Sales and Sales Management Blog

June 18, 2009

Boost Your Sales series: “Marketing Is What You Do When Your Product Is No Good,” by Dr. Martin Russell

It’s Referrals and Word of Mouth week at the Boost Your Sales blog series. 

Although we have several doctors contributing to the Boost Your Sales series, Dr Martin Russell is our only medical doctor contributor,
and tomorrow I’m up with “Your Connections are Your Key to Your Success”

Stay tuned in next week as a great list of experts—Jeb Blount, Nigel Edelshain, Cindy King and Ardath Albee give great guidance on “Prospecting and Social Media”


Marketing Is What You Do When Your Product Is No Good
by Dr. Martin Russell

My background is as a medical doctor, and this quote, “Marketing is what you do when your product is no good”, was handed to me by one of my patients who knows of my marketing work.

She is one of those people who thinks that marketing should be a four-letter word.

My first reaction was to be insulted.

But then I stopped, and I said to her that this quote was either from someone who had never been successful in sales, or it was from a ‘natural’ salesman who just didn’t call what they did marketing.

Turns out this quote is from Edwin Land ( chief executive of the Polaroid Corporation for almost 50 years, scientist, and inventor of the film for the Polaroid instant camera.

The Polaroid camera was such a brilliant invention that the story goes that when…

“fifty-seven (cameras) were put up for sale at Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store before the 1948 Christmas holiday … all fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day of demonstrations.”

Was the product good?


But was there any marketing?

Well someone chose to put them in that store, chose the timing just before Christmas, and created the demonstrations.

Heck yes there was marketing!

And that’s the point.

There was lots of marketing. It was just that the marketing matched the product so well that Edwin Land could claim it wasn’t there.

If you want to be a great salesman I hope you have read and devoured Paul McCord’s books on referral selling. They will teach you to walk and talk referrals as an intrinsic part of your service. Million-dollar sales people are always overlapping the marketing and the service.

Many people in small/micro businesses don’t want to think of themselves as marketers.

They reluctantly place their Yellow Pages ad, or put up a website, or quiver in their shoes at the thought of asking for referrals.

That’s why I like to start with word of mouth referrals. No matter how much a business owner is against marketing, they want people talking about them and giving them word of mouth referrals.

Word of mouth can seem haphazard, but done properly, it can be on-demand, consistent, and best of all, a win for everyone concerned.

It comes down to this.

You can have a separate mental category called ‘marketing’ – or you can realize it is all part and parcel of providing your product or service.

Consider these four aspects…

1. Clients want to have better lives. This means they want your great products and services!

2. Clients want to be able to rely on you to be there for them, no matter what the economy does. This means they want you to stay in business!

3. Clients want to continue adding value to their lives. This means they want you to follow-up!

4. And finally, clients care about people they know, and they don’t want them ripped off, or given poor advice, or let down. This means, if you will take care of people properly, they want to give you referrals!

So rather than be cynical (scared?) of ‘marketing’ like my patient who brought me the quote, it is up to you to as a business owner to help people over that problem.

But first, are YOU over that problem of thinking of marketing as separate from your business?

Remember, you don’t have to be a ‘natural’ like Edwin Land, because marketing – yes even plain old word of mouth referrals – has a specific set of skills that can be learned.

Dr Martin Russell is a medical doctor with his own solo by-referral counseling practice, as well as being co-author of “Word of Mouth Magic” – and having his marketing blog at


Do You Like the Sales and Sales Management Blog?

Then you’ll love my POWER SELLING newsletter.  Twice each month you’ll get my newsletter that focuses on real solutions to real sales and sales leadership issues with ACTIONABLE guidance, not grand but worthless theory.

Simply shoot an email to me at with “Subscribe” in the subject line and your name and email address and I’ll get you subscribed.

And by the way, we hate SPAM also, so we’ll never sell, lease, rent or give your information to anyone—EVER!

Or, if you prefer, just save the Sales and Sales Managemenet Blog to you RSS Reader here.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Boost Your Sales series: “Marketing Is What You Do When Your … […]

    Pingback by Marketing your Therapy Practice. | EveryTherapist — August 31, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: