The Inexcusable Dearth of Sales MBAs

The oft-quoted John Wanamaker also happens to be oft-misinterpreted. His assessment on how his marketing budgets are wasted may not necessarily be a call for greater accountability, but perhaps a piercing observation on how his marketers' misguided, groupie-like infatuation with advertising and brand names resulted in other, more productive marketing tactics being overlooked. Despite widespread knowledge of the differences between marketing and advertising, marketing experts are underwhelmingly tactical specialists particularly fond of just one tactic.

Mr. Wanamaker would probably turn in his grave if he discovered all our stupendous scientific advancement in the science of selling took a backseat to the science of marketing. Ask any senior marketing executive of a company with an enviable marketing program about their feelings on the surplus of marketing MBAs available for their limited marketing jobs, yet unfortunate dearth of sales MBAs for that most critical of functions, and you'd get the same response - inexcusable. When did spending money, as marketers are trained to do, become sexier than making it?

I believe Mr. Wanamaker, as countless leaders after him have also realized, had only one thing on his mind when he made his legendary remark - "I know that one-half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is, I don't know which half" - his marketers' unbusiness-like obsession with advertising resulting from their seemingly ego-driven inability to sell.

Write to Al Berrios at editor@alberrios.com


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