Beautifully designed ads, apt slogans and printed flyers. It is not uncommon for people to still confuse marketing with advertising. But there is much more to it than that. A change has taken place: Modern marketing leads companies to economic success through innovation.
Satisfied customers are the be-all and end-all of a competitive company. There is no shortage of competition: if one provider cannot satisfy consumer needs, another will. How can you keep up?
No department knows the company’s target group as well as marketing. The direct-to-consumer logic in the digital transformation means that marketers and customers are in closer contact than ever before. New communication channels such as social media enable direct exchange. Needs can be asked directly. The insights that can be gained in modern marketing are worth their weight in gold: thanks to digitization, marketers have the opportunity to research the target market more precisely than ever before. They know how to communicate with the target group, where to reach them and how to bind them to the company. They find out what problems consumers have and how to solve them innovatively.
This is the greatest opportunity for companies: If marketing is no longer just seen as advertising, the direct interface to the customer can be used for the entire business processes.
Marketing must permeate the entire business processes. This is precisely the crux of the change: modern marketing begins where innovative products are created and customer wishes are satisfied as individually as possible. To this end, the product range must be constantly expanded and new distribution channels considered. A practical example: Schwarz+Matt has taken the vacation guru offline. In addition to the successful distribution of vacation travel in the form of e-commerce, the concept was packaged into a travel agency of the future. With the development of a store in the founders’ home country, customers now have the opportunity to customize their trip on the spot and get an idea of their dream destination through VR glasses before they even start their journey.
This quote from U.S. economist Peter Drucker sums up the importance of marketing for companies: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.” Marketing is more than just a department of a company. It describes the view of the entire business from the consumer’s point of view. And this is the perspective that is crucial for success.
The development of new products, production, financing, communication and distribution. All of these areas are examined in marketing from the customer’s point of view. The insights gained in the process make it possible to launch products on the market that deliver exactly what the target group wants and, above all, can use. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, but to make existing ideas better and maximize customer benefits. In order to achieve this goal, marketing must be seen as the driving force of the company, communicating the wishes of the customers to all business units, controlling the direction of the processes and innovatively developing the product range rather than just advertising it.
The relevance of marketing for entrepreneurial success becomes tangible at the latest when you look at the success story of brands such as Apple. Are there technically better devices than iPhones on the market? Which have a better price-performance ratio? Certainly. So what makes the company a market leader anyway? The brand itself. Apple understands its target market, offers what customers want and knows how to communicate with them. The company has the market power because it knows, better than anyone else, how to use marketing effectively as a business strategy.
One thing is certain: Marketing offers tremendous potential for value creation. To take advantage of this, companies should no longer view marketing as an isolated function, but as an entrepreneurial spirit. Freedom must be granted to explore target markets and develop innovative product ideas. This is the only way companies will have a chance to keep up in the future. Because there is enough competition.