Cumulus Partners

13. July 2010 02:28

Just read excellent post by Valeria Maltoni ...

13. July 2010 02:28 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

I guess I must be the last person in the world to have read Valeria Maltoni's excellent post, Customer Service is the New Marketing. She wrote it way back in 2007, but it's even more relevant now than it was three years ago. One of the nice things about researching a new book is finding or rediscovering all the cool stuff that other people have already written. It's also fun chatting with some of these people to see how their opinions have changed, or not changed. Have a great day!

8. March 2010 09:31

Comments better than original post!

8. March 2010 09:31 by mike barlow | 1 Comments

Hey, I'm the first to admit when I'm in over my head. The comments I received on my post, "The End of Marketing," were better than the post itself. So I want to share them with you right here on the ol' homepage:


beg to differ, mike

Marketing 101:  find a need and fill it , 5 P's of marketing (price, product, promotion, etc.)
Marketing 102: branding , differentiate yourself from competition
Marketing 103:  once you have a brand and positioning that resonates, sell the hell out of it!!!

So, my friend, sales is down the chain.  You can say marketing is a subset of sales, but it ain't so.


Yeah, I have to challenge this POV -- not that I am a defensive marketer or anything. Marketing, by and large, is prone to making itself subservient to sales. But this is the sign of an immature enterprise. Indeed, roles should be reversed. Sales should be a channel under Marketing's leadership -- one of many. The one who creates the demand should rule the world. This will happen: Once Marketing learns to capitalize on the new tools of marketing technology to track, measure and predict, it will move into a more dominant role. That's already true in B2C. I expect it to be true in B2B within the next decade. Actually, my preferred solution is a VP of Sales and Marketing or a Chief Revenue Officer -- someone who owns it all.


Ah, shake the tree Mike, nicely done. Two rejoinders:

1. First, this is a debate about semantics. I think we could all agree with Michael Porter's old "value chain" in which there are five basic activities that lead to margin: inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing/sales, and service. Those are irrefutable. We can argue about what we call each step and about which executive team should oversee what area, but all those steps exist in any business, from Apple to Walmart to an ice cream truck vendor. Marketing seems worthy of broader control than sales because it has a view on the entire marketplace -- including competitors, market entrants, substitutes, customers, and cultural trends that must guide the entire enterprise production flow. Apple didn't launch the iPad because it has good salespeople, but because it is building a market for a new tool.

In simplest terms, sales is a byproduct of effective marketing.

2. At the broadest macro level, beyond any single enterprise, you could argue that our entire culture is based on marketing. We buy products that we have no innate use for (brushes for teeth, sneakers for feet, diamonds for fingers) simply because a culture of marketing has told us we "need" these new tools. Because marketers are creating new demand for new products, in a way these leaders must guide the logistics of supplies, operations, sales and service. Marketing in this sense is "building a market," and companies do this all the time.

So in the most nuanced of terms, sales only exist because a vast organization has built a structure to create a new market.

It's all semantics, of course. Which reminds me: Shouldn't human resources be in charge of everything? ;)

Wow, thank you all. Now this is social media! Cheers!

5. March 2010 02:50

The end of marketing

5. March 2010 02:50 by mike barlow | 4 Comments

You can't generate profit without generating revenue first, and you can't generate revenue without sales. In business, everything is about selling.

The more I look at it, the more the whole idea of marketing seems loony. I would be much more comfortable if marketing were redefined as a sales support activity. OK, it's fair to ask: What about demand creation? Isn't demand creation an essential part of marketing?

Demand creation is an essential part of the business process. But that doesn't mean it has to be part of the marketing process. Demand creation should be a subset of the sales function, and it should be called precisely that: Demand Creation.

Here's a simple model that any business can follow:

R&D => Product Development => Demand Creation => Sales => Fulfillment => Customer Service

End of story. End of marketing. Voila!