What is market orientation?
What are the drawbacks of customer orientation?
How can my business be more market oriented?
How can I do a better job listening to customers?
These are all questions I hear frequently when talking with business owners about developing strong marketing strategies.
Being market oriented means that a firm's product or service development is driven by customer need. They listen closely to their market (aka customers) to determine new product features or directions to take.
There are obvious benefits to a market oriented approach: by listening to customers you can be sure that there is a solid market and need for your product or service. It can also ensure strong customer retention, because by listening to your market as you improve your product or service you can keep customers happy and keep them coming back to do business with you.
On the other hand, an over-emphasis on listening to market needs can also have significant drawbacks.
One major drawback of this approach is that it could reduce innovation: customers don't usually ask a company to do something radically different. Instead, they will ask for minor improvements or features. So this could keep the company stagnating in their current product approach rather than trying something truly innovative that could grow their business much more substantially long term.
Another drawback is the question of short-term versus long-term focus. Customer needs are usually immediate or short-term ones. So if a company is overly focused on meeting short-term customer needs, they may lose focus on longer-term strategic planning.
The fact is that the ideal approach is to balance customer orientation with a long-term strategic perspective.
For get started with developing the right marketing strategies for your business, follow these steps to write a marketing strategy.