The Importance of Being Market Oriented | RocketMill

The Importance of Being Market Oriented | RocketMill


I’m going to talk today about the importance
of being market-oriented. What we’re going to go through is:
• What is being market-oriented? What does it actually mean?
• How do you get there? • The challenges you might face along the
way • Your role as a marketer. Your very important
role as a marketer in this challenge • And then just talk through the winners
and the losers who have been in this space So, what is market-oriented? There’s a really
nice quote from Peter Drucker: “Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it
is not a specialised activity at all. It is the whole business, seen from the point of
view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view.”
Now, Peter Drucker isn’t actually a marketer, he’s a theorist from a management point of
view, so it’s really nice that he saw this at the end of the 20th Century as a really
key point with businesses. So, whereas in the end of last century, everyone was very
product-oriented or sales-oriented, actually this was seen as a new way of looking at things,
and flipping it around to think, how does the customer see us? What is the customer’s
point of view about our products? And to do this, it’s really about seeing it
from the eyes of the consumer and thinking, what do they think about our products? What
do they know? Know who your customer is. What do they want? What do they think? And how
are they spending their time, as well? Really getting under the bonnet of that.
Seth Godin as well: “Don’t find customers fuel products, find products fuel customers.”
So, making sure that everyone in the organisation has got that customer focus. That is the essential
element of being market-orientated. So, everyone in the business – and thinking about this
with your clients – everyone has got a really clear focus on who the ultimate customer is
and how they’re actually best placed to get to them.
So how do you get there? So, Mark Ritson explains this really nicely in terms of our first approach
as marketers to being truly market-orientated. And he talks about the humility of marketing,
which I absolutely love, as the start of the way that you market something.
Now, he has a theory – and I completely agree with this – when you work as a marketer,
you actually lose your sense as a customer. You actually don’t have the right anymore
to think I’m 100 per cent a customer, because you’re always going to have a bias. Even if
you are actually in the target market, you’re going to have a bias about things that they
do. You’re going to have an understanding that most customers won’t have. So, we need
to know as marketers that we know nothing. At the start of the process, we need to think
it’s a blank canvas and the greatest marketers will start there and know they they’ve got
to fill in the gaps. So, how do you do that? You need to start
thinking about the who, the where, the why, the what, the when, all of those things. You
need to dispel the myths of: “I’ve been in the industry long enough to know who my
customers are”. You need to completely dispel the idea that: “I can assume my customers
think this way”. The amount of times I have to stop myself – a lot of the times when
I’m starting to get client briefs, and I know that some of you guys do as well – in terms
of, when it is a product you that you have quite a lot of affinity with, your immediate
thought is: “Well, I’m that customer, I know what they’re going to like, I know the
adverts they’re going to like”. Well, you don’t. None of us do. So, it’s really important
to think, from the blank canvas, how do we get there?
How do you do that? So, obviously through research. Research, research and more research.
Obviously, there’s quantitative, qualitative. I’ve put ethnography up there as well. I think
it’s a really interesting way of researching. From a traditional point of view, this is
really getting into the culture of something. So, if you think about Dian Fossey, Gorillas
in the Mist, it’s really just getting into the understanding of how people are living
and breathing what they’re doing. If I translate that to what people are doing in retail, it
could actually be that you go out and actually spend time and work alongside the people that
are in your stores. Just to find out exactly what they’re doing, how they’re actually inter-reacting
with products in your stores. The other thing is taking away the idea and
the notion that potentially the most senior people in the client base will be the ones
that know your customer best. Sometimes, the person that actually is the leader will be
the least connected with the people that are actually your customers. So, you need to think
about this and it’s not usually the CEO. Who are they? Well, they’re usually the people
that are actually on the ground, the ones that are actually listening to what the customers
are saying. It’s really important to connect those two things, so one of the easiest ways
to actually get research is really just to talk to the customer service team and find
out, what are the customers actually asking for? What are the things they’re being challenged
with? What are the things they’re complaining about? From that, you’re going to get a really,
really good understanding of who the customer base is.
Another way to approach it, to be market-oriented, is really to think about embedding that test-and-learn
culture within your organisation. One of the main problems, I think, and why research gets
such a bad press, is because when a new concept comes up and a new brief, it’s a huge, huge
task to actually find the research for those customers against that brief. Now, the reason
for that is because the company hasn’t got that test-and-learn culture and is not constantly
thinking, what are our customers thinking and knowing? It means you’re starting from
the beginning every time. So, try to get that within your organisation, or when you’re talking
to your clients. Think, how can we get on-site user polls? How can we get this just embedded
so we’re always gaining data from the customers? Some of the challenges that people might face
around this. Time, first of all. People don’t put enough time into the research phase when
they’re starting off with any creative, any campaigns at all in marketing. People around
the business will think that it will take too much time to really understand the customer
and get that customer focus. If you think about the amount of time that it takes to
get that up front and then think how much time it takes to reverse a product once you’ve
launched it because you haven’t understood the customer, I think then you start to understand
how important it is to put that time in at the beginning.
Budget. This is another one for research. It’s the way that clients will automatically
think: “We haven’t got enough budget for that research, we’ve already got some dusty
old personas, we’re going to bring them out and we’re going to use them for this product
even though it’s slightly different”. It always amazes me that this is the response,
that there’s no budget to actually understand who your audience is, when there’s going to
be probably [£]100,000 just in terms of creative concepting to some of the agencies. Look at
the overall marketing budget, and think, from a rational point of view, take some of that
out so that you can do research up front and really know your customer.
Assumptions as well. So, this again, it’s people thinking that they already know who
that customer is. I mentioned dusty personas before. I’ve seen this many times where I’ve
gone to work with new clients and they’ll say: “Oh yeah, we know who our customers are
and we’ve got some personas,” when we these personas done? “Oh, they were done two years
ago and I’m sure that those people are exactly the same as they were two years ago”. Well
no, they’re not. People change, the products change, you’ve got to really dispel those
myths. And fear as well, I think this is the biggest
reasons that people don’t really get into the mindset of the consumer. I mean this is
a really scary place, right? You don’t know what that consumer is going to say. The consumer
could come back and say: “Well, I’m not actually really in agreement with that product that
you’ve come out with and that you spent a lot of time researching and innovating around.”
It might be that there’s so much data out there now that you can’t even start thinking
about how you’d start segmenting it and understanding exactly who that audience is based on the
data. As marketers, we need to kind of dispel the idea that there is this fear. The more
information that we have, the more knowledge we’ll have to make sure that it’s a really,
really solid marketing campaign. Our role as marketers within this, and it’s
a really important role, within clients it’s only the marketing team that will be marketing-oriented
usually. So, we really have to be the educators. We have to educate all teams on who the customer
is and make it a really clear focus. I’ve put there, provide a clear customer identity
as well. Some of the audience segments that you’ll see are quite ambiguous, they don’t
really describe who the customer is. Now, if you imagine a company with over 100 people
through the Chinese whispers effect, if you have a really ambiguous customer name and
then by the time it gets to the 100th person, it’s not actually going to make any sense.
Think about that when you’re coming up with ideas of who that customer is and you’ve kind
of got that final persona, think of something really, really rational that’s going to make
sense to everybody in the organisation. I’ve just put some winners and losers, Sam’s
already alluded to this already. We’ve all seen it, I think most people have seen this.
The McDonald’s. So, this is one of the recent adverts for McDonald’s. They went out with
obviously their usual product, so actually from a product point of view, nothing really
changed. But they went down the point of view of going for the brand purpose approach to
marketing. Now, the problem with this is they didn’t
understand what their customers would want because they went out, there was a huge backlash
and they’ve had to actually reverse that marketing campaign being out. So, the amount of money
that went into that marketing campaign and the creative, and they’ve literally had to
pull it. Obviously, quite an extreme but that can happen at any part of product launches.
The other one that I just wanted to point out was M&S. We’ve seen over recent years
M&S has lost its identity, hasn’t really known who its customer is. It’s actually gone so
wide marketing that it hasn’t really honed-in and understood what the customer really wants
from them. And that’s why they’ve had a big shift recently in the last year to get new
agencies in, so that they can really get a different set of a really clear audience segmentation.
The winners, this probably won’t surprise anyone. So, Amazon: “We seek to become Earth’s
most customer-centric company”. So, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, I think it’s kind
of fabled and it’s Urban Legend now, but it’s true that he, at conferences and at board
meetings, he actually leaves a chair empty and the point of that chair is that chair
is for the customer, because the most important voice in any room in Amazon’s meetings is
the voice of the customer. So, they go to that extent to say the customer is the focus
and that’s inherent around every part of the organisation at Amazon.
The other company that does it really, really well and they’ve loads of awards in the last
few years in terms of being market-oriented is Audi. Michael Renz there: “Only a company
that understands its customers can achieve lasting success with its brand and products”.
Really clear focus, everyone really understands who the final customer is that they’re trying
to market to, and I think it’s really clear from all of the messaging, all of the campaigns
that actually run for Audi as well. So that’s it. My key takeaways are:
• The importance of being market-oriented, so thinking from the eyes of the consumer
• Understanding the humility of marketing, so for us as marketers, it’s really important
to get rid of any assumptions, get rid of any ideas and pre-assertions in terms of who
the customer is. We’re able to actually do the research and because we’re good marketers,
we’re able to actually find the connections that are going to segment those audiences
but we don’t know what they are at the beginning • The power of knowing your customer, what
that can give you. It can give you efficiency, it can make sure that all your campaigns are
targeted in the right way. • Some of the challenges you might face
and obviously knowing how to overcome those challenges.
• And your important role as a marketer in this to make sure that everyone is customer
focused and we’re seeing it from the eyes of that customer
That’s it. Thank you.

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