Marketing: A Key to Long-Term Success
In his book, It's not Rocket Science, Mitch Gooze points out the considerable differences between sales and marketing. His goal is to help companies build their sustainable competitive advantages over time so the companies will survive and prosper. In so doing, he emphasizes the importance of marketing for all companies. Example: In Cincinnati in 1837, there were 18 companies that made soap and candles. One survived: Procter & Gamble. Why? Because they followed a course of action that differentiated themselves from the others. They developed sustainable competitive advantages which brought the public to buy P & G products, like Ivory Soap. Ivory Soap was a good product, but a good product without the sustained effort of building an effective image would not/will not sell as well as one that has the image in the market place. Ivory was differentiated by the ad campaign we have all seen: "99 and 44/100% pure. And it floats." Those two slogans helped build P & G into a giant. They gave the company an image of quality and an image of innovation.
Image can be made up of small things, not just large, expensive ones. Example: One paper boy noticed that a lot of people would cross the street to purchase a paper from him, when there were other paper vendors more conveniently located. One day he asked one woman why she bought from him instead of the others, and she answered, "Because you always say 'Thank you."
What is marketing? Peter Drucker, the guru of modern business management, has described marketing as much broader than selling, that it encompasses the entire business as seen from the customer's point of view.
To envision your company from your customer's point of view, you need to take a huge step outside of your four walls and put yourself in your customer's place. This is definitely not an easy task, because you are faced with myriad challenges. You have competitors who want to court and woo away your best customers. You have new technologies, new products or services coming on the market every day. You have competitors who want to enter your market place that have never been in it before today. You have changing personnel at your customers businesses who may have relationships with other suppliers. All of these challenges, and more, await you when you seek to look at yourself from the outside. But, to be more effective in the market place, you really need to gain the perspective that this will provide for you.
Marketing is really the process of helping others to perceive value in what you do for them. The challenge is to persuade your customers and potential customers that you really do provide value in what you do for them.
In marketing, one must take the long view. We need to build up our image, our reputation, a perceived value we bring to each transaction over time, so that it will be sustainable over time. Example: Johnson & Johnson. A number of years ago Johnson & Johnson made a commitment to their market places that they would behave according to a predetermined set of values. They codified this in their Mission Statement. When they were subjected to the brutal attacks on their credibility with people lacing their product Tylenol with arsenic, they acted upon those stated values, pulled all of the product off the shelves, instituted new safety procedures, and when they reintroduced the same product in safe packaging, the public rewarded them with confidence in the product and reliance on the integrity of the company.
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