The Importance of Marketing
Financial success often depends on marketing ability. Finance, operations, 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 must be a top line for there to be a bottom line. Many companies have now created a Chief Marketing Officer, or CMO, position to put marketing on a more equal footing with other C-level executives such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Press releases from organizations of all 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 on their Web sites. In the business press, countless articles are devoted to marketing strategies and tactics.[ad#ad-4]
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 new competitors, and have had to rethink their business models. Even market leaders such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Intel, and Nike recognize that they cannot afford to relax. Jack Welch, GE’s brilliant former CEO, repeatedly warned his company: “Change or die.”
But making the right decisions is not always easy. Marketing managers must make major decisions such as what features to design into a new product, what prices to offer customers, where to sell products, and how much to spend on advertising or sales. They must also make more detailed decisions such as the exact wording or color for new packaging.
The companies at greatest risk are those that fail to carefully monitor their customers and competitors and to continuously improve their value offerings. They take a short-term, sales-driven view of their business and ultimately, they fail to satisfy their stockholders, their employees, their suppliers, and their channel partners. Skillful marketing is a never-ending pursuit.
Written by: Mike Selvon
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