Marketing Matters: Incorporate Customer's Requirements

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL BYRNE: Vice chair, Industry, Chartered Institute of Marketing

ONE of the most reliable features of contemporary marketing is that it is ever-changing.

Business drivers such as customer value, core competencies and collaborative networks are increasingly influencing the evolution of marketing strategies and have created the need for a new marketing paradigm in Northern Ireland as elsewhere.

For some time now, companies have operated under the umbrella of predecessors, like the selling or marketing concept, which, in today's economy, can lead to fragmented thinking.

The first to be taken on board was the selling concept that saw companies selling and promoting their portfolios to win volume and increase profits. Their focus was to identify prospects using mass persuasion methods coupled with personal selling to convert prospects into customers.

Limited thought went into segmenting markets and developing different products that met varying needs. Success would be achieved through product standardisation, followed by mass production broad-based distribution.

This paved the way for the more familiar marketing concept that saw a shift in focus towards customers and their varying needs.

Marketing professionals were expected to develop segment-based offerings and marketing mixes, targeting and positioning the value proposition.

Their endgame was to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction within each targeted market segment, leading to loyal (and profitable) customers that could be sustained.

However, the onset of the digital economy, our increasing dependency on electronic communication, closer links between companies and their suppliers and wider stakeholders has led to the need for a more holistic approach, where the starting point is always individual customer needs. …