Business guru, Theodore Levitt, said that the purpose of business is to make and keep customers. I agree! To make this happen, you have three jobs as a marketer:
Identify Demand. If you remember your basic economic course, demand is the size of the market that is ready, willing and able to buy (operative word is able). It’s simply finding innovative opportunities to increase revenues and loyalty among current and new customers.
Your first job is to keep your current customers happy – not just satisfied – and then find new customers that fit your target market profiles. The second task, of course, is to clearly understand what they need, want, expect, and will pay, for their “hot buttons”.
Influence Demand. At its core, influencing is everything you do to persuade customers to pass up the competition and buy from you. It is what we commonly think of when we hear the word marketing. It is the sum total of all communication touch points – everything from your company’s name and logo to your website to the greeting your receptionist gives. This is what sways buyers' choices by showing you they are D&B (different and better) than your competition.
Service Demand. The most powerful form of advertising is still word of mouth, or in today’s social media world, word of finger. We know that how people feel they are treated by your company is the best predictor of their future buying behavior, and what they tell others. After all, we all want to recreate the good times we have. This is why the American Marketing Association includes the notions of delivering and value in its definition.
These three marketing jobs involve many tasks: research, positioning, packaging, differentiating, pricing, promotion, servicing, budgeting, analyses, ad infinitum – all of which serve Levitt’s purpose of making and keeping customers. So adopt the mantra of the camp song we sang as children: Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.
Your bottom line will thank you!
Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD
The School of Hospitality Business
Broad College of Business
Michigan State University