Choices to be made or all part of a continuum?
I believe they are the three elements of a process required to build long-term valuable customer relationships. Which is the primary value proposition of most businesses. (Buy once and goodbye forever is not a business model that works for anybody. If you can find one, please let me know.)
The three elements defined:
- Marketing - to build awareness, interest, attraction and generate customer initiated action in your direction.
- Sales - converting interested prospects into qualified, buying customers.
- Customer service - ensuring that each customer is a satisfied, repeat customer.
Each step has to be done consistently well for the results to be achieved. But a choice still has to be made - which element are you going to be best at? Will you win from competitors on marketing, sales, or customer service? You cannot be best at all three.
From my experience as a second tier OEM brand name in computer hardware, we knew that we couldn't possibly out-spend or out-market the multinationals, but we could out-sell them -one customer at a time.
Winning on customer service was also a challenge - it's expensive to compete on warranty terms and technical support. So we went back to salesmanship in the service department - coaching staff on persuading the customer to be reasonable, patient, and give us another order, please!
So take a look at your own performance in marketing, sales and customer service - then choose, focus and build one of them into your competitive weapon.