click on the link to go to that section of the Library.
Marketing is everyone’s job. Organizations that are
unfamiliar with marketing think of it as a box in an organizational
chart. Instead, marketing is more productively viewed as
what happens at every exchange between the organization
and the customer. My model of truly integrated marketing
shown below conveys some important concepts that the traditional
boxes-and-lines organizational charts do not.
The model conceptualizes the organization surrounding the
customer, with marketing being responsible for all points
–– call them “touchpoints” ––
where the various functional areas and the customer have
contact. Examples of touchpoints include:
- Communication tools (e.g., telephone, email)
- Yellow Page listings
- Building design
- Service staff
Managing these customer-organization interfaces is key
to the success of service-based businesses. How is this
model of the organization different from the traditional
- Most importantly, the centrality of the customer to
every organization is explicit. If you don’t have
customers, you don’t have a business; if your mental
model of your organization doesn’t include customers,
you won’t have a business.
- Second, the model emphasizes that marketing happens
at every customer interface. Marketing is a part of every
employee’s job, not the sole responsibility of a
- Third, it shows that marketing is responsible for monitoring
customers and markets, for providing feedback to the organization,
and for advocating organizational changes on behalf of
- Fourth, marketing “translates” the organization
to the market. From the customer’s viewpoint, this
means a seamless and satisfying experience. Achieving
this requires marketing to foster integration and coordination
among the organization’s various functions.
If you are good at thinking
in three dimensions then you get additional perspective
if you imagine the above model at the end of a “pipe”
— the third dimension being time. Buyers and sellers
are linked in a relationship over time. For most services
and technologies, this relationship begins well before the
sale and lasts until well after. The nurse sees the relationship
as beginning when the patient is admitted and ending when
he is discharged; the teacher sees the relationship with
the student as beginning and ending with the academic year;
the software installation team sees the sale as complete
once the software is operational. But, in each case, the
institutional relationship with the customer is bigger than
that. Marketing is responsible for the continuity
of the customers’ experience, and for optimizing and
sustaining the buy-sell relationship before, during, and
after every customer contact. This includes dismantling
organizational silos and facilitating every contact that
customers have with the organization’s service or
Strategic Marketing Management
One of my favorite questions
to ask in the final exam of my graduate class is, “Describe
how an iceberg is a metaphor for the discipline of marketing.”
The best answers say something to the effect of the following:
The lay person’s view of marketing is what one sees,
which is limited to the tip of the iceberg — namely,
advertising directed at the consumer. So it’s not
surprising that the word “marketing” is misused
by many as a synonym for advertising, communications, and
selling. However, 90% of an iceberg is invisible, just as
90% of strategic marketing is invisible, to the customer.
Beneath the surface are the market research and analyses,
and the strategic choices this information supports. These
myriad choices affect numerous variables, including:
- Qualities of the product/program/service being sold
- Distribution and channel decisions
- Monetary and non-monetary costs
The sum total of these strategic choices is substantially
more important than advertising and selling. This is evident
when the iceberg metaphor is extended. If you lop off the
tip of the iceberg (the marketing communications and selling
piece) it quickly sinks without a stable base to support
it! Like an iceberg, marketing is far bigger than just the
visible tip (brochures, ads, and selling). Integrated, contemporary
marketing is the massive foundation that optimizes and sustains
the buy-sell relationship before, during, and after every
customer contact. It’s this hidden part of the iceberg
(the market research and strategic decisions) that drives
demand. Advertising is only the tip of the iceberg and shouldn’t
be confused with the iceberg itself.
and Branding Research Examples
Customer Satisfaction Research
|JTWack & Company
conducted its first customer satisfaction research in 1982.
The topic? What was then a new product, personal computers.
The client? Consumer Reports
magazine for which we have done survey-based brand comparison
analyses in a host of product and service categories, including
HMOs, financial decision making, hotels, weight loss programs,
and the first national survey of users of condoms (in the
context of the AIDS crisis in the late 1980's).
In addition, we have customer-based performance assessment
programs underway with hospitals, medical practices, colleges,
and schools. The firm recently designed a satisfaction measurement
system tied to compensation for a major telecommunications
firm. We have also developed statistical models to predict
customers most likely to be lost so that our clients can
target retention interventions. In short, we have considerable
experience with satisfaction surveys and customer retention
studies — from questionnaire design and scale choices,
to creative data presentations and retention programming.
If you're new to satisfaction measurement, scroll down
to see an example of Importance-Performance (or quadrant)
Analysis. For this type of research, we obtain customers'
ratings of performance on selected criteria and then derive
statistically the relative importance of each criterion
to customers' overall satisfaction. The graphic below is
a powerful way for clients to see where performance is strong
and weak, and to identify those areas deserving more attention.
In this case, only five of what could be dozens of service
characteristics are located with respect to two dimensions:
their performance score, and their importance to customers.
The area that most draws managers' attention is at the lower
right, the area of high importance but low performance.
In this example, the client should focus on "responsiveness"
in order to improve overall satisfaction.
An extension of this approach, known as Value Analysis,
extends this idea to a competitive context: gauging satisfaction
in comparison to competitors.
Image or Brand Analysis
What is this Image Research stuff? A major component of
market analysis is the assessment of customers' perceptions
of the organization, and its products and/or services. This
assessment can take various forms, including:
- Image Analysis: How
customers perceive the client organization.
- Gap Analysis: A comparison
of the organization's image among key customer groups
(e.g., prospective/current customers) or relative to a
desired image (e.g., "75% of alumni should agree
we are diverse").
- Market Positioning:
A comparison of the client organization to its competitors.
JTWack & Company employs both qualitative and quantitative
techniques when it conducts market research. In the qualitative
mode, individual depth interviews or focus groups can yield
insights into customers' views. Qualitative research usually
complements quantitative research. It can be used to guide
the development of questions or assist in developing a deeper
understanding of the quantitative results. Quantitative
techniques generally refer to surveys and the means (paper,
phone, web) of data collection.
Simple Image Analysis
Quantitative studies of image build from multivariate research
techniques developed in cognitive and social psychology.
Briefly, attributes relevant to the client organization
are identified (e.g., well-known, leader, large). Then a
sample (usually a minimum of several hundred is desirable
for statistical precision) is drawn and one of several techniques
is used to measure respondents' perceptions via a survey.
The key measure is the average image. The chart below is
one way of showing the organization's image in a graphical,
tangible way that moves the discussion out of the realm
of opinion and toward objectivity. In addition to the mean,
sometimes the amount of variation informs the degree of
market consensus or uniformity of view.
Gap Analysis and Market Positioning
Gap segmentation (or profiling) and positioning studies
are extensions of simple Image Analysis. Gap Analysis refers
to the comparison of images held by different groups, and
Market Positioning is a comparison of the organization's
image to that of competitors. Consider the graphic below.
In the context of a Gap Analysis, profiles A and B might
represent the images of the organization held by two different
groups or constituencies. Examples in an educational setting
might include the school's younger alumni versus older alumni,
or faculty versus students, or students accepting versus
In the above example, groups A and B differ most in their
views of the institution with respect to the characteristics
nearer the top and share greater consensus with respect
to the items nearer the bottom. These results would provoke
a number of important strategic questions, including:
- "Are we OK with the groups' discrepant images with
respect to those items nearer the top?"
- "In the areas where there is consensus, is that
the image we want to have, or do we want to drive the
image in a different direction?"
Answers to these questions begin to drive strategy. In
most cases, the first question applies to every item, whether
the perception reflects reality or not. Depending on the
answer, the solution to changing image lies with resetting
perceptions through communications, or with changing reality,
Extensions to the Model
JTWack & Company can extend the above general approaches
in numerous ways (e.g., compare more than two groups' views).
Indeed, in the case of a positioning study, there are usually
several organizations being compared.
Another use: Many corporate clients track image annually.
In these cases, line A could represent the baseline, and
line B the measure of change the following year.
In one school's survey of its alumni, line A was "their
views of the school when they attended" and B was "their
views of the school today." This proved an interesting
way to gauge in what areas alumni viewed the school had
changed. There was also a line C, which represented how
alumni would like the school to be viewed. The gaps between
current and desired views helped guide image priorities.
Quantitative techniques offer several advantages in Image
Analysis over qualitative approaches alone. For instance,
quantitative image measurement permits organizations to:
- Test the relevance of specific aspects of image.
- Make more precise statements (e.g., twice as many people
view us as _____ than _____).
- Characterize differences in the views among market
segments more accurately.
- Obtain an objective picture that helps management, staff,
and boards move quickly beyond personal opinion and "gut
feelings," to agreement on image goals.
Alumni and Donor
At virtually every educational institution and nonprofit
organization, the number of donors and prospects grows each
year. Development officers know well the interests and inclinations
of the very top donors and prospects, but how does one learn
about the hundreds and thousands of others who could become
the large donors of the future? Development professionals
increasingly use scientific surveys to objectively measure
variables that are critical to building and maintaining
the affinity of donors and prospects. These surveys provide
information about a variety of areas, including:
- Program planning
- Publication readership
- Giving patterns
- Philanthropic interests
JTWack & Company has conducted dozens of surveys among
the donors and prospects of colleges, secondary schools,
and community foundations.
To see a partial list of our dozens of educational and
community foundation clients, click here.
“Old marketing says to shout louder. New Marketing
says to listen better and act smarter.”