The Importance of Marketing

Financial success often depends on marketing ability. Finance, uperalions, accounting, and other business functions will not really matter if there is not sufficient demand for products and services so the company can make a profit. There imisi be a top line for there in he a bottom line. Many companies have now created a Chief Marketing Officer, nrCMO, position to put marketing on a more eijua! footing with other C-level executives such as ihe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer fCFO), Press releases from Organizations ofall kinds—from consumer goods makers to health care insurers and from non-profit organizations to industrial product manufacturers'—trumpet their latest marketing achievements and can be found oil their Web sites In the business press, countless articles are devoted to marketing strategies and tactics.

Marketing is tricky, however, and it has been the Achilles' heel of many formerly prosperous companies. Large, well-known businesses such as Sears, Levi's, General Motors. Kodak, and Xerox have confronted newly empowered customers and öew competitors, and have had to rethink their business models. Even market leaders such its Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Intel, anil Mike recognise that ihcy cannot afford 10 rela*, Jack Welch, GE's brilliant former CUO, repeatedly warned Iiis company: "Change or die."

Bui making the righi decisions is not always easy. Marketing managers must make major decisions such as what features to design tiuo a new product, what prices to offer Customers, where lo sell products, and how much lo spend on advertising or sales. I hey must also make more detailed decisions such as the exact wording or color Tor new packaging. (The "Marketing Memo: Marketers' Frequently Asked Questions" is a good checklist for the questions marketing managers ask, all of which we examine in tIiis book,) The companies at greatest risk are those that fail lo carefully mo nil or l heir customers and competitors and to continuously improve their value offerings. They take a short-term, sales-driven view of their business and ultimately, tliey fail to satisfy their stockholders, dieir employees, iheir suppliers, a rut their channel part tiers. Skillful marketing Is a never-ending pursuit,

DEFINING MARKETING FOR 2l£T CENTURY

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