Several times in the last few years we have discussed how honing certain selling skills can offer benefits to nearly all occupations and not just those in selling roles. For instance, in 2014, we noted how being strong in the one crucial skill, the art of persuasion, is not just for those who sell products and services. We went even further in 2015 suggesting most business people would benefit from learning selling skills through self-directed training methods or professional instruction.
Considering the value selling skills may offer, it seems surprising that the vast majority of American colleges and universities are not the best places to go to sharpen these skills. As discussed in this Harvard Business Review story, only a small number of U.S. schools offer dedicated sales education programs. While business programs at many colleges and universities offer a course or two in sales, very few have clearly defined sales programs consisting of many courses.
To the rest of the world, it must seem strange that America’s four major professional sport leagues - Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) - do not allow corporations to place sponsorship promotions on players’ uniform. In nearly every other professional sports league around the world, uniforms are ladened with advertisements. Ads can even be found in other U.S. professional sports including NASCAR, professional golf (PGA and LPGA) and Major League Soccer. But not in the four major U.S. sports leagues.
The reason major U.S. sports teams have not accepted promotional message on their uniforms is not entirely clear, though there are several reasonable arguments against it. First, sports purest point to ads leading to questions about the integrity of the game. They believe the money spent by advertisers would not just be for promoting their product but would allow them to influence the teams wearing their ads. Second, advertisers whose logo is not on uniforms but who sponsor games by showing television advertisement during games may get upset. They may not like a close-up television image of a player being celebrated for a great play only to see the player has the advertiser’s competitor on their jersey. Finally, players (and their sports agents) may have reservations with the ads on their jersey if they have endorsement deals with competitive products.
Throughout our Marketing Blog, we make mention of marketing’s pivotal role in the introduction of new products, such as highly innovative new technologies. It is also important to note that the introduction of innovative products also has ramifications for marketing jobs. In general, when new a technology are introduced marketing employees in existing industries affected by the innovation can expect one of two outcomes: 1) the innovation forces marketers in existing roles to adapt by undertaking new learning or potentially face the unemployment line; or 2) the innovation creates entirely new marketing jobs that did not previously exist.