Marketing as a discipline has constantly evolved over time along side business, it is a function that has essentially been born out of competitive need. Up to the 1930’s businesses were production focused, where the product itself was the most important thing to the consumer. On to the 1960’s and the focus was on sales, where for consumers to buy the product all that was needed was lots of promotion and plenty of sales. Moving on from that we see start to see marketing as a more integrated holistic approach emerge. The Chartered Institute of Marketers constantly revise what marketing is and what it should be and defines marketing as:
“The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”
Definition of Marketing, CIM, www.cim.co.uk
The definition confirms the managerial role of marketing but places the customer firmly at the center of activities, and lastly it states all this must be done so that the organization can survive and grow.
Marketing has moved beyond just selling, advertising or market research, it is now a business model.
“The point is that only by first understanding and accepting this way of thinking (concept or philosophy) can a company begin to develop a marketing culture or orientation and, hence, ultimately become effective at marketing.”
Marketing Fundamentals, Geoff Lancaster & Frank Withey
We now have a common purpose between design and marketing, and that is to put the customer, or key stakeholders, central to all organizational decisions. In marketing a company that employs this approach is said to be ‘marketing oriented’.
The market place is full of competition vying for the attention of the customer. With the competition also adopting a marketing oriented approach, it’s an important objective that the organisation can beat the competition, its does so by essentially offering the customer better value, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest product.
It is through a dialogue with design that this value can be built in, developing services and products that place the customer at the core of everything and it is design processes that allows us to gain insight into what a product really needs to be.