Personal Reflective Blog 1

Market Led Management

Perception of Marketing prior to the marketing unit:

Marketing conjures images of Only Fools and Horses, Phones 4 You and the Marketing team at Tigerprint. A main concern prior to this module was the methods by which the ‘bible status’ market research was gained. The Tigerprint team would gain fresh data by observing members of the public shop in our stores, visit their homes and spend time getting to know them. "The aim is to know the customer better so that they can be given what they want." (Davis, no date) From this data, the marketing team would then create a customer profile. These were helpful and insightful as it enabled the designers to understand instantly the key needs and expectations of the product. This understanding of customers in the marketplace is defined by Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris (2013) as a customer database. A fantastic example of this is Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty program. “In operation since 1995 during which time its capability of gaining insight from customers has advanced dramatically says retail weekly" (Davis, no date).

The definitions of marketing discussed (see more here: link) show marketing is all about relationships. Making business decisions with the customer in mind. Creating a process/plan that speeds up the company progress towards their desired end goals. For me a company who have customer relationships at the forefront of their marketing process is Orange.

Elements of the unit which provided you with new insights into marketing practice:

An insightful definition from Kotler et al (2013) describes that wants and needs aren’t the same. You may want several products but only buy one. Asking where do consumers spend their money? Is what marketers are interested in.
Marketing is more of an investigation into who and why rather than just how to sell, with a dynamic approach to an organisations competitive advantage. Marketing is a reflective practice and potentially as subjective and opinion lead as design.

Marketing and its relation to selling and operations orientation:

With a customer centred approach, the ‘marketing concept’ suggests a strategy of sense and respond to your target markets wants and needs. This strategy is popular with marketers "market orientations ... often seen as the holy grail of marketers"  (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, 2001, p10). This is an 'outside-in' perspective.

The selling concept holds, that organisations will not sell products unless undertaking a large-scale selling and promotion effort. The selling concept is often used when the product is unknown to the customer. Drummonds, Edensor and Ashford (2001, p10) warn that having a dominant short-term perspective can lead to an aggressive selling and a disregard for the longer-term relationships.

Long-term relationships and customer satisfaction will be significantly harder if a business follows a selling strategy. I am concerned about this focus on customers - what if they don't know what they want or what is possible for that matter?

The evolving nature of marketing into service and consumer relationship management:

The nature of marketing has been challenged over the past years, under the influence of the changes in customer behaviour and in the competitive environment. The differences between transactional and relationship selling are many. And the shift from marketing into service and consumer relationship management has happened. Marketing is now more about looking after the customer; customer relationship management enables an organisation to be tied to their customers never getting out of touch with them and their secondary beliefs. Creating touch points can maximise customer loyalty. E.g. the use of a sales assistant who talk to customers, targeting emails or involving customers in the design process.

Some companies have carried customer relation management to the point where customers have become partners. This is one way partnerships can occur. Another example of this is partnership relationship management. Here partners participate in each other’s strategies and plans. For example: Dell and Intel both advertise the valuable element of their relationship.

Your perception of the marketing function and its role in shaping the product design function:

Product designers use the function of marketing, while shaping the final product design, however, it is not as detailed or formalised. The reality surrounding designing and launching a successful product without considering the market is not an option, maybe for an artist – but not a designer.

Within the marketing orientation a lot of emphasis it placed on the consumer “the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.” Kotler et al here highlight the two-way value relationship required for successful marketing. Dibb and Simkin (2008, p1) define this two-way relationship as an exchange relationship, however this relationship unifies designer and marketer as one. With such a strong emphasis on customer needs, true innovation is hindered. As explained in Shimpei Takahashi TED talk: play this game to come up with original ideas. (March 2010) where he discusses the pressure to use data as a starting point for design quashed his creativity. Taking inspiration from pre-existing products will often lead to copying rather than true innovation.

With this in mind, however, it can be said that during the process of writing’s marketing plan the product has under gone significant changes as market trends and competitor analysis have sparked new ideas. Understanding the actual needs and wants will enable the product to become market ready.

Conclusion – view of marketing has changed. It can now be held that marketing is a key part of the development of successful market ready products. However, to attain true innovation, marketing must not be apart of the initial concept phase and therfore a suggestion of B.S.O.S.T.A.C. would be the approach taken when approaching market led product design in the future, with B standing for Blue sky thinking. It is my belief that Blue sky thinking and true ‘free rein’ of idea conception is required to create something truly unique.

Davis, G. (no date) Analysis: Loyalty cards - How retailers are using the data
What is marketing? definition and meaning (no date) in Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2015)

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. and Harris, L. (2013) Principles of marketing. United Kingdom: Financial Times, Prentice Hall

Drummond, G., Ensor, J. and Ashford, R. (2001) Strategic marketing: planning and control. 2nd edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann

Takahashi, S. (2013) Shimpei Takahashi: Play this game to come up with original ideas | Talk Video. Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2015)