I think you’ll agree that most sales and marketing people have very different personalities and depending on corporate culture, management styles and direction, the important functions they direct and manage can either work together in harmony or be very challenging especially for successful trade show exhibit planning and participation.
In many corporations, the trade show exhibit program is considered, managed and budgeted as a marketing support function and usually reports to either a marketing, marketing communications or advertising manager. Trade show exhibiting joins the advertising, public relations, sales promotion and sales support departments as a marketing activity and there in lies the potential for friction and general disagreements with a sales team’s needs, philosophies and performance mandate.
In his book the The Gamesman H. Maccoby, developed from his extensive research and interviews with corporate America, four types of organizational personalities: the craftsperson, the organizational person, the jungle fighter and the gamesman. His focus states that no one is purely of one type, but rather a mixture depending on the circumstances and challenges confronting each during the course of daily management responsibilities and business pressures.
The same can be said for the personalities of marketing and sales people when faced with challenges and every day business situations, however, there is a difference between the two and those dynamics often show themselves when faced with the tasks of trade show planning and successfully executing exhibit functions on the show floor.
Although the personality traits of each discipline may often blend with top management’s insistence on team cooperation and focus on overall company success, in reality, each person’s daily tasks and responsibilities tend to follow along department lines and philosophies. Simply stated, the marketing people do what they are directed to do and the sales people do what they directed to do.
Much of marketing’s personality is based on strategic thinking and planning. Tasks often include market research, competitive analysis, product introduction program development and the design
of selected communications and advertising campaigns. Marketing communications, web development, direct mail, print advertising and public relations activities are all a part of the marketing department’s mix of duties and responsibilities.
According to Robert A. Grayson, author of the book Introduction to Marketing, “Marketing is a commercial process which attends and facilitates the movement of goods and services through the economy to enlarge and satisfy consumer needs consistent with the corporation’s fundamental objectives.” While Grayson goes on to list most of the functions and tools of the marketing mix, he does not list the actual face to face tactical selling function which is usually confined to and the sole responsibility of the sales team.
The early development of the corporate marketing function as we know it was accomplished at Procter and Gamble when in 1879 they introduced Ivory soap to the consumer masses. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that Proctor and Gamble’s concept of a brand management system began to take shape. This innovative marketing organization was officially created in 1931 and was based on competing brands managed by dedicated groups of marketing people. The new system provided more specialized consumer marketing strategies for each brand and Procter & Gamble’s famous brand or product management system was born and copied today by many successful corporations.
Since then, Proctor and Gamble has successfully introduced main stays in the consumer world including: Crest toothpaste, Crisco cooking oil, Head and Shoulders shampoo and Old Spice after shave lotion to name a few.
While working at Memorex, management decided to enter the audio tape business which was then dominated by 3M and they cleverly hired a team of Proctor and Gamble marketing executives to head up the new consumer audio tape division. It didn’t take these experts long to develop the ingenious advertising campaign, “Is it live or Memorex? Reproduction so true it can shatter glass”, at Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago and within one year commandeered almost 14 % of the world wide audio tape business away from a dazed 3M Corporation.
That innovative program was an excellent example of successful consumer marketing directed by a team of professional marketers who knew how to develop and launch a new consumer product using the science of “pull through” marketing they learned so well at Proctor and Gamble.
In contrast to the extremely successful consumer audio tape division’s accomplishments against 3M, Memorex’s business to business divisions who were pitted against IBM and other computer mainframe manufacturers were struggling to survive. This untenable situation provided a poignant appreciation of the unique differences between consumer and business to business marketing effectiveness.