logo-topEarlier this week I went to the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM) conference: Successful Selling ’09. I’ve been a number or times before and there is always something new to inspire, entertain or steal (in terms of content) from the assembled speakers.

Upon registering I was given the token bag that held the conference program and other marketing material. Of course, the conference bag had to be branded for the event and over the front was “THE INSTITUTE OF SALES AND Marketing MANAGEMENT” together with their coat of arms (Yes, they really do have a coat of arms).

Now the fact that all the words were capitalised, except for “Marketing”, intrigued me. Was this a subtle indication that the Institute thought “Marketing” to be the lesser sibling when compared to “SALES”? Or perhaps this was the result of some branding exercise involving focus groups and blue sky thinking. Or was it just a mistake?

Then I remebered back to last year’s conference and last year’s bag. It was the same last year –  with “Marketing”lowercase and “SALES” capitalised. I also remembered that I spoke to the folks on the registration desk, and some of the ISMM staff the previous year as well, enquiring as to the reasons. The asnswer was really interesting and to summarise “No one knows”! Yes, that’s right no one in the ISMM (remember this is a professional body that – in part – supports marketing types) knows why it is like this. Nowhere else in the literature or on their website can I find the same branding. You will find a few other ways of branding the ISMM – but not this one. So, strangely, no one at the ISMM is responsible for brand identity or consistency. Other than to do the same thing this year as last year.

If this is intentional, then to me, it just looks wrong. Daft in fact. But there seems to be no one responsible, interested or senior enough to listen – or worse – do anything about it.

Must be because the SALES types are in charge and the Marketing types do what they are told to.

Does this add anything to the debate on the definitions of “sales” and “marketing” and the relationship between them?

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