“We don’t have the time or the budget” is often a client’s response when I ask why they are not market orientated. Our job as marketers and brand management professionals, is to represent the ‘voice of the customer’ within the business, even for micro or small businesses.
Market orientation is about understanding your customer and requires a 180-degree perspective of how they see your brand, not how you see them. Marketers must be disciplined and get themselves out of the office to talk with, or observe customers, ensuring they 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 to competitor preferences, barriers to purchase to acquisition journey stages, perceptions of value to media channel consumption and more.
Evidence demonstrates that those businesses who stay market oriented, typically enjoy higher profitability, faster sales growth, and greater brand loyalty. So, finding methods for engaging with customers and prospects, should be an essential part of your ongoing marketing process, as should creating the environment where the insights you gather, can directly mitigate risk, and accelerate marketing effectiveness.
Unfortunately, it’s common place within many brands, for marketers and SLT members to instinctively ‘think’ they know what their customers feel about their brands, their wants or needs, which inevitably opens the gate for individual bias and assumption. So here are a few cost-effective methods to help you become market orientated.
Conduct 1-2-1 calls or home visits with customers and loyalists.
Conduct 1-2-1 calls or virtual sessions with non-buyers and prospects.
Conduct product and/or service sampling.
Set up quarterly several customer reviews panels for testing.
Accompany sales team members on pitches.
Regular e-surveys and after sales surveys or polls.
Engage front-line staff who interact with customers daily.
Observe and engage with customers in your sales environment.
Gather anecdotal insights during networking events or exhibitions.
Marketing Lab is a brand management and marketing consultancy working with regional, national, and international businesses to mitigate marketing investment risk, ensuring more informed decisions are made with a view to improving sales and profitability, growing market share, and building brand equity. Request a FREE 30-minute brand management consultation.