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Marketing beats sales every time?

I recently saw a comment and actually watched the subsequent YouTube interview with a leading light on online marketing who said that if you need to do sales then your marketing is wrong. It got me thinking and actually made me review the last 30 plus years I have had in sales and marketing.


It has always been seen that marketing is vital and that 50% of your marketing works, you just don’t know which 50%, that may still be true today, although many would argue that it is easier to track marketing spend and the return that it brings.


When digital marketing became a “thing” then everyone said that digital would replace print advertising, but today the main reason there has been a drop in newspaper and magazine sales has been more to do with those publications becoming digital and adjusting the needs of the consumer. Everyone said that you can track and advert and track how many people clicked on it and how great that was, but I disagree.


The reason I disagree is that today digital advertising can be highly targeted, but many people still browse when they click on an advert, so that there is a reliance on re-marketing strategies. I also look at what are accepted click rates and conversion rates, which are very low indeed. Don’t get me wrong I believe in digital marketing, but it must never be seen as the sole route to new sales.


The marketing mix needs to be trackable and the key reason that people's marketing fails is the user experience when they contact you to buy or enquire. Regardless of an all singing and dancing ecommerce site or someone picking up the telephone then the user experience needs to be right and work, this includes my pet subject of following up.


If someone comes to your website, your social media or your physical shop or office then it must be geared up towards making the buying process as easy as possible. Take the local supermarket, when automated tills came in it was seen as a disaster, no checkouts with a human being, but today they do work and it does allow people not to queue for so long and if you want speed then it is there. Conversely, you would not go to a store such as Harrods or Selfridges and buy an expensive item through a quick automated check out.


So, to answer the question of 'sales is a result of bad marketing' – I don’t agree, but I do feel that sales and marketing work in harmony if the laws of attraction and the user experience in the buying process are joined up. Are your marketing and sales processes joined up and the user experience documented and understood?


Phil Coley is CSO and Founder of iPlus Group who specialise in outsourced sales, marketing and media for all types of business.