I caught up on some reading last week. One of the things in my stack was the August 2010 Marketing Analysis Report produced by Ted Magazine (The Electrical Distributor) . There were a few disconnects in the report that jumped out at me in light of some other readings and based on some of what I learned this year through my involvement with Tennessee’s state Baldrige program (TNCPE).
One of my biggest learnings was that good companies have what Baldrige refers to as a Voice of the Customer system. Kotler refers to it as a Marketing Information System. The terms mean the same thing. They are a system for collecting, analyzing, and then using everything you know about customers. But in Baldrige the emphasis is on ensuring that you actually listen to the customer. Research the market and competitors. Talk to your competitors’ customers. Then aggregate and analyze all that you learned. Use that information in your planning. Because if you base your plans on who you think your customers are, what you think they want, and where you think the market is going there is more than a small chance that you are wrong.
Jay Baer makes several interesting observations about the use of anecdotal marketing information in his Why Looking in the Mirror Make an Ass Out of U and Me post. He specifically speaks of how many companies aren’t exploring social media marketing because company leaders don’t feel that their companies are using it.
The tED-MAR study seems to provide pretty solid evidence that the electrical wholesaling industry has taken a position based on anecdotal evidence. In the report less than 10% of manufacturers or distributors said they actively use social networking as part of their marketing efforts. Coincidentally less than 30% of distributors ranked themselves 8 or higher on a 10 point scale on either relying on market research or on developing and implementing strategic marketing plans.
The web provides so many easy ways to gather data. It is really being lazy not try something. Even marketers with no budget can employ tools like the Net Promoter Score I covered in a previous post.