At the beginning of this chapter, we mentioned that the view of marketing has changed from a static set of four Ps to a dynamic set of processes that involve marketing professionals as well as many other employees in an organization. The way business is being conducted today is changing, too, and marketing is changing along with it. There are several themes, or important trends, that you will notice throughout this book.
- Ethics and social responsibility. Businesses exist only because society allows them to. When businesses begin to fail society, society will punish them or revoke their license. The crackdown on companies in the subprime mortgage-lending industry is one example. The collapse of Enron and the jailing of its executives is another. Scandals such as these illustrate how society responds to unethical business practices. However, whereas ethics require that you only do no harm, the concept of social responsibilityrequires that you must actively seek to improve the lot of others. Today, people are demanding businesses take a proactive stance in terms of social responsibility, and they are being held to ever-higher standards of conduct.
- Sustainability. Sustainability is an example of social responsibility and involves engaging in practices that do not diminish the earth’s resources. SC Johnson, the company that makes Pledge and Windex, was among the first companies to engage in manufacturing practices that reduced or eliminated pollution. Right now, companies do not have to engage in these practices, but because firms really represent the people behind them (their owners and employees), forward-thinking executives are seeking ways to reduce the impact their companies are having on the planet.
- Service-dominant logic. You might have noticed that we use the wordoffering a lot instead of the term product. That’s because of service-dominant logic, the approach to business that recognizes that consumers want value no matter how it is delivered. That emphasis on value is what drives the functional approach to value that we’ve taken—that is, creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging value.
- Metrics. Technology has increased the amount of information available to decision makers. As such, the amount and quality of data for evaluating a firm’s performance is increasing. Earlier in our discussion of the marketing plan, we explained that customers communicate via transactions. Although this sounds both simple and obvious, better information technology has given us a much more complete picture of each exchange. Using this data, we can build more effective metrics that can then be used to create better offerings, better communication plans, and so forth.
- A global environment. Every business is influenced by global issues. The price of oil, for example, is a global concern that affects everyone’s prices and even the availability of some offerings. Many companies, though, source some or all their offerings from companies in other countries or else face some sort of direct competition from companies based in other countries. Every business professional, whether marketing or otherwise, has to have some understanding of the global environment in which companies operate.
A company’s marketing plan flows from its strategic plan. Both begin with a focus on customers. The essential components of the plan are understanding customers, creating an offering that delivers value, communicating the value to the customer, exchanging with the customer, and evaluating the firm’s performance. A marketing plan is influenced by environmental trends such as social responsibility, sustainability, service-dominant logic, the increased availability of data and effective metrics, and the global nature of the business environment.
- Why does everything start with customers? Or is it only marketing that starts with customers?
- What are the key parts of a marketing plan?
- What is the relationship between social responsibility, sustainability, service-dominant logic, and the global business environment? How does the concept of metrics fit?