Marketing’s Role in Connecting Organizations with Customers
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” This directive was identified by management consultant, educator and author Peter F. Drucker, whose writings contributed to the practical foundation of the modern business corporation.
Today, marketing plays an ever-increasing role in creating and growing businesses and brands by connecting organizations with current and potential purchasers along every step of the customer-experience journey. The role of marketers is to identify and research audiences, and then expertly reach and inform them about brands, products and services to facilitate the growth of business in today’s highly competitive environment. Marketers who embrace and combine the new tools of digital and social media with traditional and guerilla marketing will have greater success at connecting customers with their business.
Dr. Philip Kotler, the man widely regarded as “the father of modern marketing,” describes connectivity as the most important game-changer in the history of marketing in his 2016 book, Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
In the book, which he co-authored with Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan, Kotler explains how marketers can boost productivity by understanding customer paths in today’s digital era. He introduces a new set of marketing metrics and a whole new way of looking at marketing practices, and suggests that marketing must combine online and offline interactions between companies and customers to achieve success.
Marketing is continually evolving. A business discipline that was traditionally oriented toward one-way communications with customers, marketing must now blend style with substance, content with creativity, and adapt new technologies to enhance connectivity.
Case in point: It is no longer enough to just be on the internet; businesses must use their website as an opportunity to connect with customers.
The overwhelming growth and impact of the internet makes it necessary for organizations that want to create and keep customers to have a presence. Smart (and not so smart) customers of products and services use the internet to explore, research, form and share opinions, and recommend and make purchases:
- Approximately 46 percent of the world population has an internet connection. In 2000, it was less than 7 percent.
- In a recent survey conducted by Adweek, 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase, and 61 percent will read product reviews before making a purchase.
However, simply having a presence on the World Wide Web is not enough to make a connection between a business and customers. Marketers must focus on drawing audiences to a specific site (the search process) as well as on the user’s experience once they have arrived at the site.
For example, to enhance the audience search process, Marketers should focus on the quality and freshness of their site’s content. They should combine unique, strong keywords with original, up-to-date content and visuals, as well as links from other pages, to make their organization more visible to potential and returning customers. To create a positive experience for users, they should think mobile first (more than half of all website visits now come from mobile devices, and this percentage is growing) and build and employ navigation paths, content and visuals that are personalized to target audience segments.
In today’s dynamic marketplace, the role of marketing remains: Find target audiences and guide customers throughout their journey with a business—from awareness to advocacy. By combining digital, social and traditional media with authentic, differentiated and meaningful messages, marketing efforts will make an important connection with customers.