Marketers must avoid taking shortcuts with market orientation.

Written by Carl West

Market orientation for brands

I recently started a consultancy job for an international client. On day one of the project, the client proudly presented me with some research findings which they referred to as ‘a goldmine of ideas’ to draw upon. Now don’t get me wrong, something is usually better than nothing, but if only they had given this piece of work the level of thought and planning it deserved, instead of cutting corners to hit self-imposed deadlines and an eagerness to pat themselves on the back for attempting to do the right things.

Our job as marketers is to represent the ‘voice of the customer’ within the business, and to recognise we are NOT the target market, and we bring our own bias and assumptions. Market orientation is about properly understanding your customer and demands a 180-degree perspective of how they see your brand, not how you see them, ensuring you put their thoughts and feelings at the heart of marketing decisions.

Don’t expect it to be all rosy in the garden either, you need a willingness to learn from your customers, warts, and all, as the range of insights you should be obtaining is extensive. From positive or negative brand associations, barriers to purchase, acquisition journey stages, perceptions of value to media channel consumption and more.

Businesses who continually invest in staying market oriented, typically enjoy higher profitability and faster sales growth, so, take the time to properly plan your methods for engaging with customers and prospects. To help you, here are a few tips on how to not cut corners with market orientation.

  • Think about staff, customers, brand loyalists and prospects as resources to tap into.
  • Plan your qualitative research first before quantitative - its quick, easy, and affordable.
  • Consider running product or service sampling and testing.
  • Set up customer reviews panels (focus groups) for various testing aspects.
  • Accompany sales teams on prospect calls or project pitches.
  • Where possible, observe and engage with customers in your sales environment.
  • Gather anecdotal but purposeful insights during events and exhibitions.
  • Run regular quantitative e-surveys, after sales satisfaction / NPS surveys.
  • Running a survey panel…always ask a pre-qualification question to ensure audience is relevant.
  • Planning a brand health tracking survey, always design across category, buyer and brand elements.

Need support, guidance or mentoring to get your brand strategy or marketing planning on the right track? Start by booking your FREE 30-minute consultation here Marketing Lab is a brand management consultancy working with regional, national, and international businesses to mitigate marketing investment risk, and to ensure more informed decisions are made for growing sales, market share, and brand equity.