Ask any businessperson what marketing is about and they’ll answer with clichés about satisfying customer needs or “world class” service. Eventually they’ll get around to the 4 Ps, advertising, USPs, viral and social marketing, and a plethora of brand distinctions like: brand promise, brand identity, brand image, brand religion, brand essence, brand personality, and on and on.
If leaders would get back to the basics and understand marketing for what it really is - helping customers choose you through the quality and creativity of your entire organization’s actions; actions that improve customers' lives - they'd invest money more wisely, behave quite differently, and get much better results.
Leaders seem paralyzed by these challenging times. Don't be. Change your perception - your outlook - and execution and results will follow naturally. This may sound simple but it requires intense curiosity about how people live, as well as what, how, and why they choose what they choose; their “feelings.”
It also requires the intellectual ability and persuasive and diplomatic skills to get it adopted, embraced, and institutionalized. Especially in large organizations, where getting scores of employees to change their basic assumptions about their company is no small task.
Everyone in your organization should be constantly aware of who its customers are, what those customers desire (what they consider "value"), and how each person adds said value to the customer's experience in a way that generates the kind of engagement and results that the organization wants to achieve.
So why are you continuing on the same old path, albeit leaner and much more aggressively? Are you simply waiting for the good times to return? Let me break the news to you: They're not coming back. Ever. If you want them, you'll have to create them.
But first, make sure you understand what's going on around you. Trust me; it's not what you think. As Alfred North Whitehead made clear, “Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.” And, I'd add, the death of brands.
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