Updated: May 31
If you’re a marketer like myself, chances are you've come across clients who claim marketing goals are to generate sales before.
I don’t know how you’d typically respond, but my practiced response is this:
“If marketing is responsible for sales, then what is the sales department responsible for?”
The sense of achievement I get after educating a client on this is far beyond creating any posts. That is why I have decided to write this blog to challenge others who feel the same and believe sales is the responsibility of marketing.
1. What is causing the confusion?
I believe the reason for people to continuously mistake sales as the responsibility of marketing is that various different roles and expertise have been forcefully merged together and became hybrids. Job postings now require marketers to do anything from PR to branding to social media, and salespeople are forced to figure out branding and brand value propositions. As I see it, the reason is not just the mere desire for a multi-tasking workforce. The real cause of this is the neglected and disregarded importance of branding.
2. So, what is marketing, sales, and branding anyways?
Marketing, by definition, is “the process an organization undertakes to engage its target audience, build strong relationships to create value to capture value in return”. And the role of sales is “to bridge the gap between the potential customer’s needs and the products/services that the organisation offers that can fulfil their needs”. Branding, on the other hand, is the identity of the company.
In essence, branding, marketing, and sales need to work together to create a successful company. Sadly, somewhere during our rapid technological advancement, when things like fast fashion and fast products became the norm, people started to believe that branding is no longer as important.
3. How are marketing, sales, and branding connected?
Marketing does not drive sales. It is actually the other way around. A great analogy I can provide to better understand the relationship is as follows.
Gabriel is a single man looking for a relationship.
He uses a dating app, and he spends a good amount of time conversing with people there.
He makes sure to read the person’s bio before talking to them, this way, he can talk about shared interests.
This is marketing.
He is sensitive and detail-driven.
He presents himself honestly, and so, the people who are interested in him are not only interested based on the way he talks, but also who he truly is.
This is branding.
In the end, he met Jane. He catered to her needs, provided things she is looking for in a relationship, and soon they started seriously dating.
This is sales.
Companies are just the same. Marketing is about identifying and executing the best way to express the brand to attract the right target audiences. It can, indeed, generate leads through a marketing funnel, but sales is another story. Because your target audiences, particularly those who aren’t looking to buy, won’t fall for a marketing message. They fall for the authenticity of a brand. Good branding is what makes people choose you and stay loyal to you. And that is why many brands are resorting to pricing strategies to acquire sales, because they haven’t been building their brand and the only edge they have left is low prices.
4. I understand marketing is not sales, but what should I do if my company has weak branding?
Like good marketing, good branding takes time to build. Given that your sales process is up to par, and your digital presence is strategized and properly formulated, here are two ways you can go about sustaining your business if you have weak branding.
i) Invest in content marketing
Apart from branding, the other way that can consistently attract high quality leads is with content marketing. Content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." Of course, this, by no means, is simply creating content and posting them online. The key here is to have a clearly defined audience and a strong marketing strategy. So instead of relying on branding to attract your potential customers, you answer target audience questions with content to become top of mind.
ii) Build a paid funnel
Many companies struggle to understand the advantages of content marketing and would rather go straight to advertisements to try and solve their problem. Though advertisements are indeed tailored for attacking low-hanging fruits, it could help generate sales for the time being. Instead of creating advertisements around the brand, the product, or even a trigger; create advertisements solely about a target audience pain point. Use these advertisements to drive to a landing page that details how your product is the solution. In the end, give your traffic a big fat red purchase now button to click on.
Both of the options mentioned above could well work, but both will require investments. And building a paid funnel and driving traffic in through paid ads could well involve a cost much greater than building your brand. That is why all of my clients have decided to invest in content marketing instead.
One of my clients who initially only engaged me with consultation sessions soon realized the importance of having a content strategy. After establishing one for her online performance arts and culture platform, we sprung into action with content creation and distribution across Instagram and on her website. Within the first month, we were able to achieve an impressive total of 720 organic website taps from Instagram and an average of 4 minutes 18 seconds of average engagement time on the website from organic traffic. These traffic converted into members on the site, which is her goal. More importantly, these numbers would have been costly, if not impossible, to acquire through paid tactics.
If you are struggling to acquire quality leads, suffering from costly ad campaigns, or not achieving your content, click here to see the steps you can take if you worked with a content marketer like me!