Focus on Customers: The “Marketing Orientation”
The purpose of marketing is to gain a balance between creating more value for customers against making profits for the organization. To achieve this, many firms have adopted a marketing philosophy or what is generally termed a “marketing orientation.”
A marketing orientation can be defined as focusing the organization on identifying and understanding the customers’ preferences in terms of needs and wants and delivering them more effectively and efficiently than their competitors.
Prior to the adoption of a marketing orientation, many organizations followed what was referred to as the “production philosophy.” This approach focused on improving the efficiency of production and distribution in order to reduce costs and deliver more affordable products—both were considered the source of competitive advantage.
Another philosophy that has been followed historically is the “selling concept.” This approach required organizations to aggressively focus on selling and promotion efforts as a way to stimulate demand and drive sales.
A marketing-driven approach, or marketing orientation, has consistently delivered superior results over these other philosophies. Adopting a marketing orientation is now widely accepted as delivering greater levels of customer satisfaction, profitability, and sustainability.
As an example, Toyota, with its strategy of manufacturing cars for different segments of populations around the world, maintains a balance between customer value and profitability. With the marketing philosophy in mind, it has replaced its original goal of 10% of the world’s market share with being “Number one in customer satisfaction,” as it believes its market share will follow the satisfaction it delivers to its customers.