Marketing is not Just about advertising and promotional work. People perceive it as such because promotional work, whether it be advertising, PR or sales promotional activity, is often the most visible part of a marketing team’s effort to the outside world. The second myth that needs dispelling, one most people, even those who work in business often believe, is that marketing is Just a function of business that merely churns out 4 Develop your marketing skills products, free gifts and advertising matter from employees who work in the marketing department.
However, marketing is much deeper and significantly more profound than this. If marketing is used and truly understood and implemented erectly in a business, it becomes a philosophy, a way of doing business – a whole approach, which should and must permeate throughout an entire organization. Hence, marketing is everybody responsibility, not Just the specialist marketers who work in the marketing department. Why is it everybody responsibility? Well, think about it logically. How many times have you phoned an organization and been cut off, or not spoken to in a professional manner, or not been given the answers you deserve?
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How many times have you visited organizations as a customer and your feet stick to the floors because they haven’t been cleaned ropey, or you meet staff who haven’t been trained to deal with questions and queries? The reason marketing is everybody responsibility is quite simple, yet incredibly important – it is because we all play a part in creating the ‘customer experience’. So – what actually is it? If one word had to be chosen to encapsulate the central focus of marketing it would be ‘customer’.
Marketing is about understanding who your customers are, being able to anticipate what they require now and in the future and, ultimately, satisfying their every need. All the work your organization undertakes not Just the marketing department) should therefore be created and implemented to serve the customer. The definition put forward by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (see wry. Jim. Co. UK) is a sound one; it describes marketing as the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
This definition is useful in understanding the key facets Marketing: separating fact from fiction 5 of what marketing is truly all about as it is direct, concise and almost every word means something that is critical to understanding exactly what the marketing philosophy entails. The first three words of this definition are particularly important in understanding marketing. First, marketing is now seen as being of senior management importance, being strategic as well as tactical and operational.
For it to be truly embedded into the culture and heart of an organization, it needs commitment from top management, and in many organizations today a marketing director will be on the board to lead the organization forwards with a marketing-based awareness. Secondly, marketing is a process. There is no clinical start and end. It isn’t linear. It’s continual – a process – it never stops or ends. As the world changes, so do our customers, hence our businesses adapt and evolve to move with the times. Before we can satisfy the customer we must truly understand who they are as well as we possibly can – we must identify them.
Marketing isn’t Just about the here and now either. It is also about the future. Marketers must ‘anticipate’ customer wants and needs. Why? Again, think about it logically. It may take your organization years to develop a new product (or service) and launch it into the market. Therefore, you must think into the future in terms of the customers’ desires and needs and not Just their rent requirements. If your organization can identify and anticipate customer requirements, you can move to try and satisfy them. But, once again, there is an added complication. Most organizations have limited resources: financial, staff, equipment, etc.
Therefore, an organization must seek to satisfy its customers efficiently (with as little wastage as possible) and profitably. However, now more than ever, business activities should also be undertaken and managed in an ethical and socially responsible manner. 6 Develop your marketing skills The marketing concept Your organization’s most important ‘asset’ is your customers. Irrespective of whether your company is a product- or serviceable organization or indeed a charity, you must place the customer at the heart of all the decision making and planning (not just the marketing) decisions.
Where customer needs drive all the business decisions a marketing philosophy has been truly adopted and implemented. This is generally known as the ‘marketing concept’. This can only be achieved by entering into regular, honest dialogue with your customers. Every time you receive customer feedback your organization grows stronger, as shown in Figure 1. 1 . Communication Client Supplier Time Figure 1. 1 Healthy dialogue with clients benefits all parties An organization that adopts the marketing concept into its business practices is therefore said to be ‘marketing-oriented’.
Marketing: separating fact from fiction 7 Are all organizations marketing-oriented? Unfortunately not! There are a number of different business orientations that organizations tend to follow. Have a look at them below. Production orientation This is where the managers are focused not upon the customer but upon production techniques, reduced costs and efficiency issues. Typically it involves high volume, low margin business with low R&D or innovation. To use an analogy, if China were a company, it would be production-oriented. Is this approach to running a business incorrect?
Not necessarily, but it is very inward-looking. What if the market, competition and customers change? How will an organization following this nonworking approach know to change accordingly? In reality, it probably wouldn’t, which is a major disadvantage of this approach if adopted in today’s highly competitive, fast-paced marketplace. Product orientation This is where an organization focuses upon the product it produces: the features, quality, cost and brand, etc – not the customer. Typically these companies look to augment existing products or improve on competitors’ products.
Again, is this a suitable approach and philosophy for running a business? Well, yes, for some. The Apple pod is a simply brilliant concept but many of its components have existed for decades (displays, hard disks, etc) and it wasn’t the first IMP player to market. The Virgin organization has had huge success at taking on major players in new markets and doing it in its own Virgin way. That said, Virgin and Apple are exceptions to the rule and most product-oriented organizations adopt an inward focus at their own aril!
Again, it has to be acknowledged that even with an inward-looking 8 Develop your marketing skills approach to running a business, the product may be successful initially, but what if newer, more innovative and competitive products appear in the market? What if the initial customer response to the new product is negative? Will product-oriented businesses be best positioned to respond? Arguably not. Sales orientation This approach is where an organization introduces sales techniques to sell its products; basically it sells whatever it produces.
This approach became popular in the sass, when customers ere starting to be given a choice of products and services – in other words, when competition started to really appear in the marketplace. Hard-sell techniques were often used in this approach to help persuade the customer to buy one particular product or service rather than that of the competition. A useful approach? Yes it certainly can be but again, organizations must be cautious if they use this sole approach today. A more enlightened example of a sales-oriented company is Dell.
Anyone who takes a subscription, say, to The Times can’t help but notice Dell’s massive investment in advertising. Hundreds of days every year there are half- and full-page ads, not to mention ads on TV, radio and other media. A straw poll of our classes over the last few years has never failed to produce a cluster of students who have bought Dell machines. Dell didn’t invent the PC, it’s probably not the cheapest unit in the market but you have to go a long way to find a company that advertises its PC’s more effectively than Dell. These orientations are summarized in Table 1. . The benefits of being inordinateness By embracing the marketing concept and placing the customer at the heart of all planning and decision making you should Marketing: separating fact from fiction 9 Table 1. 1 Attributes of different orientations Orientation Nature Motivation to change Marketing activities oriented Production Stack ‘me high sell ‘me cheap – high volume, low margin, risk, D and innovation Internal Take share by cost leadership Yes Often target late majority and laggards (see Chapter 5) No Product Add to existing ideas. Some tailoring of product offer.
Medium volume, occasionally high margins Look to improve on internal or external rivals Target early adopters and niche markets Sales We sell what we produce. ‘ Not necessarily the iris nor the best. Can take large market share Look to take share from competitors by having higher Single transactions Heavy reliance on promotion – some use of mass media, others through sales teams. Strong branding We sell what our customers want’. Often end up market leaders. Seek to innovate with products and services External Seek to identify customer needs that aren’t satisfied by rivals and provide solutions. Evolve relationships Heavy reliance on market research. Promote loyalty schemes. Seek to sell benefits and add value customers 10 Develop your marketing skills Profit Market hare Customer Satisfaction Loyalty Retention Word-of-mouth Staff Job Relations Rewards Figure 1. 2 Benefits of adopting a marketing orientation attain a number of key advantages, as shown in Figure 1. 2 and listed below: increase in market share; increase in turnover; increase in profitability; increase in customer satisfaction; increase in customer loyalty; increase in the number of new users; creating a competitive advantage.
Put quite simply, if you continually give customers what they want, the chances are that they will come back, time and time again to purchase your product or services, Hereford enhancing sales, turnover and profitability as well as gaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers tend to not only return to purchase for themselves once again, they also tend to tell their friends, families and colleagues. Conversely, if they Marketing: separating fact from fiction 11 have a poor experience, they tend to tell even more people about it! Why does my company need to be marketing-oriented? Consider the world we live in today.
For many organizations, the marketplace is a difficult, dynamic, dangerous and highly competitive place to be. To be more successful, your organization must be externally focused, not Just internally focused upon production techniques, products and sales issues. A much wider view is needed. You certainly need excellent production techniques, products and sales initiatives but an awareness of the customer and other factors at play in the wider environment is paramount. Wherever and whenever you see changes in the market or environment, you must change and adapt, otherwise you risk being left behind and could suffer quite serious repercussions.
Many organizations develop a tunnel-like vision to their business activities. This condition is often referred to as ‘marketing myopia’ – a short-sightedness that can often result in the loss of customers and eventually loss of the business. Nowadays many academics and practitioners subscribe to the view that the business environment is changing at such a rate that we’re all working in permanent turbulence and our planned strategies have little chance of reaching their intended goals without deflection.
It is easy to get ensnared into analyzing and crunching sales and market share figures, focusing upon staffing issues, buying in new capital equipment and other such internal matters. However, one of the central issues to developing a marketing philosophy and culture throughout an organization is to place Just as much emphasis on external matters. Why focus upon the customer and not concentrate on core organizational strengths? Simply put, it is the customer that purchases products and services from an organization in exchange for money.
This 12 Develop your marketing skills exchange process brings the organization and the customer together. If customers have a positive experience with the product or service, or with the overall experience, they will tell their family, friends ND colleagues, and if they have a bad experience the chances are that they will tell even more people about it. This applies now more than ever with the advent of the internet. Web 2. 0 has seen an explosion in the number of user websites (see wimp. Midi. Com), blobs and social network sites such as Backbone.
In 2007 Catbird re-launched its Wisps bar as a result of a campaign on Backbone for bringing it back. Good for Catbird for monitoring the external environment. As electronic exchanges can bring the two parties together, a relationship is formed and many marketers today try to capitalism upon that initial relationship by finding UT as much as they can about the customers and their needs. Customers are also constantly changing and technology is enabling quicker, easier decision making – for instance by using cost-comparison websites such as Keelson or Precompiled. Mom. As customers change, their desires, needs and wants also change and if an organization doesn’t change and adapt with them, the chances are that they will dissatisfy the customer and start to lose their customers to the competition. Another myth that also requires dispelling is that the whole marketing effort is only used by large organizations with huge budgets. On the contrary, it can be argued hat the marketing philosophy is even more important for a small business to engage in than it is for a global or multinational player.
Small businesses don’t have the low cost base or the huge pool of investment funds that are available to a large business. However, they often have an advantage in their ability to move much closer to customers, to form a strong alliance with them and make them feel incredibly important. They can also move flexibly and quickly with changing customer needs and market dynamics. Therefore the marketing philosophy can be embraced and implemented in any size or type of organization.