The Evolution of Marketing and Sales Concepts from 1950 into the 21st Century
Luttschyn, Alexander W.
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While the terms marketing concept and selling concept are often used to describe the processes of sales and marketing, there is seldom a clear understanding of what they mean or how they have changed over the years. More importantly, there is a general misconception among the public that these two ideas apply only to the advertising and direct selling techniques we see and hear every day. In reality, consumer advertising and direct selling represents only a small percentage of what is encompassed in the marketing and selling concepts. In discussing these two important ideas, this paper will be particularly interested in addressing how the marketing and sales concepts apply in the business-to-business (industrial) setting. In evaluating industrial marketing and sales, this paper will argue that there inevitably will be a need to eliminate the separate concepts and merge them into one cohesive idea, or more directly that separate concepts will cease to exist. To follow the above argument, this paper will be divided into three sections. Part One will trace the evolution of the marketing and sales concepts from the 1950s through the 1980s. This period is generally considered the beginning of the "marketing era." It will be shown that both concepts evolved significantly throughout the time period, however, there was little interrelation between the two ideas. Section Two will take an in-depth look at how the marketing and sales concepts became increasingly connected throughout the 1990s as technological advances and changes in customer sophistication opened the way for transformation. This section will also look specifically at changes within the computer technology industry as an example of successful integration of the sales and marketing concepts. Section Three will look to describe how the two ideas presented above will become increasingly connected in the 21st century. Evidence of this transition and theoretical models from current marketing and sales experts will be presented, as well as a theory created by the author. The final conclusion of the paper will be that we will witness the end of traditional marketing as we know it as the selling concept will essentially incorporate the ideas of successful marketing into a new paradigm for the business function as a whole.