The orientation of your business is the focus that it has when it comes to serving customers. Of the three different focuses that you might have, only one is fully focused on the customer – the marketing orientation, the one that enables those customers to choose to buy from you rather than from a competitor and the one which helps to take the hard slog out of selling. The forward-looking business owner knows that they need to move on from more inward-looking orientations towards their product or to the selling process.
A business that is product orientated focuses on what it makes or does and assumes that having the product or service on offer will be enough to bring customers to their door.
In the best case, it assumes the customer wants the highest level of quality, working towards improving quality levels. And that’s fine – as long as there is a big enough segment of the market that prizes quality and will seek it out.
Too often, though, it is the orientation of the new small business set up on the basis of the owner’s interest without regard for whether there is sufficient demand for what they sell. Some initial market research to ascertain customer demand can save a lot of heartache.
A business that is sales orientated focuses on selling enough of what they make or do to meet the business’ needs.
It believes that customers are reluctant to purchase, and that products are sold rather than bought. A sales orientated organisation typically relies on strong sales departments, aggressive sales techniques or sales promotions. It aims to profit through a high volume of sales.
A business that is marketing orientated focuses on the needs of the customer, making the effort to understand their customers
It develops a product/service offering that meets known customer wants and needs and will adapt that to accommodate changes in customer behaviour. A marketing orientated business can therefore profit through customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is better placed to differentiate itself from competitors on points that really matter to their customers, especially in markets that are dominated by product or sales orientated businesses.
What orientation does your business take? Are you making the most of the opportunities of marketing orientation?