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    WiredBIZ Articles: Marketing

    Is it Marketing or Selling? And Can YOU Tell the Difference?

    By John Counsel
    Sep 14, 2006, 04:01
    E-Mail Article
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    There's no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to finding, approaching, qualifying and sponsoring prospects. You have to target at least FOUR different audiences with strong and relevant emotional appeals. Some of these audiences will be more receptive and responsive, while others may be more productive and profitable. You need to understand the different audiences and how to appeal to them.

    The first division is fairly obvious...
    • those who already have network marketing experience and
    • those who don't.

    These can then be divided into...

    • those who are successful and
    • those who aren't.

    (The unsuccessful ones shouldn't be ignored. Most network marketers aren't successful until their fourth or fifth attempt, for whatever reasons.)

    Each of these groups is then divided again into one of two groups...

    • people who are entrepreneurs by nature they're natural marketers and innovators and
    • people conditioned by their upbringing, education and experience to be employees, consumers and imitators they do what everyone else does because there's safety in numbers.

    Less than 10% of the population belongs to the first group, while more than 90% belongs to the second group in each case. Both are vitally important, so you ignore either one of them at your peril.

    Yet most prospecting tools and resources in network marketing ignore most of these groups. They target only those who have no network marketing experience and they try to convince people who've been conditioned to be employees, consumers and imitators that they can become entrpreneurs, marketers and innovators.

    This makes no sense at all. It goes against established marketing theory and practice and human psychology. It also flies in the face of practical, real-life experience. History!

    The main reason this mistake happens is simple ignorance. Most of what claims to be "marketing" in network marketing isn't marketing at all. It's really just stages 2 through 4 the selling process of the 8-stage Fulfilment Spiral. Marketing represents stages 1 through 5.
    The real leverage is found in stages 6 through 8... none of which are found in either marketing or selling!

    What causes this confusion, and the mistakes that sabotage so much of what we do in prospecting and sponsoring?

    The cause is quite simple. We rarely come into contact with marketing professionals, but we're constantly exposed to sellers. So we don't really learn to understand the difference.

    Let's fix that right now, so we all have a clearer picture of those difference.

    The role of marketing is to identify consumer needs and satisfy them.

    The role of selling is to get people to want what they need.

    Without sellers, nothing happens, because no matter how much people need what will satisfy their need, until they want it, they won't buy it.

    It's that simple. Make it any more complicated than this and you risk failure.

    Selling is the world's oldest profession.

    It's even older than the other "world's oldest profession" for one very simple reason: someone had to make the sale before any perceived benefit was delivered!

    So sellers have had to learn the hard way, over the thousands of years of recorded history. Even today, in the 21st century, professional sellers tend to learn on the job. Sales training is rarely available as a diploma or degree program at universities and colleges. So sellers are, by nature and by necessity, opportunists. They have to make the most of every opportunity that comes their way.

    Marketing, on the other hand, is a fairly recent development. It really only became a recognised discipline in the second half of the 20th century, following World War II. Prior to that, marketing was categorised as a division of economics.

    Marketers are usually university graduates with diplomas and degrees. It's a highly specialised science, practiced in an objective, rational, unemotional environment. (Read the definition of marketing again... there's no trace of emotion anywhere: "Identify a need and satisfy it.")

    Marketing also has its own very precise and highly specific language. And this is where the real problem occurs.

    Sellers work in a highly emotional environment. They're constantly having to adapt their methods and manner to suit the perceived emotional environment in which they're operating at the time. Terms like "rapport", "mirroring", "intuition" and "bonding" are familiar terms to sellers.

    Sellers began coming into regular contact with marketing professionals from the 1950s onward, as large businesses began setting up marketing departments to create the strategies and systems needed to identify consumer needs, create products and services to satisfy those needs, and generate consumer interest and enquiry.

    Sellers heard the new marketing language and immediately pricked up their ears. It sounded impressive! So, being natural opportunists in order to succeed at selling, they adopted this new language because they felt it gave them an edge in selling to their clients especially large corporate clients.

    The problem was that they didn't know the very precise meanings of that language. Instead, they attached their own SALES meanings to the jargon.

    Even the word marketing itself became a victim. Today, whenever you hear a seller use the term "marketing", they almost always mean "selling" because they think it's a more acceptable and less off-putting alternative (synonym) to the word "selling".

    Can you see the problem here?

    Marketers are the back room generals who plan the campaign strategies. Sales people are the frontline troops who have to implement those strategies, usually without knowing the overall battle plan.

    Before long, because of this hijacking of the marketing language by sellers, confusion reigned and hostility soon set in between marketing departments and sales departments everywhere... hostility that still exists to this day in most large companies. Both departments use the same language, but attach very different meanings to the common terms they use.

    Customers deal with sellers, not marketers!

    So they get exposed to the sales "dialect" of marketing language. When they start their own small businesses, or join network marketing or party plan opportunities, they perpetuate the confusion and misunderstanding!

    So let me be really clear here...

    When you join a direct selling opportunity, including network marketing and party-plan, it's unlikely that you'll be involved in REAL marketing.

    That's handled by the marketing professionals employed by the company you represent. You're role is to help implement marketing strategies that you're not even aware of.

    FACT: Distributor networks are nothing more than out-sourced SALES departments.

    An intelligent, useful recruiting system recognises this fact of life and provides the tools and training you need to effectively SELL your main income opportunity.

    It helps you find people who NEED what you have to offer, then gets them to WANT what they NEED.

    That includes...

    1. People with no network marketing or party plan experience.

    2. People who do have network marketing or party plan experience.

    3. People who are employees, consumers and imitators in both groups.

    4. People who are entrepreneurs, marketers and innovators in both groups.

    Now here's the critical question you need to ask yourself...

    How many recruiting systems and tools have you ever seen that target ALL of these audiences?

    If I were a gambling man, I'd put my money on them mostly targeting the first group only. In fact, I'd bet that most of them lump the first three groups together, then try to turn them into the fourth group.

    Here's why that approach is doomed to fail and the proof is all around us, in network marketing's notorious 90%+ failure rate!

    The Three Persuasion Methods

    There are three ways to approach persuasion. (Persuasion is the key process in both marketing and selling.)

    1. Target an existing emotional response.

    2. Create a new emotional response.

    3. Change an existing emotional response.

    Emotional responses are typically unthinking, emotional REACTIONS... press the right button and you get an instant, positive, desirable reaction. Press the wrong button and you trigger a negative, hostile "fight or flight" reaction.

    There's little or no thought involved on the part of the person you're targeting. They've been conditioned, emotionally, to react in certain ways by their upbringing, their education, their culture, their religion, their work and life experiences.

    Of the three persuasion methods, the only intelligent one is the first:

    Target an existing emotional response.

    This response already exists for the target audience. They don't have to think about it. There's no real persuasion involved. They either like what you're offering or they don't. They want it or they don't. If you've pitched to the right emotional response, they'll like and want it.

    That's the seller's role, remember? "Get people to want what they need."

    Liking and wanting are positive emotions. It's a simple chain reaction...

    Perceive > like > want > buy

    Trying to create a new emotional response in a target audience is tough.

    They have no existing frame of reference in which to interpret your offer. This typically leads to a defensive "no" or the dreaded "yes-meaning-no". (See the list of my other articles for a detailed explanation of this wide-spread, time-wasting, discouraging response.)

    Trying to change an existing emotional response is not just tough. It's foolhardy, bordering on suicidal!

    Your target audience has an powerful emotional investment in their existing emotional responses. They're the result of their lifelong experiences. Even if they're inaccurate, distorted or flawed, they're real to the prospect. Trying to change them is seen as a direct challenge by the prospect... in essence, you're telling them that they're wrong, deaf/blind or stupid.

    That's inevitably going to trigger a "fight-or-flight", highly-emotional reaction!

    So, in summation...

    1. Targeting an existing emotional response is smart.

    2. Trying to create a new emotional response is dumb.

    3. Trying to change an existing emotional response is dumber terminally!

    But what if the product or service you're promoting is something entirely new? What if there is no existing frame of reference for it in the target audience's experience?

    Here's an example, from real life, that demonstrates all three methods, all three emotional responses, all involving a brand new concept in the market place.

    In 1987 I was the Creative Director of a small, "hot" advertising agency in Melbourne, Australia. In May of that year a new concept in telecommunications was launched nationally: cellular telephones.

    About three months after the cellular network was launched, we scored a new client with the smallest cell phone on the market. The client had a target of winning 8% market share within the first year.

    I surveyed the state of play in marketing and advertising of cellular phones. Everyone was trying to create new emotional responses, or to change existing ones. Nobody was targeting any existing emotional responses or not in intelligent ways.

    Typically, the ads all promoted how compact or cool the new phones were. Photos of phones in shirt pockets or handbags were everywhere. Photos of young trendsetters, leaning against their Porsches outside the hottest nightclubs and restaurants, seemed to fill press and television.

    I should add that these phones were not cheap. Our client's cell phones sold for AUD$5,500 each! And call costs were up to AUD$5 a minute. These were definitely NOT consumer items like they are today.

    They were also the size of a house brick or car battery, in most cases. Our client's phone was the smallest on the market. It would fit in your shirt pocket, at a squeeze. Or, at least, the bottom half of the phone would. (It wasn't the most elegant look.)

    A month later, our client was on the phone, wanting to know when his ads would appear. He was being battered in the market place on price. My reply was that we had only just been able to isolate what we considered to be his REAL target audiences in terms of existing emotional responses.

    A week later, his campaign went live. Within 90 days, he had won 38% national market share, with a cell phone that was much more expensive than all of his competitors!

    How did we do it?

    By targeting TWO existing emotional responses in the market place, both with the same ads!

    (Actually, they were two variations of the same emotional response, to be accurate. That's why we could target both with the same ads.)

    We targeted sales people and trades people.

    Both groups were highly mobile and both paid a very high price for not being instantly available to their prospects, clients, suppliers and head offices or home offices.

    Sales people were on the road or in clients' offices most of the time.

    Trades people were on the road or on site most of the time.

    A cellular phone could make the difference between winning and keeping business and clients, or losing them. Both new clients and existing clients.

    Our ads and commercials showed sales people caught in traffic, running late for an important appointment, calling their clients to let them know. Or calling their offices for quotes, or to request information updates. They showed trades people on site taking new business calls or ordering supplies, etc.

    We used the campaign slogan "Never stop selling. Never lose control."

    And we won 38% national market share in just 90 days.

    We targeted people for whom there was a very real need for our product. There was a clear benefit for having it, and an equally clear penalty for not having it. It wasn't a fashion accessory or fad. It was
    an absolute necessity for survival and success in business.

    And price was never a factor. Within 24 hours of the campaign going live, traffic for installation of car kits was more than a mile long and the client had to install more phone lines. Police had to clear the traffic queues.

    So that was what targeting existing emotional responses achieved, and trying to create a new emotional response didn't.

    Interestingly, it was another FOUR YEARS before Australia's biggest telephone company woke up to reality and began heavily targeting two new audiences...

    Sales people.

    Trades people.

    Four years! And what did they do when they targeted them?

    Tried to change their existing emotional responses with a series of insulting, patronising ads that alienated BOTH groups!

    Our client's market share continued to climb until it maxed-out at more than 60%. Then it was bought out by a much bigger business, who moved the account to their multi-national mega-agency, and promptly saw that market share plummet to below 20% with their new campaigns targeting new emotional responses or trying to change exisiting ones.

    Incredible, but true.

    But how does that relate to network marketing?

    The principles apply to every situation, always. They never change. Only the implementations change to suit the specific circumstances in which they have to work.

    Look for tools and systems that target ALL relevant emotional responses in appropriate ways. Remember... there is NO "one size fits all" solution. You need an intelligent, effective system and tools that

    • target all four audiences and only their existing emotional responses, and
    • uses their existing conditioning and strengths their knowledge, skills and experience as a foundation for success.

    They'll be hard to find, because most systems and tools are created by SELLERS, not marketers. Sure, they'll claim to be marketers. But in 99.999% of cases, they'll be sellers who THINK they're marketers in the same way that someone who can use a PC THINKS they're a programmer or graphic designer, or someone who waits on tables THINKS they're a cordon bleu chef.

    The real problem here is that they believe it. They literally don't know that they don't know the critical differences!

    The simple test is to take what they say on their sites and in their ads and sales letters and substitute the word "selling" for the word "marketing" wherever it appears. If the words are interchangable, with no measurable shift in meaning, they're a seller posing as a marketer.

    Count on it. It's 100% reliable.

    If you're serious about wanting to know and understand the difference, subscribe to some professional marketing newsletters and study them. You'll soon begin to see and understand what I'm saying here. Two reliable places to start are

    Interestingly, both sites belong to companies founded and headed by women Anne Holland and Ann Handley, respectively (yes, coincidences do exist in life). As a generalisation, based on 40 years of professional and business observation and experience, women seem to make better marketers and men better sellers. This could be an interesting subject for some in-depth research. (Naturally, I'm generalising outrageously here... but the exceptions tend to prove the rule!)

    If you're a network marketer or party planner, and you can't find a solution that delivers all of these benefits, try it's been designed by marketers and sellers, working together, combining their specialised knowledge, skills and experience, to provide a total solution that works synergistically.

    Disclosure: is a service owned by The Profit Clinic, of which John Counsel is founder and CEO.

    John Counsel is the founder and CEO of The Profit Clinic, a management consulting, training and publishing firm based in Melbourne, Australia. It specialises in small business and the direct selling profession with a network of more than 50 web sites.

    Its powerful concepts of Fourth Generation(tm) Thinking, Fourth Generation(tm) Systems and Fourth Generation(tm) Selling are winning growing recognition and acclaim for
    their penetrating insights and practical applications.

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