M.B.A. Veteran Business and Economics teacher at a number of community colleges and in the for profit sector.
How does a company choose their sales and marketing philosophy? A company will select their philosophy by deciding on how to harness their internal strengths to reach their consumers. What part of their arsenal will they use? Companies adopt one of four philosophies when deciding on how to create an organizational marketing process. The four philosophies are production, sales, marketing and societal marketing orientations.
The first philosophy we will discuss is production orientation. An easy way to understand this term is to reference Henry Ford, the original manufacturer of American cars. Production orientation is a philosophy that focuses on the internal capabilities of the firm rather than on the desires and needs of the marketplace. Ford created one type of car and stated that the consumer could have it in any color as long as it was black!
Firms that use this philosophy believe that they are utilizing their firm's strengths in the best way. They look internally and decide on how to proceed depending upon their own capabilities. The one problem with this type of philosophy is that it does not take into consideration whether their product or service actually meets the needs of the consumer and market. If a firm is a new inventor as with Ford, they are able to be successful. If a car manufacturer kept this production orientation today and limited any type of options to the consumer, they would surely be out of business very quickly! Could you imagine if you could not change the rims of your car or add a DVD player?
A second philosophy a company can adapt is sales orientation. Sales orientation is when a company believes that they will sell more product or services if very aggressive sales methods are used to gain higher sales. The central theme of sales orientation is about making items and making money. Sales oriented companies rely heavily on promotion and a highly trained aggressive sales force. An example would be a door to door salesman or a mall kiosk. Again, the problem with this type of philosophy is that it again does not focus on what the customer and market requires. It is too caught up in pushing their product or service with a polished sales technique.
Marketing orientation is the third philosophy and the first one that takes into account the importance of the customer's needs. Marketing orientation is the philosophy that a firm exists to satisfy consumer's wants and needs and also provides shareholder and corporate benefit. Marketing orientation also incorporates the belief of long term customer relationship building, the process of a combined business effort to satisfy customers and really researching customer needs and wants. Businesses that are known for following this philosophy are Apple, Disney, and Coca-Cola. They keep their eye on their consumer at all times.
Societal Marketing Orientation
The last philosophy is called Societal marketing orientation. This concept takes the idea of providing customer value to the next level. Companies that endorse this idea follow the marketing orientation; plus, they also believe that their product or service protects or enhances society's interests. A current example is the explosive growth of green products that companies market. They promote that these products are helpful to consumers, good for the company profits and also better the environment. A growing trend is the use of charity marketing. The buy pink to support breast cancer marketing campaign has become so prevalent that some experts say it has created a negative backlash and complacency regarding social marketing. It has made consumers wary of how much of their donations reach the targeted charity. It has also made them weary of constant requests to purchase products associated with a social movement or charity.
Companies need to decide on how best to use their internal corporate resources to reach their customers. They will adapt a philosophy based on their strengths, the market conditions and companies strategies. Production orientation is when a company focuses on their internal strengths and not what benefits the customer. Sales orientation is when a company decides to use aggressive sales techniques to push their product at their customers. When a firm adapts a marketing orientation philosophy, then they are targeting satisfying their customer's needs as their ultimate goal. Lastly, societal marketing orientation is marketing orientation plus the added interest of satisfying society's interests.
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