Do You Have a Marketing System?
The board of directors of the American Marketing Association adopted this definition of marketing:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
For another take on the definition of marketing, consider this from The Chartered Institute of Marketing, a professional association based in the United Kingdom:
Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
Management guru Peter Drucker defines marketing this way:
Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of the final result
, that is, from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.
Finally, Regis McKenna, an influential marketing consultant whose professional career includes authorizing five books on marketing, succinctly states
Marketing is everything.
What all these definitions have in common is the recognition that marketing requires businesses and organizations to be customer-centric – to shift from a focus on production to a focus on what customers need and want.
Traditionally, marketing activities have included advertising, distribution and selling. However, with the shift in emphasis from products to customers, marketing now includes insight gained from the study of customer behavior (incorporating the disciplines of social science, psychology and sociology) as well as input from hard science (economics and mathematics). Thus relationship marketing and social marketing are now being added to traditional marketing activities.
In the sixth edition of his book Marketing Plans: How to Prepare Them, How to Use Them, Professor Malcolm McDonald of Cranfield University School of Management in the United Kingdom suggests that marketing consists of three types of activities:
Review of the external marketing environment which studies the market, customers and competitors and identifies current and developing trends.
Review of the internal marketing activities with emphasis on the seven Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, placement, people, positioning and packaging.
Review of the marketing system including the marketing organization, how market research is conducted, and current marketing objectives and strategies.
But what marketing strategies should small companies and organizations use? The buzz is in favor of abandoning traditional marketing strategies based on print media in favor of entirely new ones, largely built on Internet marketing. Social media – including online communication like blogging and social networking as well as opinions and review – are appealing because of a lower cost-per-touch than print media. But we suggest that these new tools are just that – a new way to reach customers and prospects that enhances rather than replaces what is already working.
Consider these facts about traditional print media:
Consider these facts about traditional print media:
- According to the United States Postal Service 2007 Household Diary Study, 80% of households read or scan advertising mail.
- In a 2008 survey sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and Pitney Bowes, 39% of respondents said they tried a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising, and 70% said they renewed a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion.
- An iProspect study conducted in 2007 found that 67% of online searches were driven by offline messages, resulting in purchases 39% of the time. In addition, shoppers who receive a direct mail piece directing them to an online site spend on average 13% more than those who do not receive a printed piece.
Enhancements to traditional marketing
Our statement that traditional print media remains important
does not mean that we don’t recognize how communicating with customers and prospects is changing. More and more, customers and prospects are taking control of the buying situation by seeking information on their terms – looking for what they want as the need arises. We are well past the time when a small business could use only word of mouth and yellow pages advertising to attract new customers.
Businesses and organizations today need a web site supported by a consistent direct mail program to point prospects to the web site.
Web sites have also evolved since their earliest days. A web site that is no more than an online yellow pages ad will disappoint visitors looking for information and interactivity.
Pictures, descriptive text, detailed explanations, downloadable information, videos, and an easy way to contact the business to request more information are now minimum requirements for a web site.
Who is responsible for marketing?
With marketing becoming customer-centric and customers taking control of the information-seeking process prior to making a buying decision, the responsibility for marketing within the business or organization has changed. While the owner of a small business or the president of an organization may continue to control or decide about the specific marketing strategies, all parts of the organization are now involved in implementing the marketing plan.
Customers and prospects will form an opinion about a business or organization based on several factors:
the image projected in print and online;
the staff members who are responsible for customer service and product or service delivery; and
the responsiveness of the organization to resolving customer problems.
For consistency and marketing effectiveness, the print and online image must support the marketing strategies, and the staff members in customer service, delivery and problem resolution must understand and implement the marketing strategies.
The core concepts of a marketing system
A modern, successful marketing system for businesses and organizations is built on three core concepts: a customer-centric rather than product-centric focus that identifies current needs of customers and predicts their future needs; expanding the responsibility for marketing to the entire organization; and using new marketing strategies to enhance but not replace traditional ones.
If you need help with your image in print – business stationery, brochures and marketing materials, direct mail marketing campaign, or web site development and improvement, we can help. Contact Terry Doland or at 408-400-0223 for an appointment now.