Marketing vs. Selling (As Promised)

Of all the people that read Marketing vs. Selling during the last week, one person voted that they liked it. One person voted that they didn’t like it. I assume that the rest didn’t care. Doug commented. Pete commented. Thank you, Doug and Pete.

Recently, Seth Godin wrote that “there’s close to zero trust of marketers these days“. But honestly, in addition to “marketers”, don’t stereotypical consumers distrust salespeople, mechanics, lawyers, and many others? Aren’t consumers advised to get “second opinions” from other doctors when it’s an important or difficult diagnosis? He also made an interesting observation about receptionists. How would you like to be responsible for marketing a company and/or it’s product and have all of your efforts negated by an ineffective receptionist? This is the reason that I advise all my clients to leave a direct number when prospecting. You may only get one chance with a prospect and you don’t want the receptionist to blow it.

Pete starts to delineate some differences here.

Tim Grahl is noticing that if he wants to be in the marketing business, he needs to learn how to sell.

Philippe makes a valid point.

Dave talks about a confused salesperson who doesn’t know the difference between marketing and selling in this post and about the importance of GOOD salespeople in this one.

I thought that I’d talk about the definition of marketing that I learned in college. I thought I’d talk about advertising, public relations, the four P’s, and all the other marketing terms and compare them to the definition of the word, “sales”, but I got bored just thinking about it.

I thought about comparing the difference between sales and marketing to the difference between a psychologist and a sociologist, the difference between a tutor and a classroom teacher or the difference between a personal coach and an exercise/sport instructor, but the analogy wasn’t perfect.

Each of the pairs above has one person that deals typically with individuals and one that deals with groups. If each is to be effective, they need specific education. Whether dealing with groups or individuals a professional will have a target. Don’t personal trainers target either older or younger, fitter or fatter, prone to injury vs very healthy? Teachers teach a specific grade level, subject, or may even work only with the “smart” kids.

But then, on Sunday, the answer came to me. I was at the beach and one of those planes flew buy towing the banner that said something like “Big party at the pier, tonight. Come one. Come all.” I’m sure that somebody saw that sign and decided to go to the party. Later, as we were driving home, we stopped at the liquor store. This knockout blonde was standing in the middle of the aisle with a table and some liquor samples to taste. As soon as I tasted, she told me that they were on special that day for $16.95. I thanked her. Bought what I had stopped for. Checked her out again as I left and wondered if anybody had bought any of her stuff that day.

I wouldn’t call either the pilot of that plane, or the blonde in the liquor store a salesperson. Were they promoting? Definitely. Did people buy? Probably. Were they “sold”? No. Predisposed? Sure. I bought $50 worth of gas earlier Sunday. What influenced my buying decision? The station was across the street from the place that I was picking up my pizza. Incidentally, I called ahead for my pizza. How did I decide where to call? Because Pizza by Alex is the best pizza in Maine and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I didn’t care about price, promotion, or place. I didn’t care about what others thought. I wanted the product. Most of us make several buying decisions every day that are based solely on marketing. Marketing sells, but only to a point.

Sometimes marketing doesn’t give a potential consumer EVERYTHING that they need to make the buying decision. In these instances someone has to ask the prospect, “Why?” in some form or other and finish the process. Marketing did nothing wrong. This prospect needed some human contact and preferably not the kind offered by Seth’ receptionist example.

Sometimes marketing prediposes consumers. Look at all the car ads. Seriously, have you ever watched the commercial, called the dealership and said, “Just saw the commercial. Send me a blue one.”? Probably not. Let’s pretend that when you went to the dealership, there were no salespeople, just a desk top computer with instructions on how to order your car or what if there were no dealership, but you could log onto the manufacturer’s website at home and order your car to be delivered in a few days. Would you? Could you?

I just realized that everything that I’ve written to this point has been written to “save” the relationship between salespeople and marketers. Grow up! It’s all about the prospect! If the prospect will make a buying decision based solely on a website, an ad, a sample, location, or some other marketing factor, then marketing doesn’t need sales. If a salesperson can take a brand new, unknown, un-packaged product and help the prospect discover a compelling need, create urgency and develop S.O.B. with the prospect without any help from a marketing effort, and the prospect buys, so be it.

As you can tell,  got bored with this post, but I posted it because I promised it. If you make a comment that’s a question, I’ll reply. If you send me a question by email, I’ll reply privately. I just don’t want to write any more.

2 thoughts on “Marketing vs. Selling (As Promised)

  1. Wow!, this was a real quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I keep putting it off and never seem to get something done.

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