Although advertising, sales, and customer service have always been strongly related, today more than ever the lines between them is blurred. Advertising is generally the process of increasing and reinforcing brand awareness in anticipation of a future desire to purchase. Sales is the process of converting interest to action later in the sales cycle. And customer service is generally the process of keeping existing customers happy with their purchasing decision post-sales.
Today, however, the display ad that increases brand awareness can have a hyperlink click-through to a landing page that starts the cycle for an online sale. Or the click-through can directly or indirectly (e.g., through a search) go to an online community forum where existing customers discuss their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the brand (which in turn becomes an input into the sales decision process).
So, given that the three have become so interrelated, why do so many companies still keep different organizational reporting lines for the three functions? Especially today when the economy is fragile and profits are razor-thin, companies should consider how they can maximize the effectiveness of all three functions by more fully integrating them.
Domus, Inc. is a Philadelphia-based marketing communications consulting company. Please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com for more.