It is almost impossible for most business people to describe what makes great marketing, even though they are surrounded by marketing all the time. This is because one only knows it when one sees the results. The results are very easy to understand they are: great product, great price (literally), great sales, great profit and most importantly great customer satisfaction. To acheive these results the two basic elements are needed: the alignment of products to customers real requirements; and the effective communication of this alignment to customers in terms of what value it brings to them. The combination of these two things is what we call the ” Customer Strategy”. Creating a Customer Strategy, or something similar sounds simple, but this is what a vast majority of companies avoid doing or get fundamentally wrong.
Firstly, there is little attempt to align products to customer’s real requirements. It is normally a case of “this is what we can do, so this is what we will sell”, or “we have always made it like this and no one has told us any different”.
Secondly, there is little attempt to communicate what real value they bring to their customers, in fact most businesses are too concerned with selling “stuff” and have no concept of what providing value really means.
Unfortunately, for most businesses the usual urgent tasks and operational emergencies consume the energy and attention of the marketing team and wider management team. Ironically this means little thought is paid to the fundamental elements of the business and this inevitably leads to average rather than great business performance.
The best way to address this is to adopt a Value Based Marketing (VBM) approach to product design, brand design, communications, advertising and promotion. A VBM approach concentrates on the strategic management of value, for both the customer and company, in order to maximise business growth and shareholder value. The two main considerations of VBM are: product design and development to optimise customer value and; knowledge transfer of this value in advertising, promotions and communications.
To read more about our approach and opinion on all things marketing related please see our company blog.