Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How much does your marketing department really show the love?

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but not for marketers.  We are about love all year long, right?

Maybe but maybe not:  your company strategy sets the stage for how much your customers want to feel your love….

Michael Tracy and Fred Wiersema wrote The Discipline of Market Leaders, a classic book on strategic choice.  In a nutshell they argue that great companies lead with one of three strategies:
  • Operational Efficiency – being the low cost provider and consequently being passionate about driving out all unnecessary costs from the business. Think Wal-Mart.
  • Innovation – differentiating from competitors by having the newest products and features. Think Apple.
  • Customer Intimacy – knowing your customer better than anyone else and helping him or her to feel special. Think Nordstrom.
No, you can't succeed if you completely fail at any one of these, but market leaders differentiate from their competition by the one they are absolutely best at. 

So where’s the love?

If your company strategy is based on Operational Efficiency, you may love to drive down cost, but your marketing strategy isn’t going to be about love, it’s going to be about surpassing expectations.  We don’t love Costco; we shop there to the extent we think their efficiencies drive down the cost of the products we want.  Focus your market research on finding those price points that best attract and retain customers.

If your company strategy is based on Innovation, you may love new ideas, but your marketing strategy is all about leveraging excitement.  We don’t really love Apple; we are excited about their capacity to deliver something new and different from what we had in the past.  Focus your market research on finding those features and user experiences that lead customers and prospects to say, “I gotta have that!”, or that drive them to tweet the world about how excited they are to use your product.

If your company strategy is based on Customer Intimacy, you may love knowing what makes your customer’s heart pound faster, and your marketing strategy is all about that.  We love providers who take the time to know what we really care about, who remember us by name, who don’t try to sell us products we think they should know we don’t want.  Focus your marketing strategy on what makes your customer feel special, feel pride in ownership, want to spend more time with at business and your employees. 

How does your marketing department tailor its approach to mirror your company strategy?

Marc Sokol is an organizational psychologist with an eye for how people and teams can be more effective, even in a dysfunctional company. He is part oM Squared Group, a data-driven marketing consultancy.   

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Samual said...

Thanks for sharing such a great blog. Building affiliate marketing strategies can help in developing an efficient affiliate marketing program.

Affiliate marketing

Marc Sokol said...

It's relatively easy to set forth a strategy for a business; it's far more challenging to align the entire business around that strategy. Marketing alignment with broader company strategy is why some companies outperform others.

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