Die Krise des Marketings

26. July 2013

Wenn die Marketing Manager so viel Kompetenz haben wie der Autor des Artikels, wundert er mich nicht, dass sie keinen Einfluss in ihren Unternehmen mehr haben. (hfk)


Von Thorsten Hennig-Thurau

Die einstige Königsdisziplin gilt in vielen Unternehmen nur noch als Beiwerk. Schuld sind kurzsichtige CEOs, aber auch die Zunft selbst. Ein Weckruf.

Beginnen wir mit einer recht niederschmetternden Feststellung: Das Marketing ist heute in vielen Unternehmen keine treibende Kraft. Zwei Drittel der Vorstandsvorsitzenden der größten deutschen Unternehmen sind Naturwissenschaftler, Ingenieure oder Juristen, nur jeder fünfte CEO hat zuvor im Marketing gearbeitet. Und es kommt noch schlimmer: Nur 10 Prozent aller CEOs gaben laut einer Fournaise-Studie an, die Arbeit ihrer Marketingmanager zu schätzen. Da scheint es fast schon konsequent, dass einige Firmen wie beispielsweise der US-amerikanische Online-Dienst AOL, der Unterhaltungskonzern Walt Disney und der Unterhaltungselektronikhändler Best Buy Marketing als Vorstandsaufgabe für überflüssig halten. Marketing ist in vielen Unternehmen zu einer Unterabteilung degradiert worden, die gerade mal als Schnittstelle mit der Werbeagentur fungiert oder die operative Preissetzung übernimmt.

Dabei war Marketing doch eigentlich ganz anders gedacht. Wie hat es die Managementlegende Peter Drucker so treffend gesagt: Marketing ist die gesamte Geschäftstätigkeit, betrachtet aus der Ergebnisperspektive – nämlich der des Kunden. Der amerikanische Ökonom Philip Kotler und der Münsteraner Marketingpionier Heribert Meffert haben daraus das Konzept der marktorientierten Unternehmensführung gebaut, nach der nur erfolgreich sein wird, wer sich ganzheitlich an den Wünschen und Bedürfnissen der Kunden orientiert und entsprechende Angebote macht. Mit anderen Worten: Kundenorientierung ist der Dreh- und Angelpunkt für erfolgreiches Wirtschaften, und Kundenzufriedenheit ist die maßgebliche Grundlage für finanziellen Erfolg. Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking twice about price

26. July 2013

Date: 25-07-2013
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

In an age of austerity businesses need to get better at charging more

WHEN bosses promise to make their companies more profitable they usually say they will do so by increasing sales or cutting costs. But a third road to profits is rarely mentioned: putting prices up. Managers often fail to ask how they might do better at plucking the goose to obtain the most feathers with the least hissing. The spiel from the management consultants who advise companies on pricing—whether specialists like Simon-Kucher or giant generalists like PWC—is that it is now more vital than ever to be smart at it. In today’s austere age many businesses cannot depend on rising sales volumes to lift their profits. As for cutting costs, most have already pared them to the bone. Prices are all that is left. And a business can do a lot with clever pricing, to boost its share of the limited spending-power that is out there.

Makers of high-tech products such as smartphones can opt to add whizzy new features and push up prices. In the case of luxury goods, their exclusivity is a large part of their appeal, and this in turn is a function of their price, so firms usually have scope for limiting supply and charging more: Ferrari, a sports-car maker, and Mulberry, a purveyor of posh bags, have both recently signalled that they plan to do just that. But raising prices by making products better or more exclusive is a strategic decision, open to only a few types of business. For all sorts of mundane goods and services there is much that can be done tactically, the consultants say, to charge more for the same thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Brand new: Emerging-market companies are trying to build global brands

3. August 2012

Date: 03-08-2012
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

AMERICANS can stop worrying about China’s plans to take over their country. The worst has already happened: on July 25th Lenovo, a Chinese computer firm, announced a deal to sponsor the National Football League. America will continue to provide muscle-bound linebackers, but the Chinese will provide the clever laptops and desktops that make their tussles possible.

Lenovo was founded in 1984 by 11 engineers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who wanted to supplement their meagre stipends. It spent years building its business in China. But then in 2005 it burst onto the global scene—and rattled America’s Congress—when it bought IBM’s ThinkPad personal-computer business. The company is now the second-largest PC maker in the world and hopes to grab the top spot from Hewlett-Packard soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Consumer Data, but Not for Consumers

22. July 2012

Date: 22-07-2012
Source: The New York Times

BUPKIS. Zilch. Zip. Niente. Zero. Nada.

I recently asked to see the information held about me by the Acxiom Corporation, a database marketing company that collects and sells details about consumers’ financial status, shopping and recreational activities to banks, retailers, automakers and other businesses. In investor presentations and interviews, Acxiom executives have said that the company — the subject of a Sunday Business article last month — has information on about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. Acxiom also promotes a program for consumers who wish to see the information the company has on them.

As a former pharmaceuticals industry reporter who has researched all kinds of diseases, drugs and quack cures online, I wanted to learn, for one, whether Acxiom had pegged me as concerned about arthritis, diabetes or allergies. Acxiom also has a proprietary household classification system that places people in one of 70 socioeconomic categories, like “Downtown Dwellers” or “Flush Families,” and I hoped to discover the caste to which it had assigned me.

But after I filled out an online request form and sent a personal check for $5 to cover the processing fee, the company simply sent me a list of some of my previous residential addresses. In other words, rather than learning the details about myself that marketers might use to profile and judge me, I received information I knew already. Read the rest of this entry »

The Customer as a God

22. July 2012

Date: 22-07-2012
Source: The Wall Street Journal
 Businesses today tend to herd customers as if they were cattle, but a revolution in personal empowerment is under way—and buying will never be the same again. .

Businesses today tend to herd customers as if they were cattle, but a revolution in personal empowerment is under way-and buying will never be the same again, says author Doc Searls. He discusses his new book, “The Intention Economy,” with WSJ’s Gary Rosen.

It’s a Saturday morning in 2022, and you’re trying to decide what to wear to the dinner party you’re throwing that evening. All the clothes hanging in your closet are “smart”—that is, they can tell you when you last wore them, what else you wore them with, and where and when they were last cleaned. Some do this with microchips. Others have tiny printed tags that you can scan on your hand-held device.

As you prepare for your guests, you discover that your espresso machine isn’t working and you need another one. So you pull the same hand-held device from your pocket, scan the little square code on the back of the machine, and tell your hand-held, by voice, that this one is broken and you need another one, to rent or buy. An “intentcast” goes out to the marketplace, revealing only what’s required to attract offers. No personal information is revealed, except to vendors with whom you already have a trusted relationship.

Within a minute offers come in, displayed on your device. You compare the offers and pick an espresso machine to rent from a reputable vendor who also can fix your old one. When the replacement arrives, the delivery service scans and picks up the broken machine and transports it to the vendor, who has agreed to your service conditions by committing not to share any of your data with other parties and not to put you on a list for promotional messages. The agreement happened automatically when your intentcast went out and your terms matched up with the vendor’s. Read the rest of this entry »

13 reasons why your startup will fail:

29. February 2012

As a co-founder of five startups and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, David Feinleib has seen both sides of the startup world.

From 2009 to 2011, he was a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, where he got his fair share of terrible pitches.

He’s also an entrepreneur. He’s sold two startups, Consera (to HP) and onDevice (to Keynote Systems), and is still running three others he cofounded: Speechpad, Onepo.st, and Likewise.

Despite his success as an entrepreneur, Feinleib felt like everyone was focusing on all their attention on the startups who made it big like Facebook. The reality is that eight out of 10 business fail in their first three years and venture capitalists only fund the top 1 percent of pitches they see, he said.

In 2008, he wrote a blog post, Why Startups Fail. The post got so much attention that Feinleib decided to turn it into a book called Why Startups Fail: And How Yours Can Succeed, which was published in December.

Feinleib gave us a cheat sheet and told us 13 things startups do that make them fail:

  • There’s no place for your product: “Investors are fond of debating which they care about more: the market or the entrepreneur. The reality is, great entrepreneurs find great markets. Many startups never achieve the elusive product-market fit. Some companies, like Facebook and Zynga, find product-market fit right out of the gate. Or at least they appear to. Others, like Intuit, go along for years until they crack the code.” 
 Read the rest of this entry »

How Target Knew a High School Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Parents Did

21. February 2012

Date: 21-02-2012
Source: TIME

In Charles Duhigg’s new piece for the New York Times, a father finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to apologize to a Target employee. Earlier he had stormed into a store near Minneapolis and complained to the manager that his daughter was receiving coupons for cribs and baby clothes in the mail.

Turns out Target knew his daughter better than he did. She really was pregnant.

It was a fact Target had obtained after carefully collecting information about her. The company, like many others, assigns each shopper a unique Guest ID. Every time you buy toilet paper with a credit card, visit its website, fill out a survey or, really, interact with the retailer in any way, Target assigns this information to that ID. Read the rest of this entry »

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

20. February 2012

Date: 19-02-2012
Source: The New York Times

Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Pole has a master’s degree in statistics and another in economics, and has been obsessed with the intersection of data and human behavior most of his life. His parents were teachers in North Dakota, and while other kids were going to 4-H, Pole was doing algebra and writing computer programs. “The stereotype of a math nerd is true,” he told me when I spoke with him last year. “I kind of like going out and evangelizing analytics.”

As the marketers explained to Pole — and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop — new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target — cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Capitalism is a Thing of Beauty

23. August 2010

13. August 2010, 18:06:13 | Chris Meyer & Julia Kirby

Over the past year, we’ve been researching a book on how capitalism will evolve now that its center of gravity is moving away from mature, western economies. Looking around the world for companies that hint at capitalism’s next phase, we’ve tended to focus on businesses that an economist would say belong to an “emerging” stage of development — an ambulance service in Mumbai, for example, or aircraft manufacturer in Brazil. It hadn’t occurred to us that the cosmetics industry might be a source of inspiration.

It’s an industry, after all, that is so easy to see as representing the ugly excesses of the old capitalism. Made up of large companies who spend billions to create brands that delude us with illusions of eternal youth, its main achievement has been to create marketing channels capable of selling elaborate packaging (as well as some useful products, we acknowledge) at huge margins. If the best argument for capitalism is that it allocates resources efficiently, the cosmetics industry would not seem to be Exhibit A. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Wave Decision Shows Strong Innovation Management

6. August 2010

11:26 AM Thursday August 5, 2010
by Karim R. Lakhani  | Comments ( 11)

Some tech pundits were surprised that Google decided to shut down Wave yesterday just a year after its launch and chastised the company for its decision. But I’m not surprised and I applaud the company’s decision to pull the plug after it was clear the market wasn’t interested in Wave. From my vantage point as someone who studies innovation, Google’s decision was exactly the right move and provides some very important lessons for managing innovation in both small and large organizations.

The first lesson, of course, is that uncertainty haunts all innovation attempts. Charles Kettering, inventor and VP of R&D and Board Member of GM (1920-1947) famously noted that when it comes to innovation: “You don’t know when you are going to get the thing, whether its going to work or not and whether its going to have any value whatsoever.” In essence Kettering implied that any innovation attempt faces a combination of temporal, technical and market uncertainty. Even a company like Google, recognized for its wealth of intellectual talent in its employees, was not able to figure out before hand if there would be a market for Wave. Some types of uncertainties are simply not resolvable before the fact, and the only true way to find out is to make the investment and launch an innovative product in the market place. Google should be applauded and rewarded for pioneering a risky project and publicly launching it so that it can learn from the market.
Read the rest of this entry »