Ask most business people what ‘marketing’ means, and they’ll tell you it’s all about advertising and promotions and selling.
To a degree, they’re right. But to a greater degree they’re wrong.
You see, if you check the text books you’ll find that marketing is defined as ‘the process of planning and executing the production, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods and services’, or words to that effect.
The thing to note is that it’s all about the PRODUCTION, PRICING, PROMOTION and DISTRIBUTION of goods and services. In other words, it’s NOT just about selling and advertising. They’re just a small part of the ‘promotion’ part of the definition.
Good marketers understand this. They realise that in order to win the market, they must adjust ALL of those factors – their production, their pricing, their promotion AND their distribution systems – so that they perfectly suit the market.
The more business works on these factors, the richer they get. On the other hand, the less attention you pay to adjusting those factors so that they suit and even delight the customer … then the more they will punish you, by not being loyal, by not paying the price we want to charge, by not referring their friends and so forth.
So … take a fresh look at your business by looking at it through the eyes of the customer. Is your product, price, promotion and place REALLY suited to the market … or have you fallen into the trap of adjusting it to suit YOU? Worse still, have you fallen into the trap of just doing what everyone else is doing?
Not sure? Well, consider these questions…
Who decided on your hours of business? Did your customers have any input … or did YOU decide when you’d let customers deal with you?
What about your product range? Were customers involved, or did it come down to you choosing the products YOU preferred, or the supplier who offered the most generous terms?
What about your service levels? Are they what the customer really wants? Or have you simply adopted pretty much the same standards and systems as your competitors?
And what about your payment terms? And your product quality? And your business location? And your delivery systems? And everything else?
Remember: YOUR opinion about what the business should do … is irrelevant. Put bluntly, YOUR OPINION DOESN’T COUNT – because only the customer votes with their money.
What YOU think about your business is an ‘opinion’. What your customer thinks is a ‘judgement’.
So … why not get your customers involved in defining the shape and nature of your business? They might just have some suggestions on what you can do to improve – and when you make those improvements, you can pretty much be sure you’ll get their business.
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