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CUSTOMER INSIGHT: Targeting the board

Even in large organisations, head of marketing is often not a board position. In small companies, marketing is frequently not even part of the initial business plan because the emphasis is on sales and ROI and marketing seems unquantifiable. Tight budgets and a lack of understanding of the discipline compound the problem, with the negative result that marketing is marginalised.

It is, however, a commercial imperative if SMEs are to outstrip the competition. “In a simple, non-competitive environment, all that is required is that a company sells its products,” says chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Christine Cryne. “But when competition creeps in and the scene becomes more complex, that is the time to do more than merely sell. Then you have to market.

“Without marketing, there would be no advertising, no market research, no database marketing, no brand management, no customer relationship management, no public relations, no effective new product development, no streamlined supply chain management, no key account management, and so on,” she says. A bleak picture.