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Marketing 101 |
What does Marketing mean Today?
The Production Era of the 1800's simply developed and delivered products to an insatiably hungry consumer demand. With significant reduction in consumer demand this era gave way to the Selling Era at the turn of the 20th century. From 1920's to early 1950's business viewed sales, or personal selling, as the most important means of increasing profits as they grouped sales, advertising and distribution in the focused activities of marketing.
The Marketing Era developed out of recognition that promotion and salesmanship did not guaranty sales, or growth in consumer purchase and patronage. A turn to focus on determining and answering consumer needs rather than making products and later trying persuade consumers that they need what is produced became the guiding policy of business marketing. The Marketing Relationship Era developed in the 1970's from the concept of answering consumer needs to include the attempts to continuously deepen customer dependence on the company as consumer confidence grows. This spawned the pursuit of brand loyalty and market or brand equity in creation of solid consumer relationship perceptions between customer and company.
The Marketing Satisfaction Era was ushered in by the dot-com startup Amazon whose development from 1995 has forever changed the practice of marketing. Utilizing web technology it pioneered the building of a strong one-on-one customer relationship based on creating genuine customer value and satisfaction.
From the day it opened Amazon has been relentlessly customer driven towards creating genuine and consistent value perception. When company founder Jeff Bezo was asked, when will Amazon start putting profits first rather than growth, he replied, "Customers come first. If you focus on what customers want and build a valued relationship, they will allow you to make money." At a time when consumers are now the most sophisticated in history and most knowledgeable with ready access to broad spectrum of information at their fingertips, Amazon.com obsesses on making each customers experience uniquely personal with the highest level of satisfaction. This has taken the realm of marketing to the next level.
Marketing now intensely includes everything from product development to customer aftercare programs that ensure consumer satisfaction. Wary consumers who have tasted this as an entitlement are now not going to settle for less than a satisfaction experience; they will never simply be sold, again. So, marketing is no longer merely advertising and selling; it is the art of understanding your consumer needs then fulfilling them in both promise and delivered value that exceeds consumer expectation of promised satisfaction. Today, marketing without delivery of satisfaction is subtly the consumer perception of fraud.
Today, you are a half a century behind if you continue to regard marketing as only sales, advertising, and distribution. There is distinct reason why business long ago divided sales and marketing into separate departments with very diverse roles between strategic planning and subsequent sales implementation. To be clear, marketing is a complete developmental business management philosophy guiding an organization's over all activity. It is the study and development of all the necessary process steps from defining need, creating, distributing, promoting, pricing and delivering goods, services or ideas to meet the standard that will achieve consumer satisfaction in building mutually rewarding customer relationships. Whether you are offering a product or a service the primary goal of marketing in this century is to build a solid foundation of value perception in the consumer mind that triggers belief in your offer and a desire for value exchange and then ultimately fulfilling longterm customer satisfaction in a purchase.
If a business was truly customer driven it would stand in a customer's shoes to constantly monitor what the customer thinks in order to consistently create and deliver genuine value for the customer. If you focus on what customers truly need and want by providing value that exceeds their expectations there will be no obstacle to developing business with extraordinary growth. The entire future of your marketing success relies on managing a fulfilling customer satisfaction relationship. More than whatever product or service you offer the most profitable marketer provides an exceptional customer experience.
While marketing is now truly about the consumer experience process from product concept to consumer aftercare programs that prevail beyond the transaction, the focus of my work is in Marketing Communications. What does the consumer perceive about your company, product, or service, from first introduction to ongoing satisfaction?
The most important aspect is consistency of truth. If you present everything consistently and then fulfill your words the consumer will not only be sold but forever impressed. Forever impressed, is the development of a constant walking-talking-profound-personal-experience-testimony advertisement that powers all future business more effectively than any other campaign. All you have to do is effectively say what you mean... and mean what you say! By following communication with actions that exceed consumer expectations you will impress every consumer with a personal satisfaction experience.
When you do this successfully, there is no competitor that will not be daunted with the burden of trying to just stay in your race. However, Marketing Communication is worthless without actionable commitment to toward consumer satisfaction experience.
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