Provided by Will Peters – Anstad Group
Understanding what type of company you are will help you select the right level of marketing performance for your company. It will also help you pave the way for identifying your next level of marketing performance. Market-driven companies are the most common. They focus on the current customer, customer needs, and how they can meet those needs. They usually make small but necessary improvements to products and services, but they do not perform radical improvements or significantly change market perception. In general, market-driven companies identify needs, problems, and desires, gather data, test products and make small product improvements. One such example is the recent emerging of the educational community reaching out to those students with busy lives and offering them Internet based classes to complete their college degrees.
Market-driving companies are created from a different breed. They focus on shaping and changing the current market and the beliefs or buying habits of the consumer. A market-driving company looks ahead, anticipates trends, and shapes the wants and needs of the purchasing market. This type of company is often associated with anticipative and need-shaping marketing. Companies that succeed in driving the market have a strong vision and a distinctive position in the market. They create this position by creating new markets, breaking the rules or inventing new rules, creating significantly better products and services, shaping consumer needs and desires and developing new marketing channels. A recent example of this marketing form is the creation of the Twitter program (a popular instant messaging tool). With the instant messaging dynamic at an all time high, this group developed a messaging system that linked thousands of people in real time regardless of where they are by taking simple instant messaging and creating a platform for mobile devices. This created a push that unless you were connected to Twitter, you were left behind in communication. Today they are millions of users tweeting everyday!
Once a company knows whether it is market driven or market driving, it can select its level of marketing performance. Successful marketing relies on recognizing, anticipating, and shaping the needs of the consumer. There are three levels of marketing performance that relate to these needs. Responsive marketing is primarily concerned with filling needs. It is relatively easy to recognize what consumers want, and it is a fairly safe bet that you will be on target with your offerings when you respond directly to consumer demands. Anticipative marketing involves spotting something that is an emerging trend or a neglected need. It is riskier than simply responding to demand, but not as risky as attempting need-shaping marketing. Need-shaping marketing is the most daring level. It involves creating a product or service that the consumer never asked for or perhaps never thought of. Invention, experimentation, and forward thinking are necessary in this level of marketing.
Each level of marketing performance is meant to support your company. However, it could very well be that it’s no longer possible to simply sell products or to only ask consumers what they need and then respond by meeting those needs. To stay competitive in a changing marketplace, companies will most likely need to anticipate and shape the needs of the buyer by providing goods and services that consumers may never have dreamed of.