Ask Dr. Karen - July 7
Dear Dr. Karen,
I work in a consumer goods company as a product development
The end result of my work are marketed by the marketing
The problem is, this marketing division is more likely to
work like a sales division. They do selling, not marketing.
But nobody seems to understand this concept. I want to
change a lot of things in the way this other division work
and think. How can I convey this change message while I am
not yet in the managerial level? How to make it not like an
The challenge you have is very typical of the
misunderstandings between sales and marketing in every
company with these functions. Sales can be easier, since it
functions as a hands-on response to orders and requests from
customers. Marketing is more of a medium term planning
function. If there is no marketing going on then you need
someone at a higher level to work with you. If you can't
have that, then proceed as follows.
In the Truth about Managing Your Career, Truth 24:
"Obstacles at work are there to be negotiated," will guide
you to get help from others as you seek to educate your
company. It's hard for you to do that educating alone from
your position, even though you see the need clearly.
In Truth 18, you'll learn that "People love to be asked for
If you create a one-page document showing the way you see
the departments working then you can use Truth 50: "If you
want to be remembered put it in writing." You need to get
others to understand your concerns and to agree with your
thinking. The more people who understand you the more likely
you will get something changed.
Ultimately, you want to use Truth 28: "Good fences make
good neighbors: be clear on roles and responsibilities." As
you gather ideas from others you can ask them about the
important differences between sales and marketing.
With these ideas from others you have more power than your
own ideas. You are then in a position to write a report for
your management. The report can get you noticed and help
move you up into management. Just be careful to be calm and
listen well as you gather information so that you are seen
as a neutral party gathering information.