It is difficult to achieve something in this world, a world they called a global village. There are computers and high technology tools available for us to make like easy.
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But life has always been difficult, more so with marketers and people who have the intent of introducing or selling a product to the world. You may be successful today, tomorrow might be for another person’s triumph.
That is because of the stiff competition in the world of business, in the world of selling whatever there is to sell.
In the age of intense globalization, changes and innovations are not a rarity. The world of business is constantly facing new innovations and applications, thus marketers have to cope with constant change.
Managing change should be one of the priorities of the new global organization; change is an opportunity for improvement. The marketer has to adopt and continuously train and improve because of these changes.
Adoption and improvement are significant here because outsourcing companies (or those who provide outsourcing services) are a source of competition. This means there is a strong competition when it comes to talents and capabilities and output.
Organizations have to introduce various changes in their marketing strategies, product orientation, employee management, and other organizational strategies. Cultural diversity is a trend in the age of globalization.
Marketers have to choose between adaptation and standardization in their products and marketing strategies in order to gain an edge in the competition. The demand for localized products is also growing.
Adaptation is one innovation that marketing organizations have to apply in their marketing strategies to adjust to cultural differences.
In the age of globalization, knowledge is both a product and resource. Organizations are now focused on knowledge-based economies, and are more concerned with the knowledge people possess; this is termed ‘people-embodied knowhow’.
Firms take care of their workforce because of the knowledge they possess. They have invested much on their workforce.
Organizations aim for talents and customer’s focus and loyalty. This is the job of the marketing manager. But firms also see the importance of focusing on their employees because they see the relation between contented employees and contented customers. Satisfied employees result in satisfied customers.
Meeting the customer’s needs and wants is a business trend in the age of globalization. Organizations now aim for customer loyalty while keeping cost of production low.
This is shooting two birds in one shot but difficult to achieve; difficult because meeting the customer’s needs and wants at the same time minimizing cost of production do not ensure quality product or service.
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Customer satisfaction must be an important strategic part of marketing. Products and services must be geared towards customer focus, and customer satisfaction is a goal in a value added supply chain.
The main body
Supply chain management excellence is crucial to customer satisfaction; consequently, customer satisfaction is critical to customer loyalty, and loyalty critical to profitability.
In order to address the problem of customer loyalty, firms apply product and service innovations. Supply chain learning should be a part of the firms’ strategies to address customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This is also the main objective of market orientation – customer satisfaction through superior performance of products and services.
Companies attain competitive edge through constant innovation. Organizations keep constant contact with customers, looking for ways to satisfy their needs and wants. Good customer relation is an important aspect of business.
Identifying and working out to strengthen customer satisfaction, supply chains can help in having a good relationship with customers, but supply chains have two attributes which are cost and service.
Service is itself responsiveness to the customer’s demand, but demand can also increase cost. Putting on a lot of innovations on the products means adding cost on production.
Customer relationship marketing (CRM) creates value for the customer1. Kotler et al. includes the idea of value in the definition of marketing, which is “the relationship between what is paid and what is received, and can be increased or reduced by marketing activities.”2
Marketing involves a lot of issues to include the marketing mix, and these can be about selling and product development. A business organization must sell products to survive and to grow.
The marketing concept looks at the depth of selling which is searching for ways to satisfy the needs and wants of the customer. The organization has to find out what will satisfy customers, and create satisfying products.
The marketer must continue to apply innovations in marketing, selling and answering the complaints of customers. This is what they call continual improvement in the company’s product.32
New trends in supply chain include seeing to it that the customer longs and wants for a ‘remake’ of the product. In other words, it aims for the customer’s coming back to want for more.
That is customer loyalty. But customer satisfaction does not necessarily mean loyalty on the part of the customer. Many authors suggest that having a continuous communication with the customer is one step to loyalty. Customers have to be asked to rate the importance of particular attributes and performance levels of the product/s.
They have to be asked about their willingness to repurchase and to recommend the products bought. These steps can lead us to a thinking of customer loyalty.
As consumers, people make decisions and ultimately adopt products for use and consumption. Companies endeavor to educate their target customers. This is done through promotional activity which explains product usage, presents an image for the product and convinces customers that they have a reason to purchase.
Supply chain goes with the demand chain in order to see to it that complexities in the market are properly addressed. Demand chain points to a network of trading partners which include manufacturers and end users.
It is also linked to the customers who have to be consulted on the product quality. It starts with the manufacturer, goes to the customer or end user but has to link back to the manufacturer because the customers’ ideas and opinion regarding the product are significant.
In a research conducted by Edward Morash and Daniel Lynch4 , which involved surveys on global capabilities and performance measurement practices, they found that customer closeness is important in demand-oriented capabilities and performance.
Customer closeness is supported by responsiveness to customers and customization. The research also found that some supply chains are also experimenting with mass customization, which is a strategy that combines operational excellence with customer closeness.
Companies have to be flexible in dealing with customers, and should have the ability to change and react. Flexibility is defined as “the ability to change or react with little penalty in time, effort, cost or performance”.
A flexible organization should respond to rapid changes in product mix, delivery, or volumes demanded by the customer. Flexibility can also mean financial performance.
Customer interaction is now enhanced by technology and the internet or the World Wide Web. Customers can ask questions or complain through company websites which have many features.
Modern information technology used in supply chain includes Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which is the information transmission backbone of manufacturing companies and supply interfaces. The popularity of the Internet has led to the introduction of Internet-based EDI.
Supply chain management is traditionally focused on least-cost transaction, but the new trend in business-to-business transaction is long-term relationship. It is almost similar with customers and consumers. The question that is always in the mind of the marketing manager is: “will the customer come back?”
One significant strategy in meeting the needs and wants of customers is introducing an approach to supply chain that aims back at the customer. Satisfying their needs and wants is always a challenge to marketers. Knowing the customers’ needs have become a foundation for which a company is founded.
For a firm to be marketing orientated requires that a number of changes take place in organization, in practices and in attitudes. Implementing the marketing concept requires more than paying lip service to the ideas inherent in the concept.
Behavioral sciences can lead to an understanding of buyer behavior; another example is the development of quantitative and qualitative techniques of marketing research for analyzing and appraising markets.
Marketers have to be open to the customer and be customer focused.
A customer can be defined in several ways. For an airline company, a customer can be a travel agent, corporation, or consumer. For a pharmaceutical company, a customer might be a physician or a patient.
In other words, marketers have to manage and collate their interactions with different kinds of customers. Gathering the information for the company requires a lot of job to include networking with different organizations within the industry.
By having a database of customer information, firms can have a program of activities for innovations, or to change what are lacking in the supply chain.
From analyzing the customers’ information, companies can shift focus to analyzing what the future holds for the customer and the company. This may include determining if the customer may still want to deal with the company, or buy products from the company or shift to other competitors.
The information on the customer satisfaction is vital in the improvement and enhancement of the product. This information and data can be linked back to the manufacturer for further quality enhancement.
Customer focus is vital to the supply chain. The customer wants to be understood, and the marketer can interpret this by answering what he/she wants of the product.
The information can be inputted back to the customer for enhancement of the product. If it is service-oriented, the company has to modify the service.
A number of subjects have been emphasized in this essay – customer satisfaction, focus, loyalty and supply chain. Supply chain has to be always improved in order to attain customer satisfaction and loyalty, while customer focus can reflect satisfaction and loyalty.
An excellent supply chain management can attain customer satisfaction; at the same time, customer satisfaction may lead to loyalty, although satisfaction does not necessarily lead to loyalty.
Before loyalty can be attained, customer closeness is crucial; meaning some activities have to be geared towards contacting the customer in order to acquire more data and information about the product, and how the customer reacts to the product, including suggestions for improvement.
Acquiring more profits, which is one of the major goals of companies, seems to be not a sure goal. It is also one of the difficult objectives to achieve.
There are more and more products being manufactured everyday, but there are less customers who buy these products. Companies, or global business and organizations, have to find their segments and customers because they have more products to sell. There is a surplus of products and less customers.
In other words, organizations around the world compete to gain more customers, and one way of gaining more customers is to win their trust, answer and meet their needs and wants, and make sure that they come back.
It is not enough that they buy the company’s products; it is important that they come back. Customer satisfaction should be able to gain customer loyalty. A lifelong partnership between the company and the customer can make the company last a lifetime.
Supply chain is an important factor to consider in attaining customer satisfaction. When a product is being bought by a customer, it must be delivered quickly, with ease and comfort of delivery, and must have the desired quality that the customer asks for.
Blythe, Jim. Principles & Practice of Marketing. London: Thomson Learning, 2006).
Chan, John. Toward a unified view of customer relationship management. The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge [e-journal], Available through: Staffordshire University Library, 2005.
Jobber, David and George Lancaster. Selling and Sales Management, Sixth Edition. England: Pearson Education Limited, 2003.
1 John Chan, Toward a unified view of customer relationship management, The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge [e-journal], Available through: Staffordshire University Library, 2005.
2 Jim Blythe, Principles & Practice of Marketing (London: Thomson Learning, 2006), 5.
3 David Jobber and George Lancaster, Selling and Sales Management, Sixth Edition (England: Pearson Education Limited, 2003), 15.
4 David Jobber and George Lancaster, 15.