The other day at a networking session, I met a highly skilled and seasoned sales trainer. During our conversation he made a comment that gave me pause. I had mentioned that marketing drives sales. He promptly disagreed with me saying that the opposite is the case and that sales drives marketing.
From his perspective, marketing was a support to sales.
I suppose there exists a number of executives and even marketers who see the world through this lens. In fact, the title Vice-President of Sales and Marketing always confused me. The marketing strategy does not always include a sales force. Sales can come purely from retail, mail order or even captive distributors. In these environments, marketing still plays a key role.
Some see marketing as purely communications such as advertising. But again, a strong marketing strategy might not include advertising such as the Shaklee or Amway models that rely upon multi-level marketing rather than advertising. Both organizations, however, have a clear marketing strategy.
Wikipedia makes this statement as part of its definition for marketing.
Marketing can sometimes be interpreted as the art of selling products, but selling is only a small fraction of marketing.
Just as direct marketing entails a much larger universe than the direct mail medium, marketing encompasses more than just sales.
This flow chart represents one possible hiearchy for the scope of marketing in an organization.
Note that those responsible for marketing become the internal experts on the customer and even product development and refinement. Marketing makes sure that the product meets the customer's needs and that the target markets are willing and able to pay for the product or service offered.
Marketing also develops, evolves and improves advertising to support the distribution strategy. Ultimately marketing also creates successful sales models that may or may not include a sales force, retail or other systems designed to sell the company's products as efficiently as possible.
This marketing may or may not be given to the CMO might share marketing responsibilities with the CEO, CMO, CIO, the head of manufacturing and others.
The main concept is that marketing encompasses far more than just sales.The Chief Marketing Officer is not just the Chief Advertising/Communications Officer.
Everything connects and relies upon the organization's marketing strategy.
The late Peter Drucker said it best.
...the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.