When Sales is Male and Marketing is Female


I found myself this morning having coffee with the GM of one of the big airlines here in Indonesia (as if it is the most normal Saturday morning event in my world).

I have to scramble out of bed when I read the SMS from my boss. “Leslee, let me know if you understand this…” and he continued with a Bahasa Indonesia message which he left me to figure out on my own. He has so much confidence in my baby Indonesian that he should feel lucky everytime I get what he means without cheating and using Google translate.

So anyway, I found myself driving to one cafe to have a morning chit chat with this person I barely know save for his name and what he does for a living.

The GM and his son decided to drop by the area where I live because the son wants to take some nature shots he wish to use as an entry to a photo competition hosted by the airline.

As we sip our coffee and start some small talk while the son wanders around to take his shots, the conversation ventured into arts and technology, the subjects all his children are into now.

The GM said he supports whatever his sons are doing for the moment but expects them to be more focused in a few years time. And he said that whatever his sons decide to do in the future, they must all learn marketing.

So I carried the conversation along until he shared to me a theory he coined which he is not so sure if is really very original. I was game for it anyway.

He said Sales and Marketing are two very different things.

I have to listen clearly as this is coming from a man wisened by experience and age.

He has always viewed Sales as a male and Marketing as a female.

Sales is aggressive, is doing the rounds for prey, is ready with techniques to lure and get what it wants, is always ready for the kill.

Marketing is like a female, it just stays put but is always prettifying itself, coming up with ways to lure predators, is a beautiful trap.

From a person who did not take a single business or management course in my entire life, what he said somehow makes sense.

He continued, “Some people are made for sales. Some people are made for marketing. I cannot do sales but I know I can do marketing.”

And we continued on and on. So much for a lazy Saturday morning talk. I was just prepared to talk about the weather, really.

Well, I guess that starts my very first lesson in Sales and Marketing. My other boss wants me to trail him every week to the city as he does his consultancy on the subject. I really don’t know what will be my purpose there but these are free lessons for life so I am very much in.

I am at a loss on how to call what I do for a living now. I sip coffee with people I don’t know, I play golf even when I don’t know a single thing about the game, I have to learn fishing, the list of weird things I do is endless.

But I love this job. Seriously. Now I wonder what I have to do tomorrow. I remember the other boss mentioning that I should list down nice spots to take wedding photos.

What a life.


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