Tonight on #IMCchat (the Integrated Marketing Communications chat on Twitter) we discussed the definition and focus of sales-oriented and market-oriented companies and the advantages/disadvantages of both. Typically when people hear “sales” and “market” they equate it to sales and marketing…and the unfortunate contention that often seems to exist between the two. Before we go down the path of sales versus marketing, let’s take a look at the characteristics of each type of orientation.
- Heavy reliance on promotion activity to sell products/services the company wanted to make;
- Aggressive selling tactics;
- Promotion consumes a large share of the company’s overall budget;
- Inside-out thinking (If we build it they will come); and
- Short-term vs. long-term planning.
- Consumers/Customers less willing to be persuaded;
- Consumers/customers are knowledgeable about the market and the products/services available;
- Companies identify what customers want and tailor all business towards those wants/needs (in an efficient manner);
- Marketing vs. just selling (i.e. management of the 4 Ps, not just promotions);
- Offers mass customization;
- Product input before selling (Alpha testing, beta testing, trials, etc); and
- Long-term vs. short-term planning.
See? We aren’t talking about sales versus marketing at all. We are talking about corporate culture and how the determination is made for producing products and services.
Some of the companies that we talked about included Apple, Zappos, Southwest, Comcast, Ford, DuPont, Delta, SC Johnson. We also discussed companies that were once sales-oriented, but then were driven, by customer response to be more market-oriented, like Dell.
If we are to consider integrated marketing communications and its core being customer-focused, is that even a possibility for a sales-oriented company? If you are a marketer that believes in being market-oriented how do you get management buy-in when the corporate culture they created is internally focused?
More importantly, is it possible to be a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll (Yep, that would be a hat tip to the Osmonds!) That is can a company be both sales- and market-oriented? If they are both, where does innovation fall? And what are the advantages/disavantages? From and IMC advantage perspective, I often think about Fiskars, which is a great example of devoted and loyal customers—known as Fiskateers— helping a company to innovate products.
After taking a look at the characteristics, what kind of company do you work for? What have been your challenges/successes?