Creating the Marketing Oriented Firm
CREATING THE MARKETING ORIENTED FIRM
by Dane King,Chartered Marketer,CMA
Marketing: The management process that identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably.
GOOD corporate governance and effective strategic planning, technology, management and leadership are vital because they revolve around the most important stakeholder – the customer.
But the most important strategy for creating the foundation of a successful, world-class company is to create a marketing-oriented company. The marketing concept involves being more effective than competitors in integrating marketing activities towards determining and satisfying customers’ needs and wants.
There are said to be four pillars of the marketing concept:
- Target markets
- Customer needs
- Profitability; and
- Integrated marketing
Integrated marketing exists when all the company’s departments work together to serve the customer’s needs.
The objective of the company is to identify the needs of the customer, i.e. determine the target market, and satisfy them profitably. This requires knowledge of your competitors as well as your ability to satisfy your customer’s needs.
Businesses must be careful not to re-engineer processes merely to control costs or reduce risks, because to do so may indirectly stifle business flexibility and responsiveness to customer trends and competitive strategies.
The job of the successful entrepreneur is to determine the optimal marketing mix that would satisfy and exceed customer expectations. This marketing mix would include price, place of availability, promotions, products, processes, ambience, and people (customer service).
These marketing mix elements are strong methods of differentiating the product, service or company in the market place. Many firms focus on customer service, but one must be careful not to over-deliver customer service to unprofitable segments, and under-deliver service to the more profitable segments. This is likely to incur losses. One must provide the right service to the right segment at the right cost.
Additionally, “one size does not fit all”. You cannot expect to provide standard products and services across different customer segments. Products and services must be customised to specific segments, and marketing strategies and promotional campaigns must be specific to local trade areas.
To facilitate this, therefore, it is important to have ongoing surveys to gauge changing customer value expectations. Remember: Value is in the eyes of the customer.
As can be seen, developing a marketing orientation is a tough job because it requires focus on the intangible area of cultural change – an area in which many managers are not trained. It usually involves changing values, beliefs, attitudes and work methods and processes.
A marketing orientation challenges every member of a company to relate his or her work to the needs of the marketplace, and to balance it against the company’s own profit needs.
Nowhere is it more important than in the area of product design where the customers’ views are of tantamount importance.
Establishing a marketing orientation is a mammoth exercise that requires commitment from the bottom up. Everyone must be on board, and must understand the reasons for the change and where the business wants to go.
Strategic direction, therefore, is important. If you develop and implement a successful marketing strategy, your customers definitely will feel the difference.
Transformation – by changing job and department definitions, responsibilities, incentives and relationships.
Convincing the management team of the need to become customer focussed. Without executive support, this project is bound to fail.
Appointing a top marketing officer and a marketing task force, and getting outside help and guidance, where necessary.
Changing the reward structure in the company to change departmental behaviour.
Hiring strong marketing talent and leading marketing companies.
Developing strong in-house marketing training programmes for corporate management, as well as marketing and sales personnel.
Placing emphasis on marketing knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Establishing an annual “Marketing Excellence Recognition Programme” for the development of exemplary marketing plans.
Re-organising from a product-centred company to a market-centred company.
Establishing a marketing organisational structure,in which people are organised by the markets they serve (geographic, type of business, etc).
Empowering business managers to initiate and tailor customer-value strategies.
Developing a customer-driven culture incrementally.
Summary Traits of a MARKETING ORIENTED FIRM
A marketing oriented firm is focused on identifying the customer needs and satisfying those needs profitably. Here are a few defining traits:
- Long-term orientation – the business operates at a future/strategic level in devising strategies;
- Pre-occupation with planning – the right products, channels, levels of service, marketing strategy, to meet the customer’s long-term needs;
- Obsession with marketing;
- Marketing department prominent within the organisation – primarily to integrate the marketing activities; and
- Emphasis on marketing research – which involves market, price, product, competitor and economic research.
- A marketing oriented firm is focused on identifying the customer needs and satisfying those needs profitably
- Practices integrated marketing communications
- A marketing expert is part of senior management team
- Focuses on the service mix(12P’s) versus product mix(4P’s)
- All hands are on board during sales campaigns – cross functional teams
- The marketing department is given the resources needed
- Focus is on customer profitability instead of corporate profitability – since profitable customers = profitable business
- Bases strategy on marketing plan – blue print for success
- People are passionate about marketing in the organization in all functions
- There is a marketing function in the organization structure
- Product development is driven by marketing research
- Takes time to know the client well and re-engineers the organization to create excellent client experiences
- Has a service champion in each department
- Has a reward and incentive system to motivate greater sales and client engagement,etc.
Creating a marketing oriented firm does not happen overnight. It is important however to set clear annual objectives and deliverables and “work the plan”. A useful start would be to conduct a marketing audit. If you need help in creating a marketing oriented firm, you may reach me at 647-340-3801 or at www.stratking.org
Dane King is the President of Stratking Advisory Services, a Chartered Marketer, Certified Management Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. For over 20 years Dane has been helping organizations devise and execute sales, marketing, branding and management accounting strategies to make more money.
He can be reached at 647-340-3801 or at email@example.com
Stratking Advisory Services provides professional services to small businesses across Canada and wealth management services to professionals in Ontario. Chartered Marketer for Hire is a division of Stratking Advisory Services located at http://charteredmarketerforhire.org/home