The world is turning digital and technology is helping all sectors alike. Be it manufacturing, supply chain, distribution or even sales and marketing. I have had the privilege of being as sales person first and then a marketing specialist, like a first love Sales remains very dear to me although I enjoy marketing more. However, technology has invaded both the spaces and the result is Lines are blurring. Let me try and analyse the current situation as below.
Need vs Problem: Traditional Marketing is all about Institution and Process of Communication that creates perceived value for customers & clients where customer is King and communication is to create need for him with the aim to satisfy his needs by creating products and services offered.
Today’s marketing is primarily about understanding the customers problem by interacting with them first virtually, engaging with them online and then providing value thru products and services offered. The primary medium is Digital which is all about one-to-one customised communication! Hold On! One-on-one customised communication, isn’t that a sales job? Yes, it is and hence I say the lines are blurring between Marketing and Sales since the world is turning digital!
Art Only VS Art + Science: Traditional marketing is always considered as art although there are theories which provide effective support to Marketing effort (4Ps), there is hardly any science behind it! (pls educate me if any)
New age Marketing taking help form technology and is driven more by historical data making it both, Art & Science! There is so much data available about the customer behaviour, their consumption pattern, their buying habits, their brand and style preferences, their financial and economic status etc. etc., that it needs technology to aggregate, analyse and draw inferences from such a huge pile. However, it is also extremely important to understand the customer behaviour through marketer’s own experience (the Art) and at the same time decode all those data points, applying Scientifically Developed Data Analytical tools (The Science) to gain deeper knowledge. Hey once again, isn’t that sales as traditionally, we, in sales use to do? Look at various data points available about the customer, analyse them, draw conclusion, make a strategy and then move to close the sale by engaging one-on-one with them! Well yes and again it seems that World is turning digital and Lines are blurring!
One-to-many VS One-on-one: Traditional Marketing uses traditional media to create one-to-many communication that would address one and all without really knowing how much has it touched or inspired them or influenced the consumer. Digital Marketing is all bout Targeting and measuring the effort by being part of their buying journey and influencing their decision by providing optimised solutions. Again, due to large amount of data being made available by technology, consumer behaviour and their decision-making can be tracked and influenced! Which means a marketer need to know whom, where, when, what and who, to effectively interact with the customer! Once again this is another form of selling! Effective sales strategy always was about the customers and those 5W!
Perception VS Data: Product Management is one of the most important functions of Marketing! The reason Product Management was considered as Marketing Job is probably because Product Managers were perceived to be understanding and identifying the consumer needs, “creating products” to satisfy those “perceived needs” and finally collaborating with Marcom guys to create effective campaign to satisfy the “perceived need”!
In current scenario, it is very different as it is more scientifically done as it is completely data driven. This helps build products and services that are very customer focused and customised. The Product Management is more driven by Data science and hence technology drives the decision making! Based on the data, new products are created or existing products are tweaked to suite the customers, communication is customised, their feedback is tracked in real time and that is the basis to create new versions/products. Once again, all these seems to be sales job in traditional world where one interacts with the customers, collects data, provides feedback and help create new products and services! Now, the world turning digital a Product Manager one does all sales job that as Marketing person!
Hence, to me it looks like that the Marketing and Sales have very thin line between them, especially when the world is tuning more digital and as the KRAs are almost similar! Having said that, neither of them are a threat to each other if and only if their focal point is customers & their pain points, they are part of customers decision making journey by providing customised solution as well as track their response in real-time. Also, the space has just opened up and there is dearth of talent! So, it is time to hone your marketing as well sales skills!