How do you define marketing?
When I ask managers this question, the answers are surprisingly diverse, even among marketing managers. But there is one group that defines marketing in very similar terms, and that group shares an important characteristic: they are market leaders.
In almost every industry, the competitive landscape looks similar. The majority of the players are engaged in a bloody battle for market share, competing fiercely with other organisations of their size, and generating about the same margin. I call these companies average performers because they all seem to perform within a narrow profit margin range.
Behind them are the battle-weary under-performers; their bottom lines are red and creditors are circling. These companies are still battling for business, but they’re not getting it. They’re not yet gone, but they are certainly on their way.
And then there are the market leaders. These companies consistently out-perform their market. They attract the best customers and do so at a better margin. And, compared to the fierce battle in which average performers are engaged, they seem to do so effortlessly.
What frustrates many marketing and non-marketing managers at average-performing companies is that an analysis of market leaders’ marketing expenses and activities doesn’t seem to provide insight into their success. Benchmarking studies show that both types of companies spend about the same percentage of their overall expenses ...