Is marketing art or business?


The end of January I had a blogpost about the purpose of marketing. “The principal objective of all marketing is sales”. I posted this statement as a discussion on a LinkedIn group, ”Marketing Communication”.

And there was a discussion for two weeks, which ended with 91 posts. What strikes me with this all in all very good and positive discussion was the amount of feeling in some of the posts.

Most surprisingly though was that this even spurred the amount of comments it did. To me the obvious answer would be “yes of course”. Why else should we market anything?

There was of course the discussion of NGO and Governmental marketing, like campaigns for using seatbelts, don’t drink and drive and quit smoking. But to me even most of these campaigns are about money, not sales, but about cutting public budgets.

Since I followed the whole discussion (of course) the conclusion to the whole thing was that there are two camps: One that doesn’t want marketing to be just about money, there is a higher goal – The art group if you will. In their view the sales departments do selling. The other group was they who agreed to the statement – The business group.

My conclusion after this exercise is that marketing is business.

If you think marketing should aim for a higher goal than just sales – don’t take a job in a commercial business.

If you do believe it’s all about business, then play by the business rules; make sure you set goals to what your marketing should achieve and measure it. It’s the only way you will achieve any credit for what you do when talking to a CFO/CEO or a board.

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