assessing what existing or potential competitorsmight be intending to do tomorrow as well as whatthey are doing today.
Societal Marketing Orientation
One reason a market-oriented organization maychoose not to deliver the benefits sought by cus-tomers is that these benefits may not be good forindividuals or society.This philosophy,called a
societal marketing orientation
,states that an orga-nization exists not only to satisfy customer wantsand needs and to meet organizational objectives butalso to preserve or enhance individuals’ and society’slong-term best interests.Marketing products andcontainers that are less toxic than normal,are moredurable,contain reusable materials,or are made of recyclable materials is consistent with a societalmarketing orientation.For example,Duracell andEveready battery companies have reduced the levelsof mercury in their batteries and will eventually mar-ket mercury-free products.
Differences betweenSales and Market Orientations
The differences between sales and market ori-entations are substantial.
The two orientations canbe compared in terms of five characteristics: the orga-nization’s focus,the firm’s business,those to whomthe product is directed,the firm’s primary goal,andthe tools used to achieve those goals.
The Organization’s Focus
Personnel in sales-oriented firms tend to be “inwardlooking,”focusing on selling what the organizationmakes rather than making what the market wants.Many of the historic sources of competitive advan-tage—technology,innovation,economies of scale—allowed companies to focus their efforts internallyand prosper.Today,many successful firms derive theircompetitive advantage from an external,market-oriented focus.A market orientation has helped com-panies such as Dell,Wegmans,and Southwest Airlinesoutperform their competitors.These companies putcustomers at the center of their business in ways mostcompanies do poorly or not at all.7As with Streamline,a sales orientation has led tothe demise of many dot-com firms,including theDigital Entertainment Network and Urban Box Office.As one technology industry analyst put it,“no onehas ever gone to a Web site because they heard therewas great Java running.”8
• Achieving long-term goals for theorganization by satisfying customerwants and needs legally and responsibly
Firms that adopt andimplement the marketingconcept are said to be marketoriented.Achieving a
involves obtain-ing information about cus-tomers,competitors,andmarkets; examining theinformation from a total busi-ness perspective; determin-ing how to deliver superiorcustomer value; and imple-menting actions to providevalue to customers.Forexample,Coach interviews atleast 10,000 customers each year to keep track of perceptions of the brand.It also tests products in alimited number of stores six months before theproduct actually comes out.This helps the companyassess the final design and forecast demand.Coachalso works to establish and maintain rewarding rela-tionships with its customers.You can bring in yourCoach bag any time and have it repaired free for thenatural life of the bag.The company fixes 100,000each year.6Understanding your competitive arena andcompetitors’ strengths andweaknesses is a criticalcomponent of a market ori-entation.This includes
is the relationship between benefitsand the sacrifice necessary to obtain those benefits.Customer value is not simply a matter of high qual-ity.A high-quality product that is available only at ahigh price will not be perceived as a good value,norwill bare-bones service or low-quality goods sellingfor a low price.Instead,customers value goods andservices that are of the quality they expect and thatare sold at prices they are willing to pay.Value can beused to sell a Mercedes Benz as well as a $3 Tysonfrozen chicken dinner.The automobile industry illustrates the impor-tance of creating customer value.To penetrate thefiercely competitive luxury automobile market,Lexusadopted a customer-driven approach,with particularemphasis on service.Lexus stresses product qualitywith a standard of zero defects in manufacturing.Theservice quality goal is to treat each customer as onewould treat a guest in one’s home,to pursue the per-fect person-to-person relationship,and to strive toimprove continually.This pursuit has enabled Lexusto establish a clear quality image and capture a signif-icant share of the luxury car market.Marketers inter-ested in customer value:
Offer products that perform:
Thisis the bare minimum requirement.Consumers have lost patience withshoddy merchandise.•
Diane Hessan, CEO ofCommunispace in Watertown,Massachusetts, says that “selling is all aboutthe right to do business with someone. Putyourself in their shoes, and understand whatthe issues are. In today’s business environ-ment, the most critical element of any sale istrust. Ultimately, when someone says yes toyou, they are saying,‘I’m betting on whatthis person is telling me.’”9•
Avoid unrealistic pricing:
E-mar-keters are leveraging Internet technology to redefine how prices areset and negotiated. With lower costs, e-marketers can often offerlower prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. The enormouspopularity of auction sites such as eBay and Amazon.com and thecustomer-bid model used by Priceline and uBid illustrates that onlinecustomers are interested in bargain prices. Many are not willing topay a premium for the convenience of examining the merchandiseand taking it home with them.•
Give the buyer facts:
Today’s sophisticated consumerwants informative advertising and knowledgeable salespeople.Web sites that don’t provide enough information are among thetop ten things that irk Internet shoppers most.•
Offer organization-wide commitment in serviceand after-sales support:
People fly Southwest Airlinesbecause the airline offers superiorvalue. Although passengers do notget assigned seats or meals (justpeanuts or crackers) when theyuse the airline, its service is reli-able and friendly and costs lessthan most major airlines. AllSouthwest employees are involvedin the effort to satisfy customers.Pilots tend to the boarding gatewhen their help is needed, andticket agents help move luggage.
is the customer’s evaluationof a good or service in terms of whether that good orservice has met the customer’s needs and expecta-tions.Failure to meet needs and expectations resultsin dissatisfaction with the good or service.10Keeping current customers satisfied is just as impor-tant as attracting new ones and a lot less expensive.One study showed that reducing customer attritionby just 5 to 10 percent could increase annual profitsby as much as 75 percent.11Firms that have a repu-tation for delivering high levels of customer satisfac-tion do things differently from their competitors.Top management is obsessedwith customer satisfaction,and employees throughout theorganization understand thelink between their job and sat-isfied customers.The culture of the organization is to focus ondelighting customers ratherthan on selling products.Nordstrom’s impeccable rep-utation for customer servicecomes not from its executives orits marketing team,but fromthe customers themselves.Theretail giant is willing to takerisks,do unusual and often expensive favors for shop-pers,and reportedly even accept returns on items noteven purchased there.But big risks often yield biggains.People tell their friends that a company is doingcrazy things for its customers,and the words spreads.Pretty soon this word of mouth,or viral marketing,lures new people to the store—even people who haveno idea what’s inside want to experience what it’s liketo shop there.12
Attracting new customers to a business is only thebeginning.The best companies view new-customerattraction as the launching point for developing and
An Overview of Marketing
The World of Marketing
Marketers interestedin customer value:
Offer products that performEarn trustAvoid unrealistic pricingGive the buyer factsOffer organization-wide commitmentin service and after-sales support
a philosophy thatassumes that a saledoes not depend on anaggressive sales forcebut rather on a cus-tomer’s decision to pur-chase product. It issynonymous with themarketing concept
the idea that an organi-zation exists not only tosatisfy customer wantsand needs and to meetorganizational objec-tives but also to pre-serve or enhanceindividuals’ and soci-ety’s long-term bestinterests
the relationship betweenbenefits and the sacrificenecessary to obtain thosebenefits
customer’s evaluation ofa good or service interms of whether it hasmet their needs andexpectations
C O U R T E S Y O F T H E A D V E R T I S I N G A R C H I V E S
Keeping current customers satisfied is just as importantas attracting new onesand a lot less expensive.