  I think Chris is right.  If you’re not in business to sell then you have no business. So everything needs to be geared towards it. Just as everything is marketing, every communication is about trying to make a sale.  For example, this blog and my Twitter feed – which you should all follow by the way 🙂 – are about selling my views to the readers/followers.  It is about selling myself and my knowledge (or lack thereof) on a variety of subjects.  How do I know if I’ve made a ‘sale’? If someone responds; because it means people are reading it.  Your LinkedIn profile is about selling yourself to your next potential employee.

So where does that leave the old Marketing Vs Sales battle?  Nowhere. This view will (unfortunately) not change the dinosaur views.  However, Sales and Marketing are one and the same thing.  The only potential point of difference being that Marketing (and marketeers) are better as an indirect route to sales (driving people to making the conscious decision to purchase) and Sales (and salespeople) are better at being direct (Buy now!).

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “We’re all marketing. We’re all sales.

  1. I do agree with you completely, especially since you added the caveat that marketers are indirect sellers, and salespeople are direct sellers. I could not be a salesperson for the life of me, but I do still feel like I am contributing to the selling process as a marketer or advertiser.

    The Green Guerilla

    • Hey GG,

      I’m like you, I couldn’t do the direct stuff for a living, it’s not in my nature. The salespeople I’ve worked best with knew that where I was best was opening the door and I knew they were better than me at walking through it.
      I think this stuff is particularly true in SMBs where often the two are one and the same thing. The problem is that often in books etc there seems to be an old ideology that the two are (and should be) completely disparate functions.
      I’ve been thinking this for a while and those two articles were the straw that broke the camel’s back as they say.

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