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This example illustrates what Niraj Dawar, of the Havard Business Review, meant in his article on effective marketing strategies. According to Dawar, downstream activities—such as delivering a product for specific consumption circumstances—are increasingly the reason customers choose one brand over another and provide the basis for customer loyalty.
Yet, business strategy continues to be driven by the ghost of the Industrial Revolution, long after the factories that used to be the primary sources of competitive advantage have been shuttered and off-shored.
The strategic question that drives business today is not “What else can we make?” but “What else can we do for our customers?” Customers and the market—not the factory or the product—now stand at the core of the business.
Let’s consider more closely how companies can use downstream activities to overturn traditional strategy.
In their quest for upstream competitive advantage, companies scramble to build unique assets or capabilities and then construct a wall to prevent them from leaking out to competitors. Downstream competitive advantage, in contrast, resides outside the company—it is the external linkage with customers, channel partners, and strategic alliances. It is no secret that today, in many industries, the activities such as sourcing, production and logistics are being handled by outsourced companies, while subsequent efforts to reduce the costs and risks of customers are becoming sources of competitive advantage and the true source of value for the company.
Faced with the challenge of promoting the Chamber and its events, this committee meets monthly to provide input and assist with marketing tasks. I am the ChamberWe love working with the Chamber because their programs go hand-in-hand with our goals. Ia€™ll briefly review each step in turn: Understand Your Customer Develop a clear picture of your target customer using market research and analysis.
Click here to get the 7-Step Marketing Toolkit, which will help you easily develop an effective marketing plan for 2016! Download our Marketing Strategy eBook - an easy 7-step marketing strategy program to drive business results. Anderson will give you better marketing performance and a superior ROI—today and tomorrow—with our scientific insights into customer behavior and your marketplace, our keen instincts, plus our disciplined, battle-tested thought process. Scott calls the shots at our Agency Services unit, and has been the prime mover behind literally hundreds of programs serving some of the world’s leading brands. When you consider the functional areas of businessa€”accounting, finance, management, marketing, and operationsa€”marketing is the one you probably know the most about. If everyone is responsible for marketing, can the average organization do without an official marketing department? At the same time, you need to achieve organizational goals, such as profitability and growth. The marketing concept puts the customer first: as your most important goal, satisfying the customer must be the goal of everyone in the organization.
Declaring that you intend to develop products that satisfy customers and that everyone in your organization will focus on customers is easy. Wea€™ll use FigureA 9.3, a€?Marketing Strategya€? as a blueprint for our discussion of target-market selection, and wea€™ll analyze the concept of the marketing mix in more detail in the next major section of the chapter.
The next step in identifying a target market is to divide the entire market into smaller portions, or market segmentsmarket segmentGroup of potential customers with common characteristics that influence their buying decisions.a€”groups of potential customers with common characteristics that influence their buying decisions. Maybelline and Cover Girl use segmentation strategies to target their predominant consumers: women.
Demographic segmentationdemographic segmentationProcess of dividing the market into groups based on such variables as age and income. Geographic segmentationgeographic segmentationProcess of dividing a market according to such variables as climate, region, and population density.a€”dividing a market according to such variables as climate, region, and population density (urban, suburban, small-town, or rural)a€”is also quite common. Dividing consumers by such variables as attitude toward the product, user status, or usage rate is called behavioral segmentationbehavioral segmentationProcess of dividing consumers by behavioral variables, such as attitude toward the product, user status, or usage rate.. Some companies segment consumers according to user status, distinguishing among nonusers, potential users, first-time users, and regular users of a product. Psychographic segmentationpsychographic segmentationProcess of classifying consumers on the basis of individual lifestyles as reflected in peoplea€™s interests, activities, attitudes, and values. Typically, marketers determine target markets by combining, or a€?clustering,a€? segmenting criteria. Marketing is a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for improving customer relationships.
The philosophy of satisfying customersa€™ needs while meeting organizational profit goals is called the marketing concept and guides all of an organizationa€™s marketing activities.


To apply this approach, marketers need a marketing strategya€”a plan for doing two things: selecting a target market and then implementing strategies for creating, pricing, promoting, and distributing products that satisfy customersa€™ needs. A target market is a specific group of consumers who are particularly interested in a product, would have access to it, and are able to buy it. To identify this group, marketers first identify the overall market for the product (from the consumer market, the industrial market, or both). Then, they divide the market into market segmentsa€”groups of customers with common characteristics that influence their buying decisions.
If you were developing a marketing campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, what group of consumers would you target?
Companies are still organized around their production and their products, success is measured in terms of units moved, and organizational hopes are pinned on product pipelines. According to Dawar, “this new center of gravity demands a rethink of some long-standing pillars of strategy: First, the sources and focus of competitive advantage now lie outside the firm, and advantage is accumulative—rather than eroding over time as competitors catch up, it grows with experience and knowledge.
You can tell which of its activities a firm considers to be a source of competitive advantage by how well protected they are: If the company believes its edge lies in its production processes, then plant visits are strictly controlled. It is most often embedded in the processes for interacting with customers, in market research, and in customer behavior.
All marketing methods, both traditional and online media are addressed to further the mission of the Chamber, increase visibility of membership benefits, and host and promote all Chamber events. He’s known for pioneering the vertically integrated business model for a direct marketing agency, and refining media integration techniques long before it was the norm. After all, as a consumer and target of all sorts of advertising messages, youa€™ve been on the receiving end of marketing initiatives for most of your life.
Not necessarily: most organizations have marketing departments in which individuals are actively involved in some marketing-related activitya€”product design and development, pricing, promotion, sales, and distribution. This basic philosophya€”satisfying customer needs while meeting organizational goalsa€”is called the marketing conceptmarketing conceptBasic philosophy of satisfying customer needs while meeting organizational goals., and when ita€™s effectively applied, it guides all of an organizationa€™s marketing activities. But this doesna€™t mean that you ignore the bottom line; if you want to survive and grow, you need to make some profit.
It would be nice if everybody in the marketplace was interested in your product, but if you tried to sell it to everybody, youa€™d spread your resources too thin. First, they usually identify the overall market for their producta€”the individuals or organizations that need a product and are able to buy it. A farmer, for example, might sell blueberries to individuals on the consumer market and, on the industrial market, to bakeries that will use them to make muffins and pies. Climate is crucial for many products: try selling snow shovels in Hawaii or above-ground pools in Alaska. As exhilarating as urban life can be, for example, ita€™s a hassle to parallel park on crowded city streets.
Companies selling technology-based products might segment the market according to different levels of receptiveness to technology. Production-related activities are honed to maximize throughput, and managers who worship efficiency are promoted. If it believes that R&D sets it apart, security around its research labs is airtight and armies of lawyers protect its patents.
He’s helped create some of the industry’s most intelligent databases and closed-loop ROI reporting systems, too.
What you probably dona€™t appreciate, however, is the extent to which marketing focuses on providing value to the customer.
Ita€™s easy to see how the person who decides what movies to show is involved in marketing: he or she selects the product to be sold. As specialists in identifying and satisfying customer needs, members of the marketing department managea€”plan, organize, direct, and controla€”the organizationa€™s overall marketing efforts. What youa€™re looking for is the proper balance between the commitments to customer satisfaction and company survival. You need to identify a specific group of consumers who should be particularly interested in your product, who would have access to it, and who have the means to buy it. Age, for example, will be of interest to marketers who develop products for children, retailers who cater to teenagers, colleges that recruit students, and assisted-living facilities that promote services among the elderly.
Thus, Toyota engineers have developed a product especially for city dwellers (at least in Japan).


Credit-card companies use this approach when they offer promotional gifts to college students in order to induce them to get their first card.
However, that same consumer, finding herself in a park on a hot summer day, will gladly pay $2.00 dollars for a chilled can of Coke sold through a vending machine.
Downstream, it’s no longer about having the better product: Your focus is on the needs of customers and your position relative to their purchase criteria. And if it prizes its talent, you’ll find hip work spaces for employees, gourmet lunches, yoga studios, nap nooks, sabbaticals, and flexible work hours. According to the American Marketing Association, marketingmarketingSet of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for improving customer relationships. Ita€™s even easier to see how the person who puts ads in the newspaper works in marketing: he or she is in charge of advertisinga€”making people aware of the product and getting them to buy it.
Consider the case of Medtronic, a manufacturer of medical devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators. This group is your target markettarget marketSpecific group of customers who should be interested in your product, have access to it, and have the means to buy it., and youa€™ll aim your marketing efforts at its members.
The wedding industry, which markets goods and services to singles who will probably get married in the near future, is interested in trends in marital status.
The Japanese version of the Prius, Toyotaa€™s hybrid gas-electric car, can automatically parallel park itself. For each of these products, identify at least five segmentation characteristics that youa€™d use in developing a profile of your customers. That 700% price premium is attributable not to a better or different product but to a more convenient means of obtaining it. But what about the ticket seller and the person behind the counter who gets the popcorn and soda? The company boasts more than 50 percent of the market in cardiac devices and is considered the industry standard setter. Gender and ethnic background are important to TV networks in targeting different audiences. Because the Hummer can go off-road and performs well on rugged terrain, geography could also be a factor. Explain the segmentation category into which each characteristic fallsa€”demographic, geographic, behavioral, or psychographic. Third, the pace and evolution of markets are now driven by customers’ shifting purchase criteria rather than by improvements in products or technology” (Dawar, 2013). Everyone in the organization understands that defects are intolerable in products that are designed to keep people alive. Incomea€”a socioeconomic factora€”is clearly important: Hummers are expensive to buy, maintain, and run. Where ita€™s appropriate, be sure to include at least one characteristic from each category.
Thus, committing employees to the goal of zero defects is vital to both Medtronica€™s customer base and its bottom line.
If youa€™re selling yachts, youa€™ll want to find people with lots of money; so income is an important variable. If you prefer to sit on your couch and watch TV, you might show up on the radar screen of a TiVo provider.
As for psychographics, potential Hummer owners could be people who value prestige and the material rewards of success. Absolutely: the purpose of every job in the theater is satisfying customer needs, and as wea€™ve seen, identifying and satisfying customer needs is what marketing is all about. If youa€™re the publisher of Nurses magazine, you want to reach people in the nursing profession. If youa€™re compulsive or a risk taker, you might catch the attention of a gambling casino. If youa€™re thrifty and uncomfortable with debt, Citibank might want to issue you a debit card.



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