Marketing Rant: Sales and Marketing aren’t the Same Thing!
Be thankful that I have the restraint to avoid using expletives in this text because I am in a very salty mood with MLM and sales companies. The Dead Sea does not hold the amount of salt I contain for these people. If you are a recent marketing graduate (or any recent graduate in general), you most likely have seen these things before in your latest job search.
Here I am, searching for work in my field that pays more, as you do when you are trying to move up in the world. I type in “marketing Huntsville, Al “. There are little marketing positions open. Instead, I see advertisements for things like Avon, Herbalife, and even companies both local and abroad that offer you a base pay on top of commission, flexible hours, and low training required.
My Experience with Job Scams
Stop reading if you have heard this one before:
A young marketer almost out of college is applying for a position. After visiting a small office with an almost too pleasant secretary to fill out paperwork, she gets called in for an interview. At a local Publix or Walmart in the middle of Huntsville, Al.
Why would a marketer for a company be in a local grocery store, you think, as you head inside with the one other candidate you are competing against for the position. There you see a small portable booth with a nicely dressed worker…selling bamboo pillows/ satellite dishes to customers at the store. This was not a marketing position. It was a sales job that was in a store instead of door to door. That is the jobseekers equivalent of putting sugar on crap and calling it ice cream. Needless to say, I did not answer the follow-up phone call the next day.
So, as someone who has fallen prey to these malicious pseudo companies, I am going to point out what the difference between their use of the word “marketing” means, what the real definition of marketing is, and how to avoid these immoral thieves that take advantage of desperate people trying to make a living.
Pyramid Schemes and Sales Company Traps
MLM’s and deceitful sales companies both as near as Huntsville, Al and as far as Seattle, Wa plague the crap out of both prospective job seekers. They deliberately target people who are too desperate to question their shady tactics or too naive to realize what they are getting into. When anyone tries to call them out personally, they will argue with you using circular logic or just outright delete bad reviews. Here is a brief definition of the two, just so you can wrap your head around both ways you can be scammed into debt.
This abbreviation stands for multi-level-marketing, it is a more sanitized version of the term pyramid scheme. This is described plainly by, of all places, Urban Dictionary.
A scheme in which a person (as a “seller”) buys a certain amount of product from a “distributor”, and then sells the product for a profit. The seller must then kick back some of his profit to his distributor. In turn, all the other sellers this person has recruited and distributes product to must give some of their profits to him.
So, what makes it problematic?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people—except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid—end up empty-handed.”
Sales Company Scam:
This one is much more sneaky because they utilize pyramid practices while looking much more official on the outside. Essentially, they put out ads for marketing positions with expectations of base pay plus commission, benefits, flexible hours, and working directly as someone marketing a product. Then, you learn it is a sales position that runs on commission alone. It’s all commission and bonuses depend on people under you.
A career blogger, Willy Franzen, explains the nature of these companies best, “Many people would argue that operations like the ones that I’ve just described aren’t scams. If you define a scam as someone who takes your money and doesn’t give you what you expected, then these job opportunities aren’t technically scams; however, they do give you one impression of how you’ll be spending your time and offer a completely different experience.”
But isn’t Marketing and Sales the Same Thing?
No. They are connected, but they are not the same thing.
Sales involve convincing people to buy your product with an interpersonal interaction. It is literally convincing people why they want to buy something and close the deal entirely on the spot.
Marketers do their job in the beginning of the sales process by indirectly priming the potential consumer for the sales through persuasion.
For instance, if a company was selling hamburgers, marketers would tell the salespeople where the right locations would be for stores, the right airtime to be airing commercials, and what their selling point for their product would be. Salespeople would be the ones to make the deal on the spot.
Marketers would be the planters, and Sales would be the payoff.
How can You tell the Scam apart from a Real Job?
- Research is key here. If you go to a job review site and they are all positive or all negative, then chances are the company is not reputable.
- Check for news articles about lawsuits regarding the company, or check the materials they use to make the product they are using.
- Check and see if the offer of the entry-level position is too good to be true. Make sure the pay scale is proportionate to the local area.
Also published on Medium.