DanPhotoWebNFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi began every training camp with the following words “Gentlemen, this is a football.” This little anecdote reminds us how important it is to begin at the beginning, even with trained professionals. I feel that way about marketing. Too often the terms sales and marketing are used as if they are interchangeable – well, they’re not. Simply put, marketing is the art and science of creating awareness and sales is the art of creating preference. So, if we apply some logic, awareness has to happen before a salesperson can sell or a buyer can buy.

Seems academic… I know. If you’re an owner of a business or manager of department and you hear yourself saying “we’ll start advertising, and fix that website, and review the brand, and send out that press release after we’ve closed some sales.” then you’ve got your team heading towards the wrong end zone.

So let’s talk marketing. Marketing begins with a brand and brand promise. The brand promise is expressed as a Positioning Statement, an internal document, not for public consumption, which defines a company’s unique, relevant and defendable-over-time attributes. (And no, this is not a Mission Statement, more on that in a later blog.)

(Need a quick description of the nuts and bolts of the positioning.)

With a positioning statement in hand, companies and their marketing firms have a precise way to test every marketing tactic and creative idea. Doing so keeps marketing on target while making marketing dollars work smarter.

So, the next time you’re ready to send your sales force out into the field, be sure the field is ready for them. The success of your company depends on it.

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