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Close to the Customer



Asset versus market-led marketing, production orientation, market orientation, sales orientation

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We can distinguish between three approaches to marketing: (1) Production orientation: the firm concentrates on efficient low cost production and endeavours to produce quality goods and expects the customer to buy them. (2) Market orientation: the firm tries to get the company to produce what the customer wants. (3) Sales orientation: the firm focuses on the skills of selling rather than on the needs of the buyer. However, the sales orientated firm is not separately discussed in modern texts and should be regarded as an aspect of production orientation, since the sales department is an asset of the company. We are mainly looking at two kinds of firm - the production orientated firm with a "push" strategy in which pushes the product at the market and the customer-orientated firm with a "pull" strategy in which demand dictates product development. Another way of putting this is that the production orientated firm is asset led in its approach to marketing. It considers what it has and what it is good at, makes products that employ its resources, and then push these products at the market. In contrast the market orientation (customer orientation) considers the needs of the market, analyses these, and then develops products and resources to meet those needs. Modern business philosophy much favours the customer orientated approach - "give the customer what he wants" is a widely heard slogan as the following notes on two business "gurus" illustrates. Actually, what might be needed is a balance between the two approaches, that might be expressed by the following: keep your business in focus by relating your analysis of customer taste to your own business strengths; stay alert to a changing marketplace and the opportunities and threats that may emerge.
Contents of
Close to the Customer

1 Asset versus market-led marketing, production orientation, market orientation, sales orientation
2 Theodore Levitt
3 Richard Schonberger

Related articles: (1) Objectives & Marketing, (2)