Monday, September 11, 2006

Sales ≠ Marketing

A headline in the Boston Globe caught my marketing eye on Sunday. “Work comes looking for top marketers.” The sub-head was less inviting ‘Senior salesmen with proven worth are hot, especially in healthcare, tech.’ And the article went on to talk about sales, marketing, and sales and marketing positions that are “out there.”

I don’t know why, but having spent 25 years in high-tech marketing I HATE when the terms sales and marketing are used interchangeably.

Yes, I know that “the dictionary” conflates the terms. (I know because I just looked it up in a Random House Dictionary the heft of a Gutenberg Bible and, much to my chagrin, found it out.)

But those of us who’ve worked in sales and/or marketing know that the fields are adjacent but distinct.

Sales is, well, getting someone to buy something.

Marketing, in my definition – and experience – is making products easier to sell and easier to buy. Marketing makes sure that products meet some-need-or-another (amazing how many products don’t really). Marketing makes sure that the audience for these products is aware that they exist. Marketing makes sure that the audience understands what the product is and does (also amazing how many products are out there – especially in the software world – where you don’t really know what the product is, only that it will provide you instant ROI). Marketing makes sure that the salespeople know who that audience is, where they are, and what to say when you get there.

That’s my view anyway. If only I could sell it. Or market it.

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