When startup founders or the CEOs of small or medium-sized companies talk about marketing, statements like these are frequently made:
These sentences show one thing very clearly: marketing is unfortunately far too often misunderstood and, accordingly, misapplied.
Many people – even seasoned business professionals – think of the term “marketing” as synonymous with “advertising”. Placing ads in the daily newspaper, booking Facebook ads or implementing a TV campaign: that’s what the marketing manager takes care of. His or her job? To make a company or a product as well known as possible. And with colorful images and loud sounds. He is considered the market shouter who is supposed to seduce people.
Admittedly: This image is not wrong, but also not right!
Marketing consists of many disciplines and activities. Creating great advertising campaigns and placing ads is only 10% or less of the actual marketing job – if it is done right
This is a question best answered by the German ‘marketing pope’ Heribert Meffert. Meffert was one of the first professors to deal intensively with marketing, lecturing and writing about it.
He explains what marketing is, among other things, like this:
These two sentences contain many important statements. They indicate: Marketing is much, much more than just placing ads or running advertising campaigns. Instead, marketing is the central element of every business! It is part of the DNA of a business, whether small or large.
The marketing mix, which is over 60 years old, illustrates just how much marketing is part of the core of a company. It classically consists of four “P’s”. These stand for:
What is meant by this is nicely summarized in this graphic:
Besides, the 7C Compass Model has been established. It includes, among other things, the elements of the 4P and supplements them with aspects such as purchase prices (Costs) and environment (Circumstances).
4P, 6P, 7C or 10P: Regardless of which model is used, it always shows what Meffert said in his first sentence:
“Marketing is the planning, coordination and control of all corporate activities directed at current and potential markets”
Properly implemented, marketing intervenes in and integrates with various areas of a company. Those responsible support, for example, product development, business development, HR and recruiting activities, and sales with their knowledge and activities. This creates a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary field of activity.
When marketing is practiced according to theory, there are no silos. However, everyday life in many companies looks quite different: The programmers spend years quietly developing new software, the HR colleagues have external agencies design some kind of campaign, the sales people don’t talk to the marketing colleagues. And the support staff know the product, but not the current marketing and sales measures.
Everyone works for themselves. There is no exchange whatsoever. Neither verbally, nor in terms of customer data. A common CRM for all – long live the individual stand-alone solutions of the various departments! A tragedy.
A company can only exist as long as its products or services are used by its customers. Without customers, there is no revenue. And without sales, there is no company.
Meffert said in this regard in his second sentence of the quote:
“Through a lasting satisfaction of customer needs, the company’s goals are to be realized.”
Satisfying customer needs is achieved through customer centricity. Customer centricity is not a trivial marketing buzzword, but rather the essence of business. Focusing on what the customer wants has to be the top priority. Only by knowing what the customer wants can a company provide him with the appropriate offers.
Marketing must be involved at all stages. It has to understand from A to Z how the customer “ticks”. From this, it is possible to derive what the overall, customer-centric strategy should look like.
This includes clarifying important questions, for example:
The further the development of a product (or service) progresses, the more important questions arise. The best solution for the customer must emerge from all of them.
Once the questions have been answered, a strategy drawn up, goals agreed upon and measures implemented, the race for the customer is just beginning. As the saying goes: after the game is before the game.
The Customer Experience does not end when a contract is signed. Aftersales is about turning new customers into loyal customers. How do you do that? With a customer-focused marketing strategy, in which various departments must work hand in hand. For example, support with sales, sales with marketing, and marketing with product development.
“Marketing, we don’t need that!”, “Marketing? That’s much too expensive!”, “What does our marketing strategy look like? No idea, that’s the colleague’s job”: The quotes mentioned at the beginning show – unfortunately – a wrong perspective on the topic of marketing.
There’ s no such thing as a company without marketing! Product development, sales, support, recruiting, PR: every department uses elements of marketing, even if the players may not be aware of it. Marketing is omnipresent.
“First we develop our product, then we quickly take care of marketing” – I consider this statement fatal. If marketing is involved too late, too briefly or not comprehensively in the most important business processes, it acts (almost) blindly. Or it has to market a product that has been developed without taking into account the market and its customers. In both cases, the results are sobering or even catastrophic.
To prevent this from happening, companies should think about the marketing mix. And thereby incorporate marketing firmly into their heritage.
Jürgen Kroder is a marketing strategy consultant for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.
He analyzes marketing activities, writes optimization concepts and supports his clients in implementation with a strong hands-on mentality.
In addition, Jürgen writes as an expert author on the topics of digitalization, start-ups and marketing. He can be reached at www.juergenkroder.com .
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