It’s common to hear “marketing” and “sales” used interchangeably. In reality, they each have distinct characteristics. Startup entrepreneurs need to know the difference, so they can approach each with purpose while embracing how they need to work symbiotically to achieve success.
Marketing? Sales? What’s The Difference?
To put it simply, Marketing encompasses everything you do to reach and engage prospects.
Marketing is typically a media-driven function. It involves the use of print, online, and word-of-mouth communications to drive brand, product, and service awareness.
Marketing-related activities may include:
- Conducting market research to determine needs within your target market.
- Setting standard pricing for products and services.
- Raising awareness of your company and its products and services within your target markets using various media and platforms.
- Creating collateral and communications to support your salespeople in their efforts.
Sales encompasses everything you do to seal the deal with the customer.
Sales is typically a people-driven function. It involves human-to-human connections to build and nurture relationships.
Sales-related activities may include:
- One-on-one, face-to-face interaction with prospects and customers.
- Careful evaluation of specific customers’ needs.
- Solutions-selling to meet specific customers’ needs.
- Proposing special pricing when situations require straying from standard pricing.
- Asking for the sale and getting a contract signed.
- Follow up phone calls and email messages to keep the lines of communication open.
Realize that while marketing and sales have distinct characteristics, the lines between them have become blurred to a large degree with the advent of social media. In the past, sales professionals were primarily accountable for establishing and maintaining relationships with prospects and customers. But now, that responsibility also falls on the shoulders of marketers using channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and others.
Whether you are personally responsible for your small business’s marketing and sales or if you have employees performing the functions, you need a strategy to ensure your efforts are aligned. If you need guidance in how to make your marketing and sales activities complement each other so you can build and grow your company, contact your local chapter of SCORE. With expertise in every aspect of starting and operating small businesses, SCORE mentors are a wonderful resource to help you succeed.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.
AI-generated images test copyright laws; disrupting the art world
Last year was huge for artificial intelligence as software giants like Microsoft and Adobe pushed generative AI tools to market, and new cash-flush AI startups flooded the scene.
Within a few months, anyone with an internet connection could use AI tools like Midjourney or Dall-E to create images from verbal prompts. These tools use machine learning algorithms to sort through large numbers of existing images to generate unique images to fit user prompts.
The resulting flood of AI-created images alarmed artists who wished to protect their ownership rights and livelihoods and raised urgent questions about authorship and intellectual property. Who owns the work that a machine creates? And how can human creators protect their work from being swept up into machine learning algorithms?
According to IP Watchdog, the United States Copyright Office (USCO) is now siding with humans. The USCO denied registration of an AI-generated image in early 2022, citing the Human Authorship requirement of the Copyright Act, which states that copyrighted work must be created with “substantial human involvement.”
In October last year, the USCO reversed a registration it had issued for a graphic novel that had previously made headlines as the first known instance of successful registration of AI-generated work. In a statement, the USCO explained that it would not knowingly issue registrations to works generated solely by AI and machines.
In the future, copyright laws must be updated to reflect degrees of human involvement, according to the Verge. AI companies will likely find ways to ensure their AI models cannot facilitate copyright infringement.
Artificial art? AI disrupting the art world
Could the next Picasso be a robot? AI-generated art has been around for some years, but most of the generated work was rudimentary and not worthy of the public’s adoration. Now? Artificial intelligence is crafting beautiful images on the fly, and interest in such art has exploded, with some artworks winning awards and causing concern among human artists.
Currently, much of the art generated by artificial intelligence still relies on images and artwork initially created by humans. You might head to an AI-generating tool and type in some keywords. The AI program will analyze data from other already-created images and create artwork based on that data set. From there, many programs allow humans to step in and use a variety of tools to modify and remix the art.
Given the increasingly blurred line between human and machine, perhaps ‘cyborg art’ is a more apt descriptor. In 2021, Jason M. Allen won an art award at the Colorado State Fair with his surreal work “Theatre D’opera Spatial,” wowing audiences and drawing the ire of other artists. Allen noted that he broke no rules, though many felt he took unfair shortcuts.
The concept of artificial intelligence platforms developing full sentience has been a mainstay in science fiction for many years. Often, that intelligence goes on to destroy the world or conquer humanity. Who knows — if AI ever does gain full sentience, maybe it’ll pick up a paintbrush instead.
Does your business have a DEI policy?
You may be familiar with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a social justice matter, but did you know this type of policy can contribute to your company’s bottom line? Here’s what you should know.
A DEI policy evaluates a culture, workplace, school, or other settings where groups of people come together. Diversity refers to the variety of people and perspectives within a group. Equity involves the effort to ensure processes are fair and impartial. Inclusion pertains to the sense of belonging members may or may not feel.
The goal of DEI policies is to remove any barriers to success individuals may experience while celebrating the differences that make an organization more creative and resilient.
Why it’s important
There are several reasons why organizations are incorporating DEI policies into their business model.
• Corporate values. Many employers are morally obligated to provide an equitable and welcoming workplace to people of any race, age, gender, or ability.
• Improved innovation. Companies must be agile to remain relevant in today’s competitive business climate. The more diverse your team is, the more perspectives you can draw from.
• Desirable work conditions. Organizations must be competitive, not only in their business offerings but also in their appeal to potential employees. An inclusive work culture is more inviting to top-tier talent.
You don’t have to be a large organization to incorporate DEI measures in your workplace. Talk to a DEI or human resource consultant in your area to learn how to make your workplace more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Five tips to gain recognition at work
Workers nationwide say they feel unappreciated at work. In fact, according to Inc. magazine, more than 60 percent of workers feel unappreciated on the job.
But there are ways to make yourself and your work shine.
1. Be positive and approachable. Accept assignments with a confident smile, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Greet others cheerfully. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Stay out of the gossip mill. Show others that you value your company and your job.
2. Stay organized. Keep your obligations and deadlines top of mind. Keep your desk tidy.
3. If you want greater responsibility, talk to your boss. Summarize what you have achieved in the past and explain why you think you could contribute more.
4. Lift others up. Your colleagues are more likely to recognize your work when you notice and appreciate theirs.
5. Take the initiative. Offer possible solutions to problems when you see them — don’t wait for your boss to assign a task.
CEOs fear recession in the near future
No matter the day, week, or year, if you check out business headlines, there’s a good chance that you’ll read that the sky is falling. Thing is, one day, the doomsayers will eventually get it right. With 90 percent of chief executive officers predicting a recession, their fears may seem plausible.
Consulting firm KPMG conducted a survey quizzing 40 leaders at major American companies regarding their outlook. The results are that 91 percent of CEOs believe that a recession will occur within the next 12 months. Worse yet, many fear the economy may take a long time to recover.
Unemployment goes up in a recession because there is a decline in trade and business activity.
Unfortunately, such dour sentiments may morph into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Roughly half of the CEOs reported that they were planning layoffs. If business leaders move to position their organizations for a recession, such as instituting layoffs or reducing investments, it could create a drag on the economy. This, in turn, could generate a self-sustaining feedback loop with a souring economy forcing companies to take even more drastic measures.
There’s some good news, however. Many business leaders believe their company is now better positioned to deal with an economic contraction. Further, many company leaders hold a positive long-term view.
How Facebook Marketplace got started
Some of the biggest moves in the business world fly under the radar, even as they have a massive impact on organizations and society. While celebrity CEOs like Elon Musk make international headlines, Deb Liu never made the front pages when she launched Facebook Marketplace. Regardless, her efforts changed the way many people buy and sell.
Interestingly enough, Liu first pitched integrating commerce into Facebook during a job interview with the social media titan in 2009. Liu landed the job, but the commerce idea failed to gain traction for five years. Nevertheless, she persisted, and the project slowly snowballed.
Meanwhile, Liu helped set up the company’s Credits program, which people could use to play video games. She also worked on the Facebook Platform, which enables developers to use Facebook data to build applications and services.
Ultimately, Liu approached her time at Facebook with the mindset of an entrepreneur. She continued to pursue her vision for integrating commerce, and in 2016, Facebook Marketplace launched.
The rest is history. Facebook Marketplace drummed up $26 billion in revenue in 2021, and Meta says that a billion shoppers use the platform every month. These days, folks use Facebook Marketplace to run virtual garage sales or clear vehicles out of their garage.
As for Deb Liu, she left Meta in 2021 to pursue new ventures. She is the CEO of Ancestry.com, the world’s largest for-profit genealogy company. She also serves on the boards of business software firm Intuit and the nonprofit organization Women in Product, which encourages women to get involved in product management and development.
Be determined to succeed against all odds
As we all know, the odds are against us. Every day, people are born into poverty, people lose their jobs, people get sick, and people die. And that’s not even getting into the natural disasters that happen on a regular basis.
But here’s the thing: No matter what happens, you are never truly out of luck. There is always something that can help you turn things around.
And you’ll get the opportunity to succeed against all odds when you become a self-starter.
A self-starter is someone who is able to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness despite adversity.
As a self-starter, you are able to see the glass half full, not just half empty. You learn how to deal with failure and loss, instead of avoiding them. And you learn to take risks, instead of being afraid to try new things.
Self-starters aren’t born; they develop this trait through a combination of effort and experience.
Someone is always telling you that you can’t do it. But that’s just their problem. You are going to succeed against all odds and beat them.
You see, there is a big difference between what you think you can do and what you really can do. If you doubt yourself, you will never make it to the top.
If you have doubts, you will never succeed in life. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
You will need to have the determination to succeed. When you have that determination, nothing can stop you.
Do you know people who have overcome many odds to achieve their dreams? It’s not just people in movies but real-life people who have done things many would have said were impossible.
While there’s a difference between dreaming big and actually accomplishing that dream, there’s also a gap between dreaming and making it happen. You need to make it happen; if you want to do that, you must be determined to succeed against all odds.
It might seem like a silly thing to say, but you can achieve a lot if you have determination and ambition. Many people don’t have either, and that’s why they struggle to achieve anything in life.
When you’re determined to succeed, you can do a lot. You’ll have to work hard, but if you’re determined, you’ll be able to overcome any obstacles or challenges that stand in your way.
The main reason people fail to accomplish their goals is that they don’t have the right mindset and lose sight of what they want to do. As you can see, this is why you need to ensure that you have the right mindset and are determined to achieve your goals no matter what comes your way.
If you’re someone who isn’t successful in life, it’s likely because you never worked your butt off and you never gave anything a real chance. You might even have given up before ever getting started on your journey.
This mindset can work against you, but it’s not like you’re doomed to failure in life, so long as you want it bad enough. You don’t have to just settle for being average; instead, you can strive to improve.
You don’t have to do everything perfectly, but you do need to give yourself the chance to grow and develop. This means you need to try new things and make mistakes along the way. You need to do this to avoid failing and see what works and what doesn’t.
Once you see what works, you can apply that to other aspects of your life. This is especially true in business, where many people repeatedly fail until they get it right.
Even then, they keep on failing until they finally figure it out. Once you understand what you’re doing wrong, you can adjust accordingly. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them, allowing you to become a better person.
You can attain success, but you must put in the work to get there. You can’t expect it to fall into your lap, nor can you simply wait around for it to happen. You have to be determined to succeed, and you have to work for it.
You might not succeed in everything, but you’ll improve at many things. If you’re working towards your goals, that’s a good sign, but you can also be working towards achieving new goals.
You’ll get a lot of ideas and inspiration from what others are doing, and you can take some of that and use it to develop your own ways of doing things. You don’t need to copy what others are doing blindly, but you do need to understand how they can succeed.
That’s how you’ll ultimately become a successful person, and you’ll realize that it doesn’t take much money or work. It’s actually about having the right mindset and being able to take a risk in your life.
The worst thing that you can possibly do is give up. Even if you fail miserably at something, you can still get up off the floor and keep trying because there’s always a chance to try again.
The more you try, the more you’ll learn. That’s the only way you can progress as a person, and you have to know that even if you fail, you won’t fall completely down in defeat.
If you can accept that no matter how bad your efforts are, you can keep trying and improving, then you’re well on your way to becoming a successful person.
When you fail, there’s a good chance that you’ll just give up. But you have to be strong enough to keep on going. Don’t let your failures define you and ruin your chances of success.
Even if you keep failing, you’ll learn something new every time. When you start learning how to succeed, you’re already making progress, so you should keep pushing forward.
If you can acknowledge your failures and just learn from them, you’re already on the right path to being a successful person. It doesn’t matter how often you fail as long as you’re determined to keep trying and keep trying until you finally succeed.