• Marketing, Sales And Innovation: The Holy Trinity Of Any Business

    PUBLICATION DATE: 3 Dec 2019 | AUTHOR: Johan van Seijen | CATEGORY: , Marketing And Sales,

  • Holy Trinity by Ben Davis from the Noun Project

    Quick Summary: Marketing, sales and innovation are the three key ingredients that make up any business. Although this model is deceptively simple, it's difficult to implement successfully. Businesses that fail are, without exception, out-of-balance with respect to these three elements. If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, knowledge of this business model is key.

  • What is marketing?

    We can't talk about this model without having defined the elements that make up the model. So let's start with the most difficult one. When I talk about marketing I talk about eyeballs. Eyeballs being a metaphor of somebody from your target audience. Your target audience being the type op people most likely interested in what you have to offer. If you're a plumber, your target audience inludes people with plumbing issues: a clogged drain, a broken toilet, a bathroom renovation project etc. Marketing is defined as everything you do to get in front of your target audience. To get eyeballs.

    Offline vs. online marketing

    A local ad in the newspaper is marketing. Engaging with people in a Facebook group made up of your target audience is also marketing. The first is offline, the second online. The rise of the internet has also seen the rise in online marketing: your ability to get in front of an online audience. For the majority this means promoting your business via a website, but it could just as well be through one of the many social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok etc.).

    What is the difference between marketing and sales?

    Eye by Alice Design, Funnel by alberto galindo, Present by Kozan. All from the Noun Project

    Your skills in marketing determine how well you're able to grab the attention of your target audience. Your skills in sales determine how well you're able to get the people whose attention you grabbed to convert into a pre-determined goal. For the majority of business people this is a sale. You want to convert a person into one of your customers. This process of conversion, from a "lead" or "prospect" to a "customer" or "client" is done through the sales process. However, a lot of people using social media are not looking for a sale. At least not directly. They are looking to grow their audience and entice you to subscribe to their channel by "selling" you great content which just happens to be free. Now you understand that, even though a lot of people talk about marketing and sales as if they are exactly the same, they are indeed very different and distinct processes.

    Innovation: your product or service

    If your marketing efforts have been successful and you've been able to convert that audience to your goal, you've done so by offering them something of value: which is either a product or a service. A smartphone is a tangible product. But a piece of information could also be a product, albeit an intangible one. Doing someone's tax return as an accountant is performing a service. But running a successful blog can also be considered a service, with individual articles being digital information products. Your innovation is your ability to creatively and uniquely add value with products and / services to your target audience. Fidget spinners, Facebook, velcro, online banking, same-day-delivery, are or have been great examples of innovation. In general the better your innovation, the better you're able to perform marketing and sales. But there are ample examples of inferior products dominating the market because of superior marketing and sales (Game Boy vs. Game Gear, LaserDisc vs DVD).

    Why businesses fail

    Remember I stated that business failure stems from being out-of-balance with respect to these three elements..? That's because the average business owner focuses excessively on the innovation part, except maybe if your actually in the marketing and sales business. Plumbers are good at plumbing. But they do marketing and sales on the side to be able to perform their job in the first place. That goes for a lot of people because our society is rigged that way. We're educated in the area of innovation: to do or build something after marketing and sales have successfully occurred. You learn to become a programmer, a carpenter, a digital designer, a journalist, a nutritionist. For years you're being educated in various programming languages, tools and hardware, software and photo editing programs, linguistics and vitamins, food and nutrition. For years there's hardly if any focus on actually getting other people interested in those skills from a business perspective, e.g. perform marketing and sales for what you have to offer. So when people finally do make the step from being an employee towards being self-employed they fail in droves because they don't know how to market themselves.

    Why marketing is the most important aspect of business

    Businesses and self-employed individuals that do have success have always found a way to reach their audience first. Your ability to sell your goods is wholly dependant on your ability to successfully do marketing. That's why, of the three, marketing is the most important. Then sales, then innovation. Unfortunately reality is the exact opposite of this. People almost always start with innovation: their product and service. Then try to figure out who their audience is and how to sell them things. I would argue that if you take a look at why half the amount of businesses that started are gone after five years, it usually adds up to this. Being unable to reach people, get eyeballs, and grab their attention. No matter how good the product or service is or could have been.

    The golden rule of marketing, sales and innovation

    If that would be the title of this blog it would be nothing short of clickbait. There really isn't a golden rule of anything, let alone of marketing, sales and innovation. But if I do have to finish this article with anything that resembles a golden rule. It would be to at least consider spending half the amount of hours you spend each day on your business, doing things related to marketing. It will force you to really think about your audience, what drives them, how to connect with them, how to evaluate what comes out of engaging them, and how to use it as the source of sales and innovation and your continued marketing efforts.

  • About the Author

    Johan van Seijen


    Johan van Seijen is co-founder of Nexus Themes and our lead designer. After gaining a Master's Degree in Information Science he decided to try his luck in the illustration industry, working for clients as Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. With the return to the software industry grew the desire to create something to be truly proud of and which could spearhead his ambition of having his own company. And this company is what followed. He lives with his wife and daughter in Amsterdam.