Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Marketing and Selling no longer 'Silo' disciplines ? #marketingandsalessilos

Quite a while back ,Mark Ritson in the December 7th 2011 issue of the magazine 'Marketing Week' headlined a provocative article on the CIM report marketing and selling Fusion.

It read

The CIM is mis-selling the concept of marketing”

It  reignited an on going kerfuffle  of whether selling is part of marketing or as now being postulated by  the Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM that marketing is part of selling. .

To use the “mis selling” expression rather than the re- alignment word was certainly provocative and extreme.

Usually “mis selling” is reserved to report the likes of the  scandal of breast implants by PIP using industrial grade silicone,   or the Barclays  furor over  Swaps,  or financial advisers  offering mismatched Payment Protection Insurance or  recently Ofgem in its ongoing investigations into the energy sales practices of Scottish Power, SSE and npower and EDF Energy on this issue.

Suppliers are required  by the  various consumer watchdogs to put in place robust processes to guard against mis selling.

These obligations include ensuring that any marketing material that suppliers use and information that they provide during telesales and face-to-face marketing

 are fair,


easy to understand and

 do not relate to products that are inappropriate for the customer.

 In addition, suppliers are required to conduct any telesales and face-to-face marketing activities in a




and professional manner.

Interestingly one tends not to see in the media- the expression of 'mis-marketing' much, but far more  often that of " mis selling."

 The CIM’s Marketing and Sales Fusion report laid out the case for repositioning marketing and the sales function. Time for some Silo busting perhaps?

Cement Silos for the Cross Rail Project
 at London Paddington Rail Station

Key points from the 'Marketing and Sales fusion?' paper:

  • There has been a trend towards the separation of sales and marketing functions in businesses: this results in unnecessary competition and a detrimental impact on the business overall.

  • Research demonstrates that companies with closely aligned sales and marketing departments are more competitive and more successful.
  • A conceptual shift is required at the highest level of UK business. Both sales and marketing functions must abandon their 'silo' mentalities and embrace not just cooperation but union. Big businesses could have much to learn from SMEs, where sales and marketing are often integrated.
  • Marketing evolved out of sales, and the two disciplines share many fundamental characteristics: reuniting sales and marketing brings benefits across a business.

David Thorp, director of research and professional development at the CIM, stated:

“For too long the trend has been towards separating marketing and sales - and the marketing profession, in its desire to establish itself, undoubtedly contributed to this. We believe that, in the next decade, more and more companies will see reintegrating marketing and sales as a smart move that brings real rewards.”

Mark Ritson considered this move by the CIM as a retrograde step.

He  is in no way is expressing a snobby attitude to selling but says that

“most sales departments  think they understand marketing. But they don’t, they think it means sales. And when you approach every strategic marketing challenge thinking that marketing should deliver immediate sales, you get many of the key strategic decisions wrong. You under-price the product. You target everyone. You position to everyone. And eventually sales start to decline because of the inherent and insistent focus on increasing them.”

On the other hand Ritson said

“Most marketers couldn’t sell a bucket of water to a man whose pants are on fire, but the idea that blending the two functions into one will somehow synergize the organisation is utter nonsense.”

I guess the debate of defining marketing and selling will continue for it is not a new one.

Here are some other definitions from 'back in the day' - some serious and some light hearted:-

"Marketing is what salespeople used to do in their lunch breaks"

"Marketing is selling products that won't come back to customers who will"

"Marketing is selling artificial pearls to real swine" jokingly said by Peter Blood years ago  former head of the Institute of Marketing ( not so different to the alleged views of some at Goldman Sachs and 'Muppets' ?! as recently reported in the New York Times this year)

 Heidi Cohen has a website with 72 definitions of marketing

Marketing Guru - Philip Kotler defines marketing as 

“the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”

Related links

CIM link to download report

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