There is a book that lists most bestsellers from 1900-1999 called Making the List by Michael Korda.

You can claim "NY Times bestseller" status if you made the list one week, which is, theoretically, relatively easy to do (I overstate, of course) by selling 5,000 copies, give or take depending on what other books are selling in any one week period, through tracking accounts (such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, etc.). Thus, one may be a NY Times bestseller and still sell relatively few copies. Conversely, a book may sell quite a lot of copies over, say, a year period and never make the NY Times list because: 1) other books outsold it in every reporting week period; 2) it sold through outlets not tracked by the Gray Lady; 3) it had legs vs. a one-hit wonder.

Marketing everything involves utilizing "ploys," much as I dislike that word. Whether we are selling a product or service or ourselves for a job or a romantic partner, we use anything that will give us an edge, make us seem sexy and appealing and wanted. Animals do it — the cliched example is the male peacock strutting his colorful feathers. Imbuing ourselves or our products with seemingly important or sexy attributes may be ploy but if we didn't do it then there would be no books, no movies, no Google, no Ford Explorers, and so on.

Why do some Specs have such disdain for "marketing"? How do they imagine that the companies whose stocks they buy sell their products and services? By magic?

Steve Leslie writes: 

I agree with Pamela. What is so unseemly about marketing? It may have to do with the people who work in marketing and advertising.

When you think about it, they are hired to do one thing. That is to represent the client and promote someone or something. Their tastes, political views, morals, opinions as to the quality of the product etc. do not matter. They are hired to do one thing and that is to sell a product to the public however unattractive that product may be.

There are some other professions that come to mind who perhaps stand out in this respect.

Lawyers for example. When you hire a lawyer it is for one purpose. They represent the client to the best of their abilities and with great passion and prejudice to their cause within the confines of ethics and the law. The lawyer has latitude to accept or reject representation but once they come on board they are expected to bring their full skills to the arena of play.

We hold athletes in high esteem, yet they are just paid entertainers who are promoting themselves constantly through their skills and statistics. And if there is a market for their skills in another venue, such as when Shaquille O'Neal left Orlando for Los Angeles and onto Miami, we soon find that they are more than willing to accept another offer.

My point is that everyone is involved in some form of marketing and advertising and even "ghast" selling. It is the form of the promotion which may be uncomfortable to the observer.

Look at money management. One may be one of the finest money managers around however that is defined, but if nobody knows about it and you don't have money to manage, then you won't be around for very long.

In my view, a professional can be both, excellent at their work and excellent at promoting themselves.


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