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Sales Orientation: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 Sales-Oriented…
  • 1:23 Types of Promotion
  • 1:39 Sales vs Marketing Orientation
  • 3:30 Dangers of…
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John McLaughlin
Learn how to recognize a sales-oriented marketing strategy, including what types of goods and services are typically sold using this strategy and what promotional techniques go along with it. We'll also cover some of the strategy's possible pitfalls.

What is a Sales-Oriented Marketing Strategy?

Have you ever felt an overwhelming desire to buy life insurance? Probably not, but life insurance companies still have to figure out a way to sell it to you. Products like life insurance, burial plots, and fire extinguishers are what are referred to in marketing as unsought goods. These are products that the typical consumer does not normally seek to buy on his own. Companies that offer these types of products are among the companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy to sell their goods and services.

Companies that focus 100% of their marketing efforts on selling their products use a sales-oriented marketing strategy. These companies are so focused on selling their products to their consumers that they pay little attention to other areas of marketing such as market research or surveying their customers to measure their level of satisfaction. A company that uses a sales-oriented marketing strategy makes the following assumptions regarding their customers:

  • Everyone is a potential customer.
  • Their customers do not want to spend their dollars to buy what the company has to offer.
  • Their customers will buy more products and services if they use aggressive sales techniques in order to persuade them to buy.
  • High sales volumes equal high profits for the company.

Type of Promotion

Companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy primarily use two types of promotion to communicate with their customers: advertising to make potential customers aware of what they have to offer and personal selling to get potential customers to take action and buy their offerings.

Sales Orientation vs. Market Orientation

Companies that employ a market-oriented strategy place top priority on meeting the ever-changing needs and wants of their customers. They will sacrifice short-term profits in order to build a lasting relationship with their customers. A sales-oriented strategy differs from a market-oriented strategy in the following ways:

  • Companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy focus on selling what the company makes, not necessarily what the customer wants.
  • Companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy also pay very little attention to the changing needs of their customers or to the changes that take place in the marketplace.
  • Companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy put a higher premium on short-term, one-off sales than on having a long-term relationship with their customers.

Dangers of Sales-Oriented Marketing Strategy

Companies that use a sales-oriented marketing strategy are so focused on selling what they produce that they often miss opportunities to better serve their customer base. An example of what can go wrong when relying only on a sales-oriented marketing strategy is illustrated by Encyclopedia Britannica.

Encyclopedia Britannica was an encyclopedia manufacturer who successfully used a sales-oriented marketing strategy for decades, selling printed encyclopedias using advertising and personal selling. They employed a sales force of over 7,000 sales people who typically sold the encyclopedias door-to-door. A set of encyclopedias cost well over $1,000 each and weighed over one hundred pounds.

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