Sales and Marketing are not the same

Sales is a failure of marketing

This is a viewpoint that doesn’t earn me goodwill in certain quarters. But think about it – does Apple sell you stuff? Or do you queue up outside their shops for yet another iPhone? Marketing pulls customers to you, Sales pushes you to the customer.  Sales and marketing are a part of most organizations, and in any consulting engagement the big win for me is to move a push sales model to a pull system that relies on marketing.

Marketing and Innovation are the only two things a business has to do.

As Peter Drucker put it “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”  See? Sales and marketing are not equal! Drucker said so!

Marketing is the new Sheiny tool

Shein uploads over 1000 new items to its app daily and is rapidly becoming the world’s most popular/biggest fashion retailer. It is a brand aggregator for thousands of factories in China who get to see in real time what’s hot and what’s not, and produce accordingly. Shein invests in influencers and digital advertising. Apart from the occasional pop-up store in big markets, they are purely online with no retail assistants ostentatiously bustling about showing you sizes and options.

Marketing Takeaway :

The organization is only about marketing and innovation. How can you rethink your business to be marketing first? Do you own the customer or will you be the back-end supplier?

Amazon is the World’s Biggest Advertiser

In 2009 Jeff Bezos said that advertising is the price you pay for an unremarkable product. Amazon’s embrace of advertising is a clear indication that organic reach through word of mouth or media is no longer an option for a large business. Without getting into the innovation (or lack thereof) if you have no stores or feet on street, advertising is a business essential.

Marketing Takeaway :

Relook at your organic reach plans and check that they are sufficient. Consider how much of your customer outreach drives pull rather than push. And if you have sales teams see how much of a differentiator they can offer against online.

Tech is Mainstream, Enter Sales & Marketing as Differentiator

The last decade was about new business models enabled by the internet. Amazon, BigBasket, Uber, Grab, MakeMyTrip, Booking, Netflix, YouTube – we all know these names. The tech that enabled this was fresh and custom built. The tech is now a given though. Disney+ does pretty ok against Netflix. Zoom is still first love, but a lot of folks are happily using Microsoft and Google products. Amazon is great but Flipkart, Shopee etc are doing ok. The “next best” is now quite acceptable. Most autos and taxis are on some aggregator app now.

Marketing Takeaway :

Now that tech is a given, success depends on the content and the quality of the product. The key differentiator of tech would be to ensure increased reach with your target customer.

The Rise of China as App Factory

The fate of TikTok US will be known in a few hours. TikTok is a tech platform that delivers content. Really well, but they don’t own the content. So getting rid of it – like in India – would break hearts but not permanently. YouTube or Insta would fill the void. On the other hand Shein has excellent merchandize and banning it would break not just hearts but also wallets, as it is a global storefront giving direct access to 6000+ factories.

Marketing Takeaway :

New age companies need to be prepared for age old trade rules and restrictions.

Merging the two functions, for example, under a Chief Growth Officer could reduce friction and deliver business benefits.


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