Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Why marketing is essential to your company’s survival

To paraphrase an old maxim, “Change is constant.” We see it in our lives, we witness it within our communities, and we certainly face it every day at the work place. Companies that don’t embrace this truth run the risk of losing relevancy, market share, and the hearts and minds of their consumers. The enterprise that can effectively gauge trends and act on them has the clear upper hand; just ask Ford, Yahoo, or Palm the price of not adapting to market trends.

The marketing organization is in a unique place when it comes to shaping corporate strategy. It conducts the market research that helps determine product characteristics. It monitors the competition and pores over endless trade and industry journals. It has the structure and discipline to handle the insights gained from the sales force in the field. Marketing conducts the focus groups that are designed to flesh out the concerns, wants, and desires of their consumer base. These kinds of insights are invaluable. There is no better organization within the company to be manning the ‘crows nest’ to help the company steer clear of threats and challenges.

So marketing is in the cat bird’s seat when it comes to determining corporate strategy. What are some things it can to do to ensure that it gets its just due?

• Aggregate and effectively manage information- Make it a point to collect information. Make it a bigger point to organize your data in a manner that allows it to be easily sorted and accessed. There is a tremendous amount of gold that can be mined with a little bit of focused and structured data mining. Create an appropriate taxonomy that will allow you to easily search through everything ranging from point of sales (POS) data to the results from your latest email campaign.
• Invest in someone in a strategic capacity- Earnings pressure typically force most companies to become short sighted and cut back on concerted strategic efforts. While the short term results might not be affected it has a major detrimental impact on the company to be able to forecast events in the future. A smart company will have someone whose job it is to manage all market observations and to provide thoughtful recommendations based on these trends.
• Find ways to communicate with your customer- You need to have a meaningful and frequent relationship with customers. There are several traditional means to do this such as focus groups and telephone interviews. Technology also allows for many new forms of interactive or permission based marketing initiatives. Your most loyal customers will be flattered that you are considering their opinion and will often provide brilliant and frank opinions.
• Capitalize on your internet strategy- We live in a time where we are swimming in information. Chances are there plenty of chatrooms, blogs, and web communities that actively discuss your products relative to their competition. These sites are gold mines for determining what is taking place on a grass roots level. Don’t be afraid to aggressively obtain customer information and don’t be afraid to use that information in tailoring your marketing campaigns.