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Problem or solution

Marketing may be a problem for dealers rather than part of the solution, says industry consultant Brian Taylor.

He believes the real meaning of marketing has become blurred. Many companies now see its prime role as increasing efficiency in the supply/demand chain, ignoring its important role of providing measured guidance for innovation and creativity.

“Primary marketing techniques just give clues as to what satisfies customers. They provide measured guidance about customers’ expectations and needs, but without creativity and innovation they do not provide answers or any competitive edge.”

Taylor urges managing directors to head a business development group away from main board meetings, involving their heads of sales, marketing, HR and accounts.

“Companies driven by accountants will survive short-term, but are unlikely to grow or be creative. Companies that do not grow are unlikely to survive in the long-term, so managing directors must embrace marketing and steer finance and sales on a common course. Marketing has to come from the top as a total concept and permeate all parts of the business,” Taylor adds.

He believes successful businesses are marketing-guided, not marketing-led.

“Someone has to invent a new product or service and provide the enthusiasm to steer it through. Creativity and innovation are not the natural results of using marketing techniques, but they can only breathe in a marketing-guided culture.

“Many marketing departments are simply customer manipulators, raping them for short-term gains with little thought given to the long-term benefits to be gained.”

Taylor argues that many marketers are taking the easy way out, rather than questioning why customers say they want a particular product or service.

“The product or service is at the heart of success, which is usually down to an individual. But it’s vital that people, products and systems are in place to deliver the visionary’s promise. Marketers must be the guardians of the promise they have created.”

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