Changing Environments require changed thinking


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There is now a general recognition nationally and internationally, that a recession will follow in the wake of the corona virus pandemic, which will manifest itself in both a slowdown in demand and commercial activity in general.

Business development is all about change and successful managers of the marketing function have to be able to adapt to the changing requirements of the market. Markets are by nature dynamic, in that supply and demand are constantly evolving, resulting from the prevalent economic and environmental conditions and the changing requirements of customers. This means that the business development or marketing function, of every business must continually adapt, if it is to continue to produce profitable income for the long term future of the business.

Marketing is defined as “all those activities which anticipate and satisfy customer demand profitably”. Thus the marketing or business development function of any business, has the responsibility of producing all the profitable revenue for the business, using all its activities to anticipate and satisfy customer demand.

The prime responsibility of the commercial manager, as the executive in charge of all the business development or marketing activities including sales, is to generate and maximize sustainable profitable revenue for the business. The business development function is therefore the driving force for any commercial organisation in producing and maintaining its income. If they are to maintain and develop profitable income, commercial managers must be aware of the changing needs of customers and adapt their product or service and its delivery to satisfy them, At a time when demand is reduced, everyone has to work harder and maximize efficiency to ensure the continuing production of the necessary revenue. It follows that arbitrarily cutting expenditure on all those activities involved in getting and maintaining business may damage the ability to produce revenue, especially at a time when competition is likely to strengthen when demand is weakening. There are no quick answers for business development or marketing questions, and there is no “holy grail” of guaranteed success.

If commercial managers are to achieve and maximize sustainable profitable revenue for their organization, they must at all times look in two directions, one inward into the company, and the other outward to the market.
Commercial managers should initiate the following actions:

* Make an assessment of the market environment by undertaking analysis of the political, environmental social and technical aspects that affect customer demand.

* Produce a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the business.

* Complete a full marketing audit, in order to establish;
o the level of corporate marketing knowledge,
o to identify unsubstantiated assumptions.

To meet with the problems of the dynamic and changing market, the successful marketing manager must be clear minded in analysis and ruthless in decision making.

Every marketing action should be examined on its contribution to the overall marketing objective, and every marketing investment of time and money must be evaluated on how it will contribute to the business. Marketing performance must be monitored by marketers, using a measurement system that is based on key performance indicators and their specific revenue drivers, so that marketing actions may be adjusted to meet changing circumstances.

Commercial managers must be prepared to make changes in order to achieve success. Yesterday’s marketing solution may not fully answer today’s problem and may need adaptation to meet current conditions. The commercial manager must also be prepared for an uncomfortable ride. Staff may not like their assumptions to be questioned or have established practices to be examined. However, the commercial manager must be prepared to ask the awkward question, challenging the accepted perceptions and assumptions, and must continually question everything about the process of anticipating and satisfying the market profitably. Such questioning is not for the purpose of eliciting change for the sake of it, neither is it to create doubt and uncertainty, but to clarify thinking so that decisions may confidently be based on the best factual information. The only objective is to make and maximize sustainable profitable revenue. Short term profit will not do, if it compromises growth and sustainability. Continuous growth is essential for a business to merely stand still against the normal attrition caused by competitor activity and market changes. Even in small businesses those principles still apply. If the marketing department consists only of one individual, they must still consider every element of the marketing mix on the basis of its contribution to the generation of profitable revenue. The problem for the small business marketer is that having to undertake all the marketing disciplines themselves, they can often concentrate too much on specific activities, but lose sight of the ultimate need to generate sales and satisfy customers profitably.

The commercial manager cannot be successful in the overall objective of maximizing profitable sustainable revenue, without knowledge of the market, customer demand and competition. However, managers must also have the skill to successfully manage and direct the imagination, creativity, action and motivation of the marketing staff to anticipate and satisfy customer demand profitably. Ultimately, the only way to know whether the marketing function is efficient and effective, and whether the commercial manager has achieved the objectives, is to measure the results.

© N.C.Watkis, Contract Marketing Service 13 Oct 20

Nicholas Watkis, AE MA DipM CMC FCIM
Nicholas Watkis set up Contract Marketing Service in 1981, providing professional interim marketing management for a wide variety of businesses. Over 30 years practical experience in organizations, large and small, national and international, led to the development of Business Performance Maximized specialist in marketing performance measurement.


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