It’s perhaps the most significant section of your marketing strategy as you look to create a formal, documented paper where you intend to formally "introduce your customer to the organization" – to embrace Market Orientation.
Market Orientation sits before strategic thinking or the creation of a segmentation strategy or even the decisions to be taken on how your brand will be positioned. Yet it seems to be one of the most difficult tasks in terms of getting total organisational buy-in.
A recent Harvard Business Review entitled "Why CMO's Never Last" highlighted the concern that CMO's are
"not given enough authority to do what's expected of them and also they are led down a marketing communications route or product strategy" - which suggests organisations are becoming more impatient for immediate results and action rather than allowing time for a documented process of starting with the needs and wants of the customer."
Market Orientation is defined as “only when a company completely understands its markets and the people who decide whether to buy its products or services” Source: Harvard Business Review.
When introducing the concept of Market Orientation you may be shot down with the response: “there is not the time to do the research” or “We don’t have the budget to set aside for this type of research” – this amazes me as for some reason most organisations do find the time and budget to invest in the more tactical elements of their marketing strategy i.e. the communications elements but without understanding their customer?!
But another reason may be that the organization is deeply entwined with a different approach to orientation? The birth of the industrial revolution also saw many organizations take up an alternative approach to market orientation and opt for Product (starting with the product) or Sales Orientation (starting with the sales needed).
But Market Orientation is beginning to take centre stage thankfully and this is in part due to the rise in digital technology that has accelerated how customers can now interact with your brand, whether they choose to buy from you or whether they choose to opt for a competitor.
As Gerry McGovern, author of “Transform, a rebels guide for digital transformation” states:
“The rise in interest in customer experience is a response to the rise in power of customers. Focusing on customer experience is something that has been forced on organisations as they see loyalty and trust precipitously decline”.
And the issue of the decline in customer loyalty continues to be a key challenge for organizations as highlighted by a recent Salesforce article entitled “The state of the Customer” where the company surveyed 7000 customers and businesses.
One of the key insights from the survey was the expectation that companies need to invest and focus on the need to be investing in more personalised experiences for their customers – “because customer’s loyalty depends on it….half of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if a company does not anticipate their needs”.
So where to start?
It’s important to remember you can make small changes now within your business and here are a few suggestions as to how you can start now and begin to change the culture and way of working:
Remember, you are not looking for solutions within a market orientation approach, you are looking to gradually move the voice of the customer to the centre of your organization. To listen to their challenges and problems and to provide the evidence to the wider organization
I'd love to hear any of your own feedback and examples as to how you may have a documented plan in place for market orientation?
By Simon Swan
Start the discussion on our community and social networks
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