The Journey to Market Orientation

The Journey to Market Orientation

Defining Market Orientation

True market orientation, alternatively known as customer orientation, ensures that everything you plan and do is in the best interests of the customers from whom you will receive most value as a business

By sensing changes and trends in your marketplace in terms of customer need, competitor activity, opportunities and threats, the market oriented company always has choices at its disposal

This continuous feed of information allows the market oriented company to turn the most relevant information into intelligence that steers decision making in ways that benefit both customers and the organisation itself

The continuous feed pushes into informing and guiding the people and processes in the business so that everything that happens and the people that make it happen are steered by what is most relevant and the highest priority factors

Everything is Market Focused

Market focus when it manifests itself in the business appears in the form of hearing the voice of the customer in everything you do from new product and service development, through sales to ongoing customer service

By clearly capturing and developing the fine detail behind each target customers’ profiles the market oriented business can live and breathe supporting what each priority customer profile is seeking from them

Not only does this make the outputs and business activity highly relevant but in itself it is a great motivator to those in the organisation who know that everything they are doing is truly making a difference to both the company and the customers they serve

Aligning People and Processes

Collecting information from the marketplace and turning it into intelligence is only helpful if the people and processes in the organisation are then aligned accordingly to deliver on both the promises the company makes but the subtle differences in needs of the various customer personas

Processes can be focused and prioritised, fine tuned and continuously improved to ensure that only things that add value are used and wastage and inefficiency is minimised

People in teams and departments can be aligned to deliver the most important elements of product and service that are perceived by the customer as adding best value. The more this is achieved the higher the price that can be charged and the greater the profitability

Marketing Resources

Resources are considered as people, time and budget and the market oriented company is able to prioritise all resource on activity and people delivering exactly what’s needed and nothing more

With careful alignment of resource to the necessary outputs inevitably some resource is freed up to be recycled into product, service and process innovation for continuous improvement leading to competitive advantage

Leadership and Managing Change

Managing people, processes and projects in a business is both more productive and enjoyable in a market oriented company because it is not just the opinion and whim of the manager that drives forward new initiatives it is the voice of the customer that they reflect internally that provides the objective view from which key decisions can be made

Risk averse companies can rest assured that management decisions are being made for the right reasons, market focused and potentially delivering the optimum return on investment

Tactical Marketing

Having aligned people, process, resource and management style to the needs of the customer and in the light of competitor activity, the tactical marketing plan in a market oriented company then focuses solely on communicating and engaging with target customers rather than the world in general

The business development process over a probably 1-2 year timeframe, of creating awareness, turning awareness into a paying customer, and then keeping that customer loyal and engaged, is more straightforward in a market oriented company because the deep understanding of the customers’ needs and behaviours drives the choreographed customer journey along which the business takes them

Strategic Marketing

Every element of the tactical marketing plan and campaigns will feed into and support the longer term, usually around 3 years, strategic marketing objectives

If a business notices that processes, projects, campaigns and products are not feeding value into the longer term strategic marketing goals then they are superfluous activities which should be stopped and resource reallocated to where value is truly being added

Corporate Objectives, Mission and Vision

Strategic Marketing over a 3 year period should support the longer term 5 year corporate objectives of the market oriented company

By linking those original marketplace insights to resources, people and processes, then driving all tactical activity to deliver customer value, ensuring all tactical activity supports strategic marketing objectives which in turn feed at least in part the achievement of the overall long term corporate objectives the market oriented company can create true and sustainable value for stakeholders

Each step in the process towards meeting the corporate objectives in this integrated way ensures the business continually strives towards the mission and eventually, in the future and with the full support and loyalty of the most profitable customers, realises the vision

Credits: The original article from which this was written was published by Neil Wilkins, Viper Marketing Limited with creative input and original thought from Hazel Miller, Tina Patel, Carmen Suarez Redondo and Richard Yates, 19 January 2013.