CIM has opened way for debate

When I read Mark Ritson’s recent article attacking David Thorp and the CIM for producing the document Marketing and Sales Fusion (MW 15 December), it made me think of how Ned Ludd would have reacted when he first learned of the Spinning Jenny.

Like Mr Ludd, Ritson has picked up the nearest sledgehammer and sought to destroy the idea. Nice one, from an academic who is supposed to be at the forefront of marketing thought.

Ritson appears to be suggesting that sales people are incapable of positioning a brand. It is laughable to suggest that they cannot learn about marketing and branding, and equally as ludicrous to assume marketing people cannot learn about sales.

Unifying understanding, thought and ideas would, without doubt, be the answer to several of my clients’ prayers. The barrier between sales and marketing is one of the biggest issues they face.

Thorp is not suggesting that marketing ditches its philosophy and body of knowledge. He said: “A unified model for anyone wanting to go into sales or marketing would enable marketers to be more aware of how the sales process works and what’s involved, and sales people to be more aware of marketing functions and how they can deliver the results the company is looking for.”

Neither is he suggesting that sales should rule marketing, or vice versa. The CIM document is about developing a common culture that is customer-focused.

I suggest that an open mind on the matter, with dialogue from both sides, is likely to result in an outcome that helps businesses to work in harmony and succeed by serving customers. That is the fundamental reason why sales and marketing exist. They were never intended to be self-serving entities.

Opening the debate and breaking down such barriers is exactly what the CIM appears to be trying to do.

Cole Hanrahan
Managing director
Springheath Direct

The CIM’s call for a merger of marketing and sales functions is well-timed. Anything that stifles corporate growth needs to be addressed.

But your news item (‘CIM: Marketing needs to merge with sales to safeguard its future’ omitted to mention one of the key means of aligning the two: shopper marketing.

Shopper marketing has become recognised as an important tool for injecting more equity into in-store marketing. It is the emerging bridge-function that brings the two sides (actually often three: consumer/brand marketing, sales and customer/trade marketing) together and focuses acutely on who they’re selling to and specifically where they’re selling it.

Every company claims to be gearing up for a step-change in achieving growth, but the smart ones are appointing board level players to own, implement and integrate shopper marketing to do this. It’s an effective means of removing the traditional sales/marketing silo so that both are working towards a common growth agenda.

Darren Keen
Managing director

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here