Analysis: JUSTIN CHICHELEKO
A LOT of companies put pressure on their marketing and sales teams to ensure that they contribute to revenue generation and profit realisation through their marketing activities.
It goes without saying that the burden of ensuring that money flows into the organisation for it to stay afloat, rests on the shoulders of the two teams.
It is imperative to note that in some organisations, marketing is just an activity that is performed in one of the functions of the organisation, while in other organisations it is a philosophy that guides all the decisions that are made for the good of the organisation as a whole.
In a market-oriented organisation, the focus is on satisfying customer needs by coordinating the efforts of all the functions in order to satisfy the needs of the customer.
Effectiveness, according to Peter Drucker, is “doing the right thing”. In the case of marketing, it would mean that marketing achieves its marketing objectives and subsequently contributes to the attainment of organisational objectives. For the senior management of an organisation, this will have to be achieved on a consistent basis with more demands being placed on marketing and sales.
An effective marketing department requires that an organisation and its products are correctly positioned. Positioning, according to Philip Kotler, is the placing of a brand in the minds of the consumers so that it occupies a distinct place. This is mainly achieved using marketing communications. Correct positioning can help an organisation to be more effective in their marketing activities.
Prerequisites for effective marketing
For positioning to be successful and sustainable, which leads to effective marketing, three conditions should exist which are an effective product, effective communication, and claims made for the product should be credible.
An organisation may have a very successful marketing communications campaign with an attempt to position itself and products in a particular way and may achieve some success for some time.
Overtime people may begin to lose faith in the product because they find that what was communicated is different from what customers are experiencing. This will affect the way people perceive this product and subsequently the sales generated by the organisation.
In such a case, marketing would be said to be ineffective.
A lesson for marketers is that there will always come a time that consumers become enlightened.
No matter what ‘gimmicks’ they may try to use, consumers will simply not budge. This usually happens in most organisations and when revenues begin to fall, it is interpreted as marketing and sales not being aggressive enough to increase sales.
This may be likened to the proverbial “flogging of a dead horse” which will not yield any positive results even when you increase your marketing budget.
‘Kaizen’ to remain effective
It is not a secret that if an organisation wants to be consistently performing well, they need to continuously improve. Kaizen is a Japanese term that means continuous improvement.
If there is no consistency in quality delivered, there is no way that marketers and sales people will be expected to perform well in terms of generating sales and improving the brand image. The service provided would have already done the damage.
A product offering that has achieved success in the past is not guaranteed the same success in the future.
There are a lot of companies that were pioneers in making certain products and achieved great success for many years.
They forgot that there were other organisations that envied their success and made it their objective to beat them at what they did. Brand names like Nokia phones, Siemens, Motorola and Blackberry come to mind.
The attributes that you positioned your organisation and its products on may become less important with time and will make your brand unattractive. Customers will not remain loyal to an organisation’s product when there are a lot of competitors that are offering much better quality.
The moment they can get something better, they will dump your organisation like a “hot brick”.
Some business executives tend to rely on an increase in promotional effort to increase sales, which may be interpreted as being effective marketing.
The problem with this approach is that it may be effective in the short term but is not sustainable. If the organisation’s offering is discovered to be inferior to the competitors’, consumers will dump the organisation for the competition.
Experienced marketers are obviously used to working under pressure to contribute to the profitability of the organisations they work for.
As much as senior management may have a lot of expectation from marketers, it is imperative that they understand that effective marketing is not only dependent on a good marketing campaigns but consistently providing quality products and services.
The author is a marketing practitioner and consultant.
Analysis: JUSTIN CHICHELEKO