What I am and am not (professionally speaking)

Not to be all about my career (as you might have noticed, I almost never talk about what I do here, as that is not the point of this blog), but in point of fact I’ve spent roughly the last 20 years of my career in one kind of marketing or another.

I’ve worked in multiple industries and held varied marketing roles: from strategy to execution, from creating channel programs to creating campaigns, from database and direct marketing to digital/email marketing communications, and from marketing strategy & execution to market research.

Professionally speaking, I am a well rounded marketer.

What I am not, never have been, and never will be, is a salesperson.

I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. Sales is a vitally important function for companies, and good sales people today have very little in common with the unfortunate stereotype of “1970’s sleazy car salesman” that people often associate with the term.  Rather good sales people are helpful, consultative problem solvers who believe in the products or services they are selling (or they wouldn’t sell them) and in helping the customers they are serving have successful outcomes.

Sometimes their role is called “sales.” Sometimes “business development” and sometimes “account management” or any number of other variations on a theme.  And sometimes – unfortunately for people like me – it’s called “marketing” but marketing in a sense that is still meant as a euphemism for sales.

And sales is a completely different thing from what I do. A completely different skillset and mindset is involved.. For all my skills as a marketer, I am not particularly wired to be gifted at sales. Sales and marketing can be two sides of a single coin – it all works most beautifully when sales and marketing are working in partnership in an organization to understand customer needs, create opportunities to address them, and ultimately lead to a positive long-term customer experience – but they are not the same.

And so, as a marketing professional, I really wish that particular euphemism would go away.  I also wish recruiters would pay closer attention to the fact that my CV is covered with details about my experience as a marketer but that none of it involves sales or selling.

Dear Recruiter. Thanks for your email. However, it seems apparent that it was really just a blanket electronic form-letter, because if you actually READ my resume, you would not be contacting me about a great sales opportunity (or three, or ten), and telling me what “a great fit” it will be for me.  But, you know, if sometime in future you were actually looking for an experienced marketing professional? That would be cool.