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Gloves Off!

28 Feb 2017

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the great divide that exists between the two great and wonderful disciplines sales and marketing!

To explain my argument let’s take a look at the famous brand  – coke. Launched in 1886 it was sold in a pharmacy, sampled on the streets, pronounced “excellent” and sold for five cents a glass. Carbonated water was added which produced a “Delicious and Refreshing,” drink still reverberated in ad campaigns today! Fancy that!

During the first year sales were $50 expenses were $70.  It made a loss!

Whose fault ,sales or marketing? Was it the packaging, sampling cost, the hand painted signs, the raw materials, the selling price, the margin, the cost structure, the sales people they needed to sell more,  they give away too much.

Well what we do know – coke didn’t crash and burn.  In fact by the late 1890s, ads were in the local papers, merchandising of the product was in full swing, coupons for free samples were handed out.  While all this was going on someone was selling coke and it wasn’t the marketers; they were busy in the office going over the costing and price and creating new strategies and campaigns.  The sales people were travelling and selling to farms and lumber camps up and down the Mississippi River.  

Demand started to outstrip supply. Sales were doing their part.   The marketers were very busy and they believed the campaigns and sampling were responsible for creating the trial and interest without marketing sales would be down!

Hang on a minute!  Aren’t we forgetting the manufacturing and bottling technique.  This revolutionised the product and transformed the humble soda parlour drink. Bottling meant it could reach far and wide and didn’t need to rely on customers coming into it, it could go to the customer. Distribution capabilities exploded, mass marketing was needed, sales people were really important now!  They were out and about and selling and marketing was happy because they had the money to spend on their campaigning.

Popularity grew and grew and the development of even higher-speed bottling machinery and increasingly efficient transportation was needed to fuel demand and to serve (that’s sales) more customers.

But seriously is it simply marketing and sales.  No, it’s lawyers, business acumen, contracts, machines, factories, engineers and lest we forget the customers! They all contributed to making a funny black fizzy liquid go forth and conquer.

Today, cokes bottling system is one of the largest, most widespread production and distribution networks in the world and coke is the highest valued brand.  But I ask can any one discipline be it sales, marketing, engineering, production, manufacturing, dare I say accounting take credit – I think not.  When all is said and done what you do have to have is a great product.

Sales and marketing it’s time to kiss and make up!

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