Your Definition Should Articulate Marketing’s Value in Business Terms

To earn respect in the organization, we need to be able to articulate to the management team and stakeholders the contribution they can expect from Marketing. Sometimes selling Marketing to the corner office is a challenge. In some instances the management team has come to think of Marketing as merely sales support with a focus on executional elements such as PR, promotion, personal selling and price discounting. Until Marketing leaders become engaged in developing and driving the business strategy, the funciton will remain relegated to this role.

Define Your Marketing to Create Value and Growth

The American Marketing Associations definition of Marketing is: “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.” The World Marketing Association (WMA) offers yet another definition, Marketing is the core business philosophy which directs the processes of identifying and fulfilling the needs of individuals and organizations through exchanges which create superior value for all parties. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIMU) has yet another, Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. 

How Do You Define Marketing?

There are 3 common ways to distinguish Marketing.

We recommend a simple definition. Marketing solves customers problems profitably while creating value and growth for the enterprise. This definition of marketing places marketing directly in the thick of any organization whose objectives are to survive and grow profitably. In this definition, Marketing is far more than sales enablement or program implementation.

Marketing that reflects this definition is a function that

  1. contributes directly to assessing the wants and satisfaction of present and potential customers
  2. segments and profile the market
  3. designs and manages product/service offerings
  4. determines prices and pricing strategies,
  5. develops distribution strategies,
  6. positions your company and its solutions
  7.  differentiates your company from competitors 
  8. communicate your  value to customers and prospects
  9. engages your customers and prospects and then lastly and finally
  10. moves customers and prospects from conversation to consideration and consumption

That’s a lot to ask of one function. Here are three common ways Marketing organization are often defined.

Performance and Operational excellence assessment

Purchase Your Assessment

Distinguish product-centric, sales-centric and market-centric companies from each other

Product-centric companies focus on the internal capabilities of the company. Product-centric companies are typically addressing such questions as “What can we do best? What can we make? What is easy to produce? What services are easiest for us to offer? What are our core competencies?” A product-centric approach doesn’t consider whether the goods/services the company can produce meet the needs of the marketplace. Sometimes what a firm can best produce is what the market wants and sometimes it’s not.

Sales-centric companies believe that people will buy more goods and/or services if aggressive sales techniques are used and that high sales result in high profits. These companies often rely on “hired guns” with deep rolodexes and extensive networks for personal selling and a long list of intermediaries (strategic partners) to push the “product” more aggressively. Companies with a sales-centric view may miss opportunities to serve customers because what the sales person is selling may not match what the customer requires.

Market-centric and/or customer-centric approach is based on the idea that what customers think they are buying and the perceived value of this offer defines the business. Market-centric/customer-centric companies focus on customer wants and needs, integrate all the organization’s activities to satisfy these needs (hence the concept of integrated marketing), and believe that achieving long-term goals are a result of satisfying customers and creating a loyal customer base. The market-centric approach begins with the premise that customers buy from one organization over another because in some way that company is better at serving their needs and wants.

Marketing’s Road to Success

Customer-Centric Marketing is the Best Road to Success

A market-centric view doesn’t mean the customer will always get what they want, but it does mean that the company will understand what the customers want and therefore make decisions accordingly. This approach requires top-management buy-in and leadership, a customer focus, and sound competitive and market intelligence.

It is our thinking that market-centric differs from sales centric in that market-centric companies focus outward instead of inward, and committed to delivering superior value, and that profit comes through satisfaction and loyalty rather than just maximizing sales volume.

Customer-centric Marketing must have a solid handle on the customer, their problems, a product (good or service) that solves these problems, a way or channel for customers to buy the product, how to make money bringing this product to the market, and how to position and promote the product. Customer-centric marketing forces the organization to be externally focused, with that focus squarely on the customer and identifying profitable markets. It helps the organization realize that they may need to put more energy into customer/market selection and customer/market segmentation.

Customer Centric Marketing

Start with these 7 questions to determine if your a customer-centric Marketing org.

Determine Whether You’re a Customer-Centric Marketing Organization

These seven questions will help you ascertain whether you are on track to operating as a customer-centric marketing function:

  1. Do you know what are your customers problems?
  2. If so, how did you come to know (gut instinct,  stories or real research)
  3. How sure are you that these are really your customers most important problems?
  4. Do you know what information you have and need to make significant progress toward fully understanding and then solving your customers problems now and in the future?
  5. Do you know which customers are your profitable ones?
  6. Do you have a plan to turn less-profitable customers into more-profitable customers?
  7. Have you developed a process that determines under what circumstances you will let a non-profitable customer go?

Learn how to create a customer-centric marketing organization.

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