Satisfying Your Customers
If you think that winning is about a strong social media presence, search engine optimization, content marketing and so on, you are wrong. Such things, however important, are merely tools, and who needs a hammer if there is no house to build? The same holds true about growth: Before you choose and apply your tools you need to make sure you have the fundamentals right. OK, so the fundamentals are about having the best products and/or lowest prices, right? Wrong again. What is truly fundamental to growth is to have a clear answer to the famous question, posed in 1960 by Harvard Business School’s Theodore Levitt::
“What business are you really in?”
- Theodore Levitt
Looks easy enough to answer? It’s not, because many of us suffer from what Levitt calls “marketing myopia”. He provides an example: Railroads were in decline because they were railroad-oriented instead of transportation-oriented; they were product-oriented instead of customer-oriented. They were not in decline because of cars, trucks, airplanes, and even telephones, but because of their own myopia. Do you, or your company, suffer from myopia as well? Or, to put it in another way: Do you realize that running a successful business is a customer-satisfying process, not a goods-producing process? That any business will do better if it concentrates on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products?
The Importance Of Meeting Customer Needs
Levitt takes it one step further:
"Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer"
- Theodore Levitt
So according to Levitt, selling focuses on the seller’s need to convert the product into cash whereas marketing is dedicated to the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product. Got it? Marketing – which is not to be confused with communication, advertising and promotion – is not only important; it is extremely important. And if you won’t take Levitt’s words for it, take a look at what professor Philip Kotler has to say about the evolution of the formula for winning. These concepts are often called the evolutionary stages of marketing development, with contemporary marketing practices being based on a combination of the last three concepts:
1) Production Concept
- Consumers will prefer products that are widely available and inexpensive
- Concentrate on achieving high production efficiency, low costs, and mass distribution
- Consumers favor products that offer most quality, performance and innovative features
- Make superior products and improve them over time
- Consumers, if left alone, won’t buy enough of the organization’s products
- Undertake an aggressive selling and promotion effort
4) Marketing concept
- Should be customer-centered instead of product-centered
- Do not try to find the right customers for your products; find the right products for your customers instead
5) The Societal concept
- Consumers favour those products, which protect their interest and social welfare.
- Marketer needs to make the organisation consumer-oriented and society-oriented for their long-term benefits.
Obviously, production must be smooth, and its important to provide your sales force with quality products. But what it really takes to win is to realize the importance of meeting customer needs and making your customers’ needs the focal point of your business, not your products. Don’t forget that no-one really needs a washing machine, they need clean clothes.
For further insight into how you can secure growth for your organization please download our free whitepaper. Mission to Mars is designed to take you from the highly competitive surroundings of Planet Earth to a more unique and profitable position on Planet Mars.