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Monday, March 14, 2011

Marketing, Advertising, and Sales 101



What is Advertising?

It's often confused with Marketing. And Sales. And Sales and Marketing. Community Outreach? Sure, toss that in there with all the other euphemisms, too.

Marketing is renting a lodge where the animals are. Advertising is hunting. Sales is bullets.I hate to break it to you, but you're the deer, dear.

Marketing people have the least to do with the public, at least personally, so any essential creepiness on their part is hidden. They talk about customers like bacilli in a pyrex dish, but no one hears it until it's passed along to others and gussied up and covered with shiny glass balls and garlands. That's why cable networks don't make episodic dramas about callow and cutthroat marketing departments with buxom secretaries.

People in advertising can seem rather two-faced. Janussarries, if I can coin a word. Advertisers are paid to fall in love with a product. Like all callow lovers, they are prodigious haters, too. They are tasked with making others love and hate things in turn, but the money has to convince them first. The most effective advertising sometimes sounds like love, or sounds like something unexceptional, but is seething with studied disregard for competitors. Don't be evil is not a promise to nice. It's a vicious, unsubstantiated accusation against your competitors, made by stealth. It's almost worthy of a politician.

Salesmen are the butchers. Close the deal. They are paid to get stuff on their aprons, the stuff the supposedly vicious admen and rapacious businessmen can't seem to stomach. Good salesmen make the customer feel as though the salesmen is simply helping the customer get what they want. It may even be true. But generally salesmen would push your face into the paper and mash a pen in your hand and move your arm over the contract by jerking your elbow around, if they could. They don't come on the lot, 'lessen they wants to buy...

It's not personal (Sonny); it's just business.And salesmen aren't even always wrong in this regard. Sometimes a potential customer drives themselves to distraction worrying endlessly about signing on the line that is dotted. Ending the process gracefully is a blessing all around in many cases.

I run a very rare operation nowadays. I am a vertically integrated business. I thought up the concept, and I designed the products, and I make the product, and made the place the product is made, and I identify the potential customers, and talk to them, and sell to them, and send things to them, and I wonder forevermore afterwards about whether every single one of them is still happy with me. It's easy for me to love the thing I'm selling, and I deserve less or more credit for delivering the whole megillah depending on your worldview. If I was more disconnected from the disparate steps in my operations, others could be paid to do them, and more customers could be served. Some persons like small, and reward me for my efforts. Some give credit to bigger organizations that don't lose their soul by inches in expanding out instead of up. Me, I'd just like to eat more often and sleep more soundly.

I've become attuned to the machinations of selling things to people. I see the wires behind the animatronics a lot. We live in a world where Bill Gates is considered by many to be an evil mofo, but the ShamWow guy is lovable, at least between bouts of biting a hooker on the face, and being bitten.That is not a naturally occurring phenomenon.

To put yourself in Michelangelo's shoes, he told the Pope that once the money was settled, he'd find a way to fall in love with the Pope's thankless Sistine ceiling painting job. The Pope just wanted to get his message out. He hired the best ad man he could find. We're all the better for it. And I'm sure the Catholic salesmen ultimately had an easier time closing the deal under that ceiling. Advertising and marketing and sales doesn't have to make your flesh crawl. And many of the greatest artists I know of produced advertising for others. Picasso was one, lifelong advertiser for himself, but made is seem as if he didn't have a bit of self-promotion going on. I preferred Suess just taking the money and making Flit ads. There's more charm in it, and less deception.

So everyone has to warm to their task along the way to sell a product or service, and everyone uses dollar bills for the fire they warm their hands over. But you can tell when it's not just the money talking; when a manifest affection develops for the object of the attention of talented people.

Watch the video. Whoever made it -- and conceptualized it in the first place --  learned to love it; and maybe you might to, they importune without seeming to, if you've got a moment.

How else do you explain telling potential customers how much fun they'll have with their boogers frozen in their beard?

5 comments:

Gagdad Bob said...

I've been training my 6 year-old to see the strings behind the TV ads, and so far it's working. He knows that virtually every ad aimed at adult males promises that if they use the product, girls will want to snuggle with them.

Anonymous said...

Checked back to see if my comment had any responses, only to find it taken down.

In reading your guidelines, I did not feel that I had violated any of them. If you were at all offended by my comment, please understand that was not my intent at all and allow me to apologize.

I sincerely meant no harm nor to cause offense and am honestly at a loss as to how I might have done so. I have read your blog on several occasions in past and always enjoyed your point of view.

I am sorry for any offense I caused, and would respectfully ask that you believe me when I say that was absolutely not my intent.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Anonymous- I don't know if you're pulling my leg, but I haven't had to erase a comment in years.

We lost our electricity today, and haven't seen anything today.

Not sure what happened. Please try again. And thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

No I am not pulling your leg.

I am however quite relieved that it seems an electronic gremlin, not mistaken offense, caused it to disappear.

I posted a, most likely too long, comment explaining that I work in Sales and how the "Consultative" model now holds sway over the majority of the industry.

I posted without my name or reference to my company as a way of showing that I was not trolling for business.

I did make one snide comment regards our current POTUS, nothing off color mind you.

I hit "post" and it did indeed post and back to Maggie's I surfed.

Returning, I found no post nor explanation, just a blank space and your guidelines.

One of the things in this world that bothers me most is the "Sorry if I offended you." apology. I've always considered it half-ased and a weasely way of avoiding a true apology. But in remembering my remarks I honestly could not figure out what I might have done to cause offense. So, much to my chagrin, I found myself writing the text book "Sorry if I offended you" apology.

I can't remember all of my post, and it's most likely for the best that it wound up being sacrificed to the gods of cyberspace.

The only point I wanted to get across was that as a Sales Professional, I strive daily to live up to the advice given to me many years ago by a friend and mentor who told me:

"Life is a walk through a cow pasture, resign yourself to getting some manure on you. The measure of a man is weather he seeks to avoid it, or gives up and wallows in it."

LordSomber said...

As someone with a love/hate relationship with advertising (and sales reps), this is an excellent post.