January 31, 2020
Vital Elements of Marketing Orientation
“Who is the customer,” and “what do they want?” Boil all the jargon and these are the two most vital questions every marketer needs to answer. The process of finding the answers to these questions is called marketing orientation.
The point of this process is to develop a strategy that places the brand in a better position to find the right customers, connect with those customers, and meet their needs. Four vital elements of this process are identification, explanation, assimilation, and direction.
This is the step during which stakeholders within the business or brand identify and clearly define the challenge the brand is facing. Examples might include, shifting consumer tastes, changing trends, new competition, market confusion, growth problems, disconnection, or a host of other issues. These challenges should be informed by and filtered through company values and overarching goals.
Assumptions here can cause failure to launch. The answers to “what’s wrong” or “what are we facing” must be clear, solid, and backed by hard data. Otherwise, any subsequent action plans will be vague and less effective.
Once the challenge has been clearly defined, and a plan has been crafted to meet this challenge, it must be properly and accurately communicated to the rest of the team. Believe it or not, this is where many well-crafted, well-intentioned plans go off the rails. Poor or insufficient internal communication.
This stage isn’t just about getting everyone on the same page – though that’s part of it – a key goal here is to connect everyone on the team to the plan in a specific way. Give them something to work toward and for, as well as a goal that, when accomplished, they can be proud of. There is often a weeding out process implicit in this step. Some folks may not be interested in getting on board, and they may have to go, but if this is the direction the brand is going in, they need all hands rowing in the same direction.
That collective will to work towards the same goal is vital because the next stage – assimilation – will likely require some changes in protocols, responsibilities, and day-to-day work. Not change for the sake of change, but shifts to better implement or “assimilate” the new plan and goals into the work the brand is already doing.
Expect to do some training, create some reward or incentive structure, and open opportunities for people to shine. Expect some employees to surprise you while others will need some extra help or encouragement. There will likely be similar shifts with customer-facing operations as new or improved ways to connect, create value, and meet needs.
No marketing plan should ever be considered a “set it and forget it” exercise. Every operation will need review and maintenance. The need for course corrections will arise, so the ways and means of building momentum and keeping it going will require direction long after the launch. New people may need to be brought on, new ideas heard and tried, new information gathered, and new metrics measured. This will be an ongoing process.