What’s all the fuss about marketing? Does my business need it?

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Does my business really need to worry about marketing? The short answer is, YES!

Let’s dive into it deeper. The purpose of marketing is to understand customer needs and satisfy them– marketing is not just about advertising –  it incorporates market planning, consumer research, organisational strategy, strategic marketing, public relations, digital marketing, traditional advertising, creative design and sponsorships.

Almost all businesses exist to serve a purpose! All businesses have a product or service for either a consumer or another business. They are broadly classified as business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). Irrespective of the type of business, it is important to know your target market and position your product/service so that it appeals to your market.

This is where marketing comes in. You might be an expert in your core product or service. But if you don’t understand your customer, how can you position your company so it is perceived the way you want it to be? Marketing helps you understand your customers and the best way to engage and build relationships with them.

Using research based marketing and tactics, businesses can evolve from product-oriented, to marketing oriented.

What is marketing orientation?

Marketing is defined by HubSpot as “the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal customer’s interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.

The difference between having a marketing department and marketing orientation lies in the definitions.

Cambridge dictionary defines marketing orientation as “management of a company, product, brand, etc. so that it satisfies the needs of customers.”

A business can have a marketing department but still only be product oriented!!

When your business becomes marketing oriented, all departments focus on consumers and their needs. Businesses create products and services that satisfy these needs. Consumers are kept in the heart of your business strategy and all tactics revolve around your consumers.

In simpler terms, a business relies on consumer feedback and develops products based on the feedback rather than creating a product and establishing selling points based on the product’s features.

Marketing orientation office

Why does your business need to be marketing oriented?

Marketing orientation is a culture, where every decision is based on satisfying customer needs. A business needs to be marketing oriented as they can talk to the customers and understand what they want. This approach leads to supply based on demand . Through research, feedback and adaptations, you know your products will always be in demand.

Advantages of being marketing oriented

As well as the benefits touched on above, here are some other benefits of taking a marketing oriented approach to business.

  • Products and services are curated with a customer centric approach. By focusing on customers, you will create loyalty and drive business. A customer centric approach leads to higher market share.
  • Marketing oriented companies provide good customer experience. The image below by Stratford Managers Corporation explains the business benefits of a customer experience approach.
  • Marketing-orientation enables a business to understand who their users are, and who influences consumers’ buying decisions. With this insight, products can be targeted better.
  • When products and services are developed directly to cater to the influencer, it can help drive sales, referrals and word of mouth, and increased market share.
  • Marketing oriented businesses listen to customer feedback and tend to be more agile and respond well to changing environments and consumer preferences.
Reasons for marketing orientation

Disadvantages of marketing orientation

  • When businesses become solely focused on being marketing-oriented, they can lose sight of other business priorities. Here are some considerations to keep in mind. When a company focusses all their resources on being marketing oriented, they lose track of product innovation.
  • Consumer preferences are constantly changing, and a marketing-oriented business must always adapt and change their internal processes to keep up.
  • Research is a big part of marketing orientation and it comes at the expense of time, money and other resources.

How to be marketing oriented

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of marketing orientation, businesses need to find the right balance between of marketing orientation and product orientation.

An example of a business that has a good balance of marketing and product orientation is McDonalds. Their primary product is fast food – fries and burgers. But, have a look at their products around the world, which are develop based on consumer needs: –

Example of marketing orientation in India
McDonalds in India has more vegetarian options
Example of marketing orientation in Canada
Canada has Poutine
Example of marketing orientation in NYC
NYC gets a bagel burger

If they had taken a pure product orientation approach, all branches around the world would have had the same menu and they would have failed!

Marketing orientation is a strategy. Consider all touchpoints and map your customer journey. Understand your consumer and how they access consumer information.

Most businesses find it challenging to cover all aspects of marketing orientation, as they are experts at their core product or service. Marketing orientation is a dynamic and ever-changing area and it is important to have a team of experts who specialise in this field.

Small and medium businesses need to focus on their core competencies, so it makes sense to outsource their marketing to a marketing agency. This allows businesses to continue to do what they do best, while at the same time focus on marketing orientation.

Leading marketing agency in NZ

If you are a business based in the Waikato and want to adopt a mix of marketing orientation and product orientation, here’s a list of top marketing agencies here in the Waikato.