Monday, February 25, 2008

Episode 28, Catering to Customer Concerns

EPISODE28 - Catering to Customer Concerns

Marketing concept requires that you determine customer’s needs and then fulfill them better than any of your competition. Your decisions should resonate in all facets of your business as the goal to better satisfy your customer needs and concerns.

This is not a new idea but an old idea. In a book “The Wealth of Nations” published in 1776, Adam Smith wrote that the needs of producers should be considered only with regard to the needs of consumers. It took the world over 200 years to implement this strategy wholeheartedly in business.

The process was a slow evolution that began with the industrial revolution. We then used the production concept. The prominent question was: can we produce the product? And then, can we produce enough of it?

Around the 1930’s sales concept prevailed. The prevailing concepts then were: will this product sell and will it sell enough to make us money? The door to door salesman was born with all of his high pressure techniques and sell at all costs mentality.

Finally the world of business woke up to the Marketing Concept defined by the number one question: What do the customers want? The corollary questions became:
Can we produce it while there is still need or interest in it and most importantly: how can we keep our customers satisfied? The marketing process is: to develop a product catering to prospective customers needs and to make the sole purpose of the customer service process, focus on customer needs. The final goal is to create a profit by focusing on customer needs over the long haul

To define this process a tried and true “marketing mix” is used that involves, the 4 P’s: Product, Price. Place (distribution) and Promotion. A producer of goods or services should always ask these questions about the product:
Is this something my customer’s needs? Have we considered the customer in regard to brand name, functionality, styling, quality, safety, packaging, repairs and support, warranty, and accessories or additional services to complement the product?

Price—will the prospective customer buy the product at this price? The pricing strategy should include the consideration of: suggested retail, volume discounts, cash and early payment discounts, seasonal pricing, bundling with other services, flexibility in pricing.

Place—have I made distribution easy? Careful consideration should be made with regard to the customers needs while designing distribution channels, market coverage, inventory management, warehousing, distribution centers, order processing, transportation, return policies.

Promotion: Is the message geared to my customers, wants, needs and desires?
Promotional decisions should be made on the basis of the push and pull for your product. Advertising policies should consider how it affects the clients. Personal selling and sales force should match the styles of customer’s. Careful attention should be paid to how product and the company are perceived by your clients. Public relations and publicity should mimic similar goals. What do your customers want to hear about you?
In all four facets of the marketing mix, the primary concern should be catering to your customer’s concerns and satisfying those concerns better than any of your competition.

This article may be reproduced in full with the following by-line:
(c) Joanne Quinn-Smith, "The Marketeer," Creative Energy Officer, Dreamweaver Marketing Associates and host of Monday Morning Marketeer archived at:;; 412-628-5048

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