The evolution of marketing orientation, from production, product, sales, and now societal has meant that businesses need to adapt. It is no longer efficient or a good use of organisations resources to concentrate on what they think is best to produce and sell. The customer needs and wants should be at the heart of the organisation and all its activities.

Traditionally a business would have its individual departments who all had their own roles within the organisation. Finance, to ensure the revenue and profitability was secure and the pricing strategies viable. Production, to innovate and take charge of NPD (new product development) and decide on the product features within the capabilities of the businesses resources. Lastly personnel, to run the business and sell the products. Marketing was seen as a separate department that concentrated on advertising and promotional activity to shift stock and increase revenue and profits.

Marketing today (according to the CIM) is the process of identifying, anticipating and supplying customer requirements efficiently and profitably. The marketing model should have the customer at the heart of the organisation, then marketing surrounding it, and marketing then feeds into the other departments, always with the customer in mind. Through research (primary and secondary) and situational analysis (PESTEL and SWOT) marketing establishes segments within a market that will be the most worthy of targeting (i.e. large enough, accessible and profitable), it identifies what the needs and wants are of the segment in terms of the marketing mix (particularly the product, price and place P’s).

Once the needs and wants of the segment are identified, the marketing dept. can then adjust the marketing mix (tactics) and work with finance to determine the most appropriate pricing strategy, and can work with the sales team to determine which is the best selling strategy to adopt and where is the most convenient place to stock the products. They can work with production to augment a product that most fulfils the customer requirements within the resources and capabilities of the business.

Not only does marketing consider the customer but also when adopting a societal orientation considers the wider community as well. What effect does the business have on the local community and environment? What steps can the organisation take to minimise negative effects and enhance positive effects? For example, M and S were among the first to stop carrier bags and encourage reusable ones. This creates positive feelings among society towards the organisation and can help to build brand loyalty and secure the longer term position of the organisation as it provides a competitive edge. It also increases staff morale, to think that they are working for a forward thinking company who is prepared to take corporate social responsibility.

In order to compete and survive even, a business needs to consider how it can move towards a marketing and societal orientation. It is not an easy feat and takes commitment and solidarity of management as well as staff. The right expertise will need to be in place, the right infrastructure and of course resources. But in the long term it will secure the future of the business. Customers are much more advanced as buyers now and with the birth of the internet can easily compare products for features, cost and accessibility. They will quickly go elsewhere for their goods if a business does not give them what they need.