Advertising-Selling Balance and Sales Talent Requirements

Advertising-Selling Balance and Sales Talent Requirements

Of all the marketing functions, selling is the dynamic and creative one. As someone has said: “Nothing happens until something is sold.” Selling can be done through personal contact, or by advertising or display.

Some products are best sold by advertising. These include soap, cereals, cigarettes, beer – goods that are low-priced, broadly used, and highly standardized. They are mass-produced, serve a mass market, and call for mass selling methods.

In the industrial field we depend more on personal selling, for these goods are more technical, higher priced, less standardized and often built to exacting specifications. Advertising cannot tell the complete story of a specialized product to a discriminating engineering-minded industrial buyer.

We may conclude, therefore, that the more technical, high-priced, and built-to-order the product is, the more we must depend on personal selling to analyze the potential buyer-user’s needs and to communicate its merits and values to him; also to convey to his own plant exactly what is wanted.

We must also assume that prevailing patterns exist because the experiences of successful firms have shown that, depending on their products’ characteristics, an optimum economical allocation of sales effort between the various methods or media is possible. Where advertising has been used more effectively, the need for personal selling has declined, and vice versa.

Ten Levels of Selling

As we review, therefore, the results of these relationships, that is, the balances of effort between advertising and selling (“the promotional mix,” or “persuasion system”), we find that as product technicality and typical dollar amount of sale have varied, these levels or grades of salesmen have emerged. As the owner-manager of a small plant, you are probably already familiar with the ten levels of selling. Your sales trainees may not be. In training them, you will want to emphasize levels 7, 8, 9, and 10.

The lowest form of “selling” is the “Coin-Machine,” a purely mechanical process. It is exchange of money for value, but is it selling? It is neither advertising nor selling; but it is marketing.

The second level might be the “Variety Store” – display is the actual sales force and the transaction nearly a mechanical process. The salesperson is almost an automaton.

A third level might be the “Finder” – a clerk, at the customer’s request, locates and exhibits the product for sale. The premium here is on locating the merchandise.

A fourth level could be the “Order Taker – an effortless way of learning from the customer what he might need as of a particular moment, and than providing it.

The fifth level would be the “Suggested – someone who makes some effort to get the customer to buy more as of the moment. Drug and department stores seek to develop this kind of selling.

The sixth would be the Presser” – the high-pressure artist who seeks to sell a maximum order on his first try – since he will probably not see the same customer twice, he is often ruthless.

The seventh might be called the “Adviser” – for he can be of assistance to the customer who knows his problem and states it clearly.

Eighth in rank is the “Problem Solver” – who, given the problem by the prospect, has the necessary training or experience to analyze it and to help solve it.

Ninth is the “Discoverer” – who seeks out obvious sales opportunities, possibly unknown to the prospective purchaser and explains how his product will solve them.

Tenth is the “Creator” – the salesman who, working with the customer, discovers, isolates and defines the problem, and presents a solution; all based on professional approach, procedure, and ethics.

Please Note:

1. The lower eight, from bottom to top, are primarily restricted to retailing, to the consumer goods or services field. The upper levels involve industrial goods primarily.

2 .In these first eight levels, the buyer usually approaches the seller – typically, he already knows what he needs and wants.

3. Only as we approach the top levels do we begin to see the analytical services required of the typical salesman of industrial goods.

4. Only the upper two are truly analytical, technical in approach; only these two call for truly professional knowledge and methods.

Rifle vs. Shotgun Advertising

Let’s consider the advertising program’s contribution to the promotional mix – not so much in terms of message but of media, since the purpose is to reach the right people; the method is to use the right medium or media to reach each of these effectively. We must therefore, figure out who reads, sees, and listens to what, then plan the advertising campaign accordingly.

We know generally, and publishers are continually researching for accuracy, who reads (in terms of business duties and responsibilities) each business or technical publication. The task, therefore, is to aim at a particular group or groups, depending on goal and budget. All of us know that assuming correct choice of target, a solid shot at the right one is better than scattered shots at a flock.

Appraising Market Potential and Planning

Appraising Market Potential and Planning for a Product

1. Performance of the product. What will it do? With what result? What particular features, advantages does it have? Appraising Market Potential and Planning for a Product should be done every six months in todays business environment.

 2. Uses. In what situations can it be used? Applications? What problems will it solve? In other words, how can this performance be utilized?

 3. Users. Who has those situations and problems? What kinds of firms, products (and who are their users)? Are they our present customers? Many or few users?

 4. Buying motives. What is user buying? Low cost? Employee safety? Fast production? Dependability? Flexibility? Convenience? Personal self-expression?

 5. History. Has a product like this been attempted? If any failures, what were the reasons for them? Do those reasons still exist?

 6. Buying habits. How often would users buy this product? In what quantities would they buy? Is it a seasonal item?

 7. Price. Can we make it and sell it at a profit? Are material costs reasonable, competitive, in quantities necessary? Can we afford the marketing costs?

 8. Location. Where are the people who could use the product? Are they concentrated or scattered?

 9. Numbers. How many possible users are there? How are they sorted by types of users?

 10. Channels. How do we get the product to these people? Are our present channels adequate? How about discount schedule for any middleman? Can it be attractive?

 11. Sales facilities. Can our present salesmen sell this item? Is our present sales organization suitable? Would special training be necessary for our salesmen? Dealers?

 12. Advertising. Can it be advertised along with our present lines? How much “education” would be necessary? (Consumer acceptance of the idea as well as the product.)

 13. Packaging, transportation. Is there any packaging and shipping problem, in terms of breakage, spoilage, storage, freight rates?

 14. Outlets. Would our present dealers accept it? Could their salesmen sell it? How much missionary work necessary? Exclusive dealerships? Any credit problems?

 15. Service. Will service facilities be required? What channels of handling such service are necessary? Can our outlets handle such service?

 16. Competition. What quality, performance, price shall we produce? What similar products are now on the market? How are they selling? What new items, substitutes are on the way? How about patents, other legal restrictions?

 17. Long-run considerations. Will this be an item with a long future vs. hit-and-run? Will it give us prestige and good will? Could we add related items to advantage?

Management Needs Answers

Management Needs Answers to plan

Assignment, delegation, and responsibility are created as plans are made. As the plan progresses, “questions will be asked.” These should be answerable if a sound control method has been built into the program:


1. Who are the profitable customers, where are they? If this is known, then how unprofitable are the losers, and why?


2. Which kinds of jobs are the profitable ones – by process, customer type, purpose? Which are the unprofitable and why?


3. How are our prices as compared with our competitors? What kinds of jobs have we been low bidders on, what kinds have we lost?


4. How many of our customers are in declining industries? How are sales to “old reliable” holding up? Are there any likely newcomers we ought to see more of?


5. How well are our salesmen covering the line? Are any of them becoming product specialists at our expense? Are they calling on all customers?


6.  our salesmen seeing the right people when they call? Who are the right people? Do we have this information on record?


7. Have we any group of customers who appear to give us only their low-profit business? Can we do anything about this?


8. Are our customers classified as to (a) importance to us (b) potential volume (c) profitability? Are we playing the winners in salesmen’s call frequencies?


9. Are we providing any services that our customers particularly like? Are we providing any that are unnecessary, costly but not desirable?


10. How effective is our advertising and public relations program? What kind of corporate image do we have? What kinds of work does the public associate us with?


11. How do salesmen rank as to profitability of business brought in? Have we any unprofitable salesmen? Let’s see what our most profitable man is selling, and to whom.


12. How can we save salesmen’s time? What kinds of detail can we relieve them of, profitably? What kinds of selling can be done by phone or mail?

Creating the Marketing Mix

Creating the Marketing Mix

Every business problem has alternative solutions else decisions would be unnecessary. The criteria for such decisions must be based on objectives – aspects affecting volume, profits, service and growth. Every business decision including creating the marketing mix must be based on whatever facts are available or can be assembled – the more the better so long as manageable.

Questions may be developed to organize facts to cover marketing decisions. Such questions, when answered properly, would create the most logical “marketing mix.” Thus all of the functions of marketing would be performed in maximum coordination as the modern concept of marketing management demands. The implementation of these components into an operable mechanism is a matter of delegation, management, and administration.

To emphasize the need for review and check-off of all marketing functions, and to insure full coverage in the marketing program, 17 questions are presented which a manufacturer might well ask his staff when reviewing in detail prospects for a product, particularly a new one. While many will call for clearly factual, even statistical data, others can be answered readily from observation and experience.

Most failures in marketing can be attributed to executive oversight, neglect, or lack of facts with respect to answering these questions. Hence, their importance cannot be overemphasized.

A marketing plan consists of a total volume goal broken down (at least) by products, customer types, areas, and time periods. That is, how much of each product is to be sold to each type of customer in each territory over each month or quarter? How much profit is each to produce?

The results of such planning create the salesman’s budget or quota, his responsibilities over the time period selected, and a basis for his appraisal and control and for his compensation. It is essential to the salesman’s performance that he understand these procedures and provisions. Therefore, they must be included in his training.

In summary, good business organization calls for management to:

•Establish the business goal
•Analyze the market potential
•Plan a marketing program to get the job done
•Organize manpower, equipment, capital
•Train people to execute assignments
•Execute-administrate the program
•Control it – goals, budgets, performance as planned

Thus the “marketing mix” is developed and the selling and sales promotion job defined. Only then can we question and measure the performance of those responsible.

Marketing as a Profit Center

Marketing as a Profit Center

Marketing involves many activities including selling; but it is many things more than selling. Transportation, storage, credit, packaging, and even buying are marketing activities. Sound marketing management consists of seeing to it that all marketing activities (transportation and warehousing as well as selling and advertising) are also effectively and efficiently performed, in harmony toward the common goal of profit.

Historically, we have produced in order to be able to sell. Now, we market – have a marketing organization – in order that we may justify production. When the typical (or average) consumer product (food, clothing, autos, appliances) is purchased, more than half of its price pays for its marketing, only half or less goes to production, manufacturing.

Until recently, our methods of production were generally more efficient than our methods of marketing. Currently, greater strides are taking place in marketing than manufacturing. Yet there is still more room for improvement in marketing than in manufacturing.

Today, the production costs of different firms are more likely to be competitive than their marketing costs. Assuming that the firm’s production costs are competitive, the question of profit lies in efficient marketing. No firm can succeed if (1) its production costs are excessive or (2) its marketing program is less efficient than that of its competitors.

Production should thus provide marketing with a product that is cost-competitive and can be priced and sold at a profit. It is then up to marketing to bring about these sales with maximum efficiency. Thus, marketing management becomes a center responsible for the production of profit.

“Profit” does not accrue until the goods are sold, delivered, and paid for. Hence, if production costs tend to be almost identical and the price competition is keen, the question of profit lies almost entirely in relative marketing efficiency as between producers. If “marketing” encompasses all activities beyond production and if profit losses can occur in any phase of distribution, then it is marketing efficiency that makes or breaks profits.


“Giveaways” — the pencils, pens, buttons, calendars and refrigerator magnets you see everyday — are called “Specialty Advertising” in the advertising business.

Chances are, you have some specialty advertising items right at your desk. Businesses imprint their name on items and give them away (or sometimes sell them at very low cost) in order that:

You notice their name enough times on the item to build “top-of-the-mind” awareness. So when you need a restaurant, for instance, you think of their name first.

You appreciate the goodwill of the company giving you the item and eventually return the favor by giving them some business.

These are both long-term advertising investments that can take months or years to turn into actual sales.

First, select the best item that would tell your story most effectively. While an accountant can give away an inexpensive calculator, the same item may not be ideal for a hairdresser. A comb or brush might be more appropriate in that case.

Second, decide what you are going to say on the item. A company slogan? Address directions? Since you have a relatively small area, you must be very concise and direct.

Third, figure out your method of distribution. Are you going to send them to each customer through the mail? If so, how much will that cost? Will you have them in a big bowl that says “take one”? Distribution is just as important to consider as buying the item.

Just as there are many reputable specialty advertising professionals in your area, the industry is notorious with a lot of high-pressure telephone and mail solicitors who often give specialty advertising a bad name. Don’t buy specialty advertising through the mail without checking the quality and prices with trusted local representatives first. And, buying specialty advertising over the telephone is not recommended at all.

Specialty advertising is a unique way to generate goodwill and put your name on items that people remember. But don’t do it unless you have an item and distribution plan that will benefit your business.





When people think of Outdoor Advertising, they usually think of the colorful billboards along our streets and highways. Included in the “outdoor advertising” classification, however, are benches, posters, signs and transit advertising (the advertising on buses, subways, taxicabs and trains).  They are all share similar advertising rules and methods.




Outdoor advertising reaches its audience as an element of the environment.  Unlike newspaper, radio or TV, it doesn’t have to be invited into the home.  And it doesn’t provide entertainment to sustain its audience.




Some Outdoor Advantages


Since it is in the public domain, Outdoor Advertising assuredly reaches its audience.  People can’t “switch it off” or “throw it out.”  People are exposed to it whether they like it or not.  In this sense, outdoor advertising truly has a “captured audience.”




It’s messages work on the advertising principle of “frequency.”  Since most messages stay in the same place for a period of a month or more, people who drive by or walk past see the same message a number of times.




Particular locations can be acquired for certain purposes.  A billboard located a block in front of your business can direct people to your showroom.  Or you can reach rural areas efficiently by placing a billboard in each small town.




Outdoor advertising is an excellent adjunct to other types of advertising you are doing.  In fact, it is most effective when coupled with other media.




Some Outdoor Disadvantages


Outdoor advertising is a glance medium.  At best, it only draws 2-3 seconds of a reader’s time.




Messages must be brief to fit in that 2-3 second time frame.  Ninety-five percent of the time, either the message or the audience is in motion.




The nature of the way you have to buy outdoor advertising (usually a three month commitment) is not conducive to a very short, weeklong campaign.




When you buy outdoor advertising, remember that location is everything.  High traffic areas are ideal.  A billboard in an undesirable area will do you little good.  Keep your message concise (use only five to seven words) and make it creatively appealing to attract readership.  Few words, large illustrations (or photos), bold colors and simple backgrounds will create the most effective outdoor advertising messages.