Should an organization predominantly use its brand as a platform to go to market, or should it center on customers as the unit of focus?
In today’s saturated product markets, where physical product differences are often marginal and customers expect their myriad desires and needs to be satisfied, companies need to make a clear choice with respect to their marketing strategies and tactics in order to make their offerings distinctive and achieve the required margins. They must decide what aspect they should stress on when they develop and roll out their marketing strategies, given that a go-to market approach can focus on very different elements.
In the older days, the focus was solely on the product itself, with little regard to targeting and positioning. Then it evolved and brand management was the obvious next step in responding to evolving markets and consumer’s needs particularly for differentiation and brand identification. And now the scenario has changed where customer management has become the corporate mantra, with companies seeking to interact on a one-on-one basis with customers.
In view of this evolution, it is interesting to observe that while some companies take a predominantly brand management approach in today’s environment, others have a customer management in dealing with the market, and a combination of both is used by yet a third group. From an organizational point of view, the two approaches, brand management and customer management, require very different capabilities and skill-sets. If an organization is to make the best use of limited resources, it needs to know under which conditions it should adopt brand management as its focal go-to-market approach and when it should not.