Marketing input, in one form or another, is an important factor contributing to product development success. However, the relationship between marketing input and product development success is not clearly substantiated. In most of the product development studies the role of marketing has been investigated by focusing on the trappings of marketing inputs rather than the substance of marketing inputs.
Specifically, have typically focused on issues like: (i) how to create a marketing organization; ( ii) how to adopt new administrative mechanisms; (iii) how much marketing expenditure to allocate; (iv) how to strengthen the advertising and sales effort; (v) how many persons should be responsible for market research. I do not assert that these issues are unimportant, but by themselves, they are no guarantee of product development success.
By continually focusing on changes like strong advertising and sales effort, more market research, more persons in the marketing department, or more marketing expenditure, what we are emphasizing is more marketing inputs but many of them seem to have failed. What is needed is “not more marketing, but better marketing”. We should give more emphasis on the qualitative aspects of marketing rather than the quantitative ones. That means focusing on the substance or quality of marketing inputs.
Marketing for a number of years has been long on advice about what to do in a given competitor or market situation and short on useful recommendations for how to do it within companies’ competitor and customer constraints. We know what marketing is, but how do we do it (quality)?
Researchers and professionals talk about “quality” or “excellent” or “good” marketing, identifying as:
- promoting a means of classifying, assessing and integrating information relevant to a business;
- providing a method of approach which forms the basis for action; explaining, predicting and controlling the marketing process;
- providing enough analytical methods to help solve problems;
- focusing on the customer;
- segmenting by customer applications benefits;
- knowing the factors that influence customers’ buying decisions;
- communicating with market segments; knowing the strategy, assumptions, cost structure and objectives of their major competitors;
- identifying the right target markets;
- adopting a more marketing oriented approach;
- doing a more comprehensive situation analysis;
- having greater marketing staff involvement in the planning process; and
- setting more clearly defined, aggressive and challenging marketing objectives
What these arguments suggest is that getting the approach (identifying new opportunities) right and at the same time the execution (exploiting new opportunities) wrong, or vice versa, is unlikely to lead to success. Thus, what matters most is not how much marketing input is applied or how wide a range of marketing activities are executed, but whether marketing input is applied well and whether the right activities are executed. Is not only doing things right but doing the right things. However, just doing the right things or executing them well is not enough.
Unless a company adopts a customer-centered philosophy, it is perfectly possible to carry out all the right marketing activities and not really be involved with marketing. It would appear to be much more than just a collection of activities. It requires an appropriate attitude of mind.By adopting the “right” approach is no guarantee of success unless the “right” skills exist to back up the approach.
Thus, we can easily argue that quality of marketing is concerned with: (a) the quality of approach, in identifying new opportunities; and (b) the quality of execution, namely the implementation “skills” used to exploit these opportunities.
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Panos Pavlidis, Ph.D is the Head of Business Development for Omega Mediator Group and the founder of innovisio, an info-blog for innovation and development. His expertise includes internet and marketing management, new product development, business development, management and sales management. Panos is also a recognized author of the Academy of Marketing Science (EMAC) for Best Research Papers.