Becoming Professional: A Blog

Archive for July 2010

"Sales versus Marketing" "The difference between sales and marketing"

by timparkinson

I am in Marketing. Nameless recruiters: Please stop contacting me for sales jobs. My degree states “Marketing.” My experience is mostly in “Marketing.” Why are you contacting me about a position selling windshields?

Phone calls from prospective employers or even requests for help from folk I’m just chatting with have a tendency to all lean in the same direction: “I make thingamajigs. Could you ‘market’ them for me? I’ll give you 5% of each thingamajig I sell thanks to your efforts.” On the very surface (and I mean extremely surface level, here) that sounds okay. I’m being offered a job, after all. Money’s nice.

And then I realize, there’s another name for that pay scale: Commission. There’s nothing wrong with commission, but that’s what salespeople get. I’ve worked with a few salespeople. I like them. They tend to be personable, smart, and dedicated individuals. I respect what they do. I do not do it. I do marketing, thank you.

What is the difference? Here’s a list of five differences that should give you the gist. I hope this list helps people looking for positions figure out what they are actually looking for, and small business owners to figure out who they need to hire.

  1. Sales is 1:1. Marketing is 1:many. Even with social media marketing, it is 1:1:many. That means that even though I may be replying to a single person on Facebook, it is a public reply and other people are watching. What I say will influence that one person, but it will also influence all those silent watchers… who may choose not to be silent and jump in themselves.
  2. Sales is relationship driven. Marketing is data driven. Marketers analyze data and do tests, like A/B testing with ads. We analyze website analytics and public behavior. Salespeople analyze the behavior of a limited group of people, the sales prospects whom they can deal with on an individual basis. Sure, Marketers also focus on groups, but our target audiences are way too big to contact individually. You try contacting all American women between 25 and 50, who’ve graduated from college, and have two kids. Yeah, I thought so.
  3. Salespeople don’t develop products. Marketers do. Marketing is more than just convincing people to buy. Marketing is also researching what a target population desires and then turning those desires into a product that can be sold. Salespeople work with the prospect to figure out which of the available products is best for her, yes, but they don’t develop products from scratch.
  4. Sales is very track-able. Marketing is not. If a sales guy makes a sale, he knows. Marketers don’t get that instant gratification. If a person comes in because she saw an ad, she might not even know it herself. She may think she was just walking down the street and was thirsty. I’ve heard it said that you have to be in front of a person 3 times before she buys. Does she remember the first time? Did she consciously notice it?
  5. Sales is about sales. Marketing is about more than sales. Salespeople sell. That is what they do and part of the reason they make commission. You want a salesman to focus on selling. Marketers do more than sell. We manage reputations. Coca-Cola’s brand was worth $68.73 billion in 2009. It’s hard to say how much a single marketing action affects a brand’s image, but you can feel it when the marketing’s not there. Marketers get paid salary because their value is in more than driving sales, so rewarding them based on just sales doesn’t fit.

A motivational poster saying "Google Before You Tweet is the New Think Before You Speak"

My boyfriend sent me this link a few days ago. I wish I had checked it out sooner. As far as I can tell it was originally posted here, though it was sent to me via

This poster is reminiscent of an SAT analogies question. Google before you _______: Think before you Speak. But is this true? Is Googling really the new thinking? Is Tweeting the new speaking? Besides the obvious change from a non-digital form of the action, we’ve replaced thinking and speaking with brand names. As much as I love Google and Twitter, they are companies. Thinking and speaking are my own creation, yes, defined by a word, but at least I don’t have to follow it with a (r) or ™ sign. Or pay royalties. But this might just be a mountain out of a mole-hill. After all, when I sneeze, I ask for a Kleenex.

There is the obvious applicability to personal branding. Tweeting is very public, like many forms of speaking, particularly when gabbing with the rumor-spreaders at work. Rumor-spreaders probably love Twitter, too, since it makes it easier to share the gossip. Only unlike just thinking before you speak, we now have lots of tools to be sure that not only is the information we’re sharing accurate, it is applicable. For instance, before posting this blog, I Googled the phrase “Google before you Tweet” and discovered that most of the mentions of this poster on the first few pages of results are just that, an image of the poster with little or no comment or analytical response.

So yes, please Google your topic before you Tweet about it. Be sure that you don’t jump into the middle of a conversation without knowing the details. It helps to prevent you from looking the fool. But please remember that Googling is not thinking. Googling happens on your computer; thinking happens in your brain. Both are useful.

by Steve Snodgrass

Sometimes simple things can take forever. Sometimes getting to point A from point B, a mere hop and skip away, is not allowed. By HR, by lawyers, by doctors, you name it. It’s something I’ve noticed now that I am no longer a “child” and can’t just have a hissy fit to get my way. This came into sharp relief last Tuesday. It’s not from the business world, but the lesson learned is applicable everywhere. See, last Tuesday I tried to get a prescription and fill it. It took me 3 hours.

I’m sure you’re wondering how a prescription could take 3 hours to get and fill. First off, no, my doctor isn’t in another time zone. And no, I don’t live in Timbuktu and have to drive to the nearest city to find a pharmacist. (And I’m sure that folk in Timbuktu have their own pharmacists, thank you.)

It took me 3 hours because my calls kept getting dropped on my land-line, I got lost, I got a new prescription drug club membership that took forever to call and set up, and that I had accidentally set up wrong as I discovered at the pharmacy, which had lines and took 20 minutes to fill the prescription anyway.

You can easily substitute getting paperwork from HR into this tale, or dealing with lawyers. Imagine trying to get worker’s comp!  I’m a big proponent in being a professional no matter what I am doing. Being in the office is optional. Being professional is not. So to me, this prescription saga really is a lesson in professionalism. The lesson I learned was that patience truly is a virtue. Though the Fry’s Pharmacy folk weren’t the most smiley and customer service prone folk in the world, they didn’t deserve my wrath. I had to find the patience to let them do their work the way they do it. My yelling and screaming would solve nothing, except make the process take even longer.

Perhaps your company’s HR department needs a lesson in common sense. Well, it’s not up to you to give it to them (unless it is). Fill out your little complaint card, if you want. But otherwise, patience.

The Quick Review: Wow! Buy now!

The Long Review: Wow! Buy now!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow. It’s one part history book, one part math text, one part puzzler, and one part philosophy book. And a whole lot of awesome. The best part is, even though I would not technically describe it as a business book, the points Mlodinow hits on are immensely useful for business.

Here’s an example: Mlodinow explains that producers and lead execs for Hollywood movie studios are evaluated by their ability to choose and predict winners. He then describes one exec who had this amazing knack for picking the biggest grossing films to greenlight, but then one year, she had a bunch of flops. She was fired. The next year, that studio put out mega-blockbusters. Of course, because of how the movie industry works, those were films that she, the old exec, had okayed production on. How did that year of flops occur? Answer: Simple randomness. The probability of a year of flops was just high enough for it to actually happen.

The book is full of examples like that, but it is also so much more. Mlodinow goes back in time to study where the theories of randomness came from, introducing us to history’s greatest mathematicians, often humorous characters in and of themselves, such as Pierre-Simon de Laplace, a French mathematician who lived during the French Revolution and Napoleon’s time by basically saying whatever was popular (and would let him keep his head) as vehemently as possible.

The Drunkard’s Walk also is a decent math text, as long as your goal is to learn concepts and not actually make proofs. Ever wondered what Pascal’s triangle is? Well, Mlodinow will tell you, as well as how to make your own and what to use it for. As a tid-bit, it looks like this:
triangle of numbers known as Pascal's Triangle

Then there are the great puzzles. For instance, what are the chances that given one twin is a girl that both will be girls? Well, the chances that there will be two girls is 25%, right? (50% x 50% = 25%) But the answer to this question is 33%. Want to know why? Pick up the book. It’s described on page 52, right amongst other great puzzles.

This is a fantastic book that describes many of the laws at work around us. From movie block-busters to twin girls, it’s all written in a fantastically conversational tone with dashes of humor that make math interesting. I wish my high school math teachers had used this book!

You see it everywhere. People complaining about coworkers, friends of friends, bosses, parents, policemen who pull them over, even their drug dealers. On their blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You also see personal branding gurus and HR pros saying all the time “Don’t do it, fool!”

I’ve managed a business’s online marketing. I’ve seen what the company’s employee’s would post. They should have known I was looking. After all, we had dispersed a social media policy (They are so popular, aren’t they!). Why, oh why, did one employee post about hating his job and his boss? It was all I could do not to type a response, using the company’s official Twitter, “I’m watching. You do know that, right?” Luckily I never had to deal with a drug post.

diary, venting, privacy
But why do people do it? Do we have some inner need to vent? Considering the usual content of paper diary entries, I’d say yes, we do. Humans want to be heard. Isn’t that at the heart of one of the best customer services strategies known to man? You don’t actually have to give into demands as long as you said, “I hear you” before you say no? But why do we vent on blogs and Twitter and Facebook about things we don’t want anyone but close friends to know about?

It’s easy. Too easy! I’m in front of my computer all day, Tweeting about things, working on blog entries, and I get an annoying call from my boss to come in to work. It takes all of five seconds to tap “Damn boss! Today was supposed to be my day off! ARGGHHH!” into Twitter. And it takes just about as long for my boss to fire me (excluding paperwork).

I wont go in to why people shouldn’t post about such things online. I figure, if you found my blog, you know why. Or you can read some of my other posts on personal branding and figure it out real quick. Rather, I want to know why people don’t edit themselves. Do they not realize, like my wonderful employee, who is watching and listening in? Do they not know why it is verboten? It does take discipline, forethought, and general awareness. Are these qualities lacking in many people? Or is the need to vent just so strong that it overcomes caution?

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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