THE THREE MOST POWERFUL MARKETING CONCEPTS Rachel Pechacek Tarleton State University Marketing Management MKTG 508 April 10, 2010 The Three Most Powerful Marketing Concepts The three most powerful marketing concepts are customer focus, marketing imagination, and market segmentation. Each of the three concepts when used alone establishes an intimate customer following (further described individually below); as they are aimed at satisfying a customer’s needs rather than persuading a customer that they need a certain product or service (“product”).
When used in conjunction with one another, these concepts cultivate a relationship with customers that will lead to repeat business, word-of-mouth advertising, and brand loyalty; thus yielding less of a need for the more expensive, traditionally-thought-of advertising and promotional campaigns. Customer First Focus Schewe and Hiam (1998) noted the importance of getting back to what they believe to be the most fundamental marketing concept: focusing on how to best satisfy consumers (p. 5). This entails looking at your business from the customers’ perspective and giving the customer more for less (instead of vice versa).
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Without satisfied customers, companies will lose business to competitors and fail to attract new business. That makes this “customer first” concept all the more important, because businesses primarily have only two possible sources of revenue: selling to new customers and selling to repeat customers (Schewe & Hiam, 1998, p. 6). To sell to new customers under this concept, companies may need to redesign products, lower prices, or come up with faster / easier ways to get the product to the consumer. To retain existing customers, companies may need to improve customer service, provide warranties / guaranties, or improve reliability.
Of the highest importance is customer satisfaction and paying attention to all of the little details that let the customer know that you care enough to pay attention to their specific needs and desires. In my opinion, the “customer first” concept is critical to a company’s success. With the speed of communication and vast availability of alternative products, it is easy for a customer to find a better deal elsewhere and/or blab to the entire world about the short-comings of your product (whether it is related price, quality, poor customer service, etc. ).
On the flip side, a relationship will be forged with satisfied customers, and happy customers will likewise spread the word about your product. Marketing Imagination Concept The marketing imagination concept entails developing new solutions for customers’ needs and desires, constant product improvement, and an overall focus on innovation. Likened to the Japanese philosophy of marketing described by Schewe and Hiam (1998) as a focus on the “latent need” of customers, the marketing imagination concept involves ascertaining “what customers might value but have never experienced or thought to ask for” (p. 15).
It requires imagination and a bit of risk tolerance to experiment with what the customer might want. The marketing imagination concept is more than just listening to customers; it requires companies to apply innovation to what they have learned from their interactions customers. Pepsi CEO Wayne Calloway said it best: “If it ain’t broke, you might as well break it yourself, because it soon will be” (as cited in Schewe & Hiam, 1998, p. 53). Companies that maintain a constant state of innovation to meet customers’ needs and desires are best suited to avoid the “marketing myopia” characterized by Leavitt (1975).
While the railroad, Beta, and (in very short-order) many printed newspaper companies have become victims of “marketing myopia,” there are many others that have been very successful by using a marketing imagination strategy. Some of those companies include UPS, Apple’s “i” products (iPhone, iPod, iPad), and Amazon’s Kindle Reader. The Japanese concept of “churning” (reverse engineering competitors’ products, adding new features to make their product more attractive, and through the process, developing economies of scale) results in continuous innovation that benefits the customers a great deal (Murray, 2006, p. 9). The marketing imagination is also critical to a company’s success. As described above, if a company cannot keep up with customers’ needs and desires (which change quickly) or come up with new and exciting products that customers did not know they needed yet, then their competitors will. Marketing Segmentation The marketing segmentation concept allows a company to focus on a specific group of customers that it is best prepared and suited to satisfy.
Rather than trying to be all things to all people, selecting a target market enables a company to tailor its offerings to more specific customer needs and preferences (Schewe & Hiam, 1998, p. 200). When a company focuses its efforts and capital (both tangible and intangible) on a more narrowly defined set of needs, it is more likely that the customers will get the product they desire. Companies that use the marketing segmentation concept typically have a more intimate knowledge of the customers they target, and customers usually relate better with companies that understand their interests.
As such a relationship is built. Conclusion Many people think of marketing as “selling stuff to people. ” To the contrary, the three most powerful marketing concepts, in essence, do not involve selling stuff to people at all. They instead work to create relationships and loyalty by putting the customer’s needs and wants first, constantly being innovative to continue to satisfy those needs, and focusing on a narrower group of customers so that it can do the best job of meeting their needs.
If these concepts are utilized, the products will sell themselves without the traditional marketing (“advertising and promotion”) campaigns. Bibliography Murray, Chris. (2006). The marketing gurus. New York, NY: The Penguin Group (USA). Schewe, C. D. & Hiam, A. W. (1998). The portable MBA in marketing. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Leavitt, Theodore. (1975). Marketing Myopia. Harvard Business Review.