Yeah, yeah, I know; developing a marketing orientation does sound a bit academic and perhaps even irrelevant in the context of a double-dip recession. But believe me, now it’s more important than ever. I previously posted a checklist for marketing orientation, which explained what a marketing orientation is and how to tell if you’ve got one.
In this post I am going to outline:
- why a marketing orientation is now more important than ever
- how to go about achieving this
Organisations which lose touch with their customers and fail to respond to changes in the market are much more likely to under-perform or go to the wall. Kodak, Northern Rock, Woolworths, Aquascutum, Blacks Leisure, Rangers FC, Habitat and Clinton Cards are all regrettable examples of this. So how would a marketing orientation have helped any of these organisations?
Having invented the digital imaging in the nineties, Kodak failed to recognise and respond to the revolution taking place around them; Northern Rock maintained a policy of irresponsible lending which was neither in the best interests of the company nor ultimately their customers; Woolworths lost touch with its customers, particularly in the areas of value and the customer experience in shops.
While these companies undoubtedly started life with a strong marketing orientation, as time went by they lost their way and failed to respond to the needs of customers and changes in the market place. Ultimately this sealed their fate.
So, how do organisations achieve and sustain a marketing orientation?
- Get top management buy-in – bottom-up approaches rarely work
- Make a plan and allocate resources
- Bring together managers from all departments to align activities within the company. Do the customer research, market analysis and competitor research. Set targets.
- Achieving a marketing orientation is a cultural issue, so work out how you will bring about the necessary cultural change
- Monitor performance and be sure to maintain momentum
Achieving a marketing orientation requires an investment of time and money; maintaining it requires determination and consistency. But in these recessionary times, can companies really afford not to make such an important investment in their future prosperity – or perhaps even their survival?