I came across a biased, uninformed, largely inflammatory (but otherwise a great read!) BNET post today called How Technology Killed Marketing. While Geoffrey James's description of how the Internet has changed marketing is largely on-point, the conclusion is dead-wrong.
James contends that the ability to track the effectiveness of every lead (closed-loop marketing) has exposed, and therefore killed, marketing. Sorry Mr. James, but the opposite is true. The ability to track the effectiveness of every lead ALL THE WAY through to every sales channel and person only make marketing both more effective and more strategic. Now, good messaging, positioning, creative and programs can be more easily and more quickly distinguished from bad... and good sales channels and sales people can easily be distinguished from bad - based on the right metrics.
At a previous company that I worked for, sales continually pined for "more leads". But once we had the right closed-loop marketing systems installed and integrated into SF.com, we began to uncover interesting truths, like: the good sales people indeed did need more leads, but the bad (and quiet) ones actually were sitting on leads that good people could have closed; some leads were going into "black holes" because of empty territories, cherry picking, or someone's assumption that "all trade-show leads are bad"; etc.
Armed with the right tools and data, marketers helped sales come up with better lead distribution (including pushing many to the channel), improve programs to improve lead quality, and actually expose under-performing sales resources. Not exactly what Mr. James had in-mind, I think.
For smart companies, marketing vs. sales is not an issue any more. As I have often said, marketing is just selling to many, while sales is marketing to one. The skills might be different, but the goals are algined. Let's bury the hatchet.