Marketing orientations - a brief history 


Many people believe that the only role of marketing is to support sales. However, marketing is more than that. It is a specific philosophy of running an effective business, which not only allows you to generate satisfactory profits, but also facilitates building recognition, gaining a competitive advantage and ultimately leads to success. We call the paradigm of how to run a business an orientation. What marketing orientations do we distinguish?

What are Marketing Orientations?

Today, marketing focuses on meeting customer needs in a way that is profitable for the company. It is the art of win-win operation - consumers feel satisfied and the company generates attractive profits. However, this was not always the case. In the past, entrepreneurs had different priorities, they were guided by completely separate issues in their business activities. Hence the concept of marketing orientations.

The marketing orientation, or the orientation of marketing management, can be defined as a certain philosophy, general approach, paradigm, or a certain set of assumptions regarding a specific way of doing business. The orientation indicates the area on which a given enterprise focuses its activities.

Marketing orientations are not only pure company management theory. It is a specific manual for the market, a way of looking at business and the basis for effective market operations. 

Marketing orientations, as well as the entire market, have strongly evolved over the years. Each significant market change was an indication to adopt a new orientation. What orientations do we distinguish?

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Production orientation vs marketing orientations

The turning point in business was undoubtedly the nineteenth century and the great industrial revolution that took place at that time, which enabled entrepreneurs to produce on a mass scale. From that moment on, we can talk about marketing orientations. The first was the production orientation. The philosophy of the concept was simple: to produce a lot and cheaply. The quality of the products was not the most important thing. Relatively simple products were manufactured, intended for an average buyer and satisfying basic needs. Entrepreneurs invested in factories that they produced on a mass scale. It was then that the first assembly line was built at the Henry Ford factory, which significantly improved the production of cars. 

The biggest downside of production orientation is marketing short-sightedness. The company, while focusing solely on mass production, ignores the real idea of marketing, i.e. meeting the needs of customers and building strong, trust-based relationships with them. However, many companies still use this tactic. An example is Chinese factories.

Product orientation

With the increasing purchasing power of consumers and the progressive growth of the market, mass production was not enough. Entrepreneurs had to look for ways to stand out from the competition. This is how the product orientation was created, the idea of which was to produce products of higher quality. Companies began to perfect their goods. Brands appeared that were to distinguish the products of one manufacturer from competing goods.

Unfortunately, similar to the first marketing concept, the problem was to focus solely on the internal operation of the company. Enterprises thought that it was enough to create a product of excellent quality and the sale would wind up on its own.

Sales orientation, or distribution orientation

The times of the first and second marketing orientation were called "seller's market". Entrepreneurs focused on mass production, forgetting the customer. Problems with sales led to the development of another marketing orientation, known as sales or distribution. Its pillar was mass production combined with wide promotion. Entrepreneurs realized that they would not generate satisfactory profits if no one wanted to buy their products. Therefore, they started to focus on sales and promotional activities aimed at effectively reaching the target group. 

But sales orientation it was not satisfactory in the long run. Customers' needs were still relegated to the background. The solution was to put the customer at the center of the marketing process.

Marketing orientation - customer oriented

Growing competition and market saturation in the 1950s led to the development of advanced marketing orientation. The overriding goal of every conscious entrepreneur has become to get to know, understand and satisfy the needs of their clients in a profitable way. Advanced marketing orientation was centered around the "sense and react" principle. The first stage of business activities has become a comprehensive analysis of the target group. Only on its basis, products were created and promotional activities were carried out.

Marketing orientation puts the customer in the center. The point is no longer to create a product and find buyers for it, but to look for ways that will meet the expectations of consumers.

Strategic marketing orientation 

Marketing today is about more than just meeting customer expectations. Brands need to think for the future, relying on unconscious consumer needs and innovative solutions that consumers do not yet know and may eventually need. Currently, the strategic approach to the area of marketing is in the lead. Marketing research aimed at discovery has emerged consumer insights, i.e. the real motives of customer behavior.

Contemporary marketing is the art of long-term planning, which consists in continuous analysis of the economic situation, the recipient group and competition. Building a marketing strategy allows you to operate effectively not only at a given moment, but for a long time. 

Customer-driven marketing orientations have dominated today's market. This does not mean, however, that other models do not exist. Under certain market conditions, they may still be effective. The most important principle of effective business is therefore a comprehensive market research. The results of the analysis are the basis for choosing the best marketing orientation. 

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