Finance, operations, accounting, and other business functions won’t really matter without sufficient demand for products and services so the firm can make a profit. In other words, there must be a top line for there to be a bottom line. Thus, financial success often depends on marketing ability. Marketing’s value extends to society as a whole. It has helped introduce new or enhanced products that ease or enrich people’s lives. Successful marketing builds demand for products and services, which, in turn, creates jobs. By contributing to the bottom line, successful marketing also allows firms to more fully engage in socially responsible activities.2
1. MARKETING DECISION MAKING
CEOs recognize that marketing builds strong brands and a loyal customer base, intangible assets that contribute heavily to the value of a firm.3 Many firms, even service and nonprofit, now have a chief marketing officer (CMO) to put marketing on a more equal footing with other C-level executives such as the chief financial officer (CFO) or chief information officer (CIO).4
In an Internet-fueled environment where consumers, competition, technology, and economic forces change rapidly and consequences quickly multiply, marketers must choose features, prices, and markets and decide how much to spend on advertising, sales, and online and mobile marketing. Meanwhile, the economic downturn that began globally in 2008 and the sluggish recovery since have brought budget cuts and intense pressure to make every marketing dollar count.
There is little margin for error in marketing. Just a short time ago, MySpace, Yahoo!, Blockbuster, and Barnes & Noble were admired leaders in their industries. What a difference a few years can make! Each of these brands has been completely overtaken by an upstart challenger—Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Amazon—and they now struggle, sometimes unsuccessfully, for mere survival. Firms must constantly move forward. At greatest risk are those that fail to carefully monitor their customers and competitors, continuously improve their value offerings and marketing strategies, or satisfy their employees, stockholders, suppliers, and channel partners in the process.
2. WINNING MARKETING
Skillful marketing is a never-ending pursuit, but some businesses are adapting and thriving in these changing times. Consider American Express. 5
Other top marketers are following suit. Using a Web-only campaign, BMW claimed a $110 million revenue gain for its 1-series. More than 3 million people saw a five-video teaser campaign, and 20,000 gave their contact details. BMW also targeted influential bloggers and used feedback from social media as input to styling and sales forecasts.6
Even business-to-business firms are getting into the action. Corning has struggled transcending its reputation as sellers of Pyrex cookware—a business it sold more than a decade ago—to its current status as makers of highly engineered specialty glass and ceramic products. To expand the vision on Wall Street as a company with a rich portfolio, Corning created a YouTube video, “A Day Made of Glass . . . Made Possible by Corning.” Unconventionally long but beautifully put together, within three weeks it attracted more than a million views. Much of the social conversation it created revolved around themes of glass, product toughness, and hope for the future—exactly what Corning wanted.
Source: Kotler Philip T., Keller Kevin Lane (2015), Marketing Management, Pearson; 15th Edition.
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