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Business Begins with Marketing

In a previous blog post, we discussed how customers research habits before purchasing and customer expectation in the digital economy have changed. In this post, I make the proposition that all business begins with marketing.

If the way a customer buys has changed, businesses must evolve the way they sell to the customer.

Selling as a function in a profit-driven business takes direction from marketing. So, since selling has changed, it follows that marketing must have changed as well. And the fact is, it has.

The radically changed customer landscape over the past several years has also changed the role of the marketer.

Traditionally, marketing oversaw promoting the company’s brand to prospects in the form of print, radio and television advertising as well as through events such as tradeshows, conferences and customer networking sessions.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) comprised of broad-based measurements such as the number of inquiries answered, potential reach promised by media outlets and surveys conducted on brand awareness.

Today, marketing covers both traditional and digital channels and is increasingly being held accountable for additional quantitative metrics such as pipeline, revenue, renewal, upsell, cross-sell, customer engagement, and advocacy.

As a result, marketing has become much more tied to a company’s top line. What used to be considered a cost centre has now become a profit centre.

Business Begins with Marketing | Evolve & Adapt

MARKETING AS A KEY FUNCTION IN AN ORGANIZATION

Marketing is now a key function in a company. That is why the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is one of the most important positions in a company after the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

While traditional business management teaching distinguishes between business strategy and marketing strategy, I, like many, hold the view that business strategy is deeply intertwined with marketing.

The view is based on what I define as marketing and the scope it covers, as a strategic marketing consultant.

Even now, some still think that the role of the marketer is to be in charge of advertising and promotion. However, while that may have been the case in the past when we were in a mass marketing business landscape, everything is different today.

Marketing is much more. It is the deep psychological understanding of customer needs, communicating with customers and continually innovating to meet customers’ needs.

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment and media-saturated world, modern marketing encompasses understanding profitable market segments, identifying needs of a market, positioning the business and the strategic and tactical planning of communication & sales channels (traditional and digital).

Given the scope of marketing and the fact that it is a key profit driver for businesses, it is clear why marketing is the foundation of a modern business strategy.

Marketing begins with understanding what the market wants, creating value for the market, selling the value to the market, establishing the business as a value creator in the market and continuing the cyclical process as long as the company exists.

That is why all business strategy begins with marketing. Because, if you do not understand the customers and the market as a whole, it would be challenging to create products or services that people will value and want to pay for.

“Marketing strategy will impact every piece of your business, and it should be tied to every piece of your business.”

~ Brandon Andersen, Chief Strategist of Ceralytics

What do you think? Do you agree that all business begins with marketing?

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 11 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing and analytics. He is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse" and has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938 and Money FM 89.3.

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