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Fight The System?

By Dr. Burt Smith May 16th, 2010

watch_gears.jpgReally effective organizations recognize that marketing is not a department, but a philosophy that permeates every aspect of its operations. They don’t just decide to “do” some marketing, marketing impacts every decision that is made. Really great organizations are the by-product of great systems.

Marketing author Philip Kotler said, “The company that will win is the one with the best system.” To be competitive, we have to constantly look at every touch point, every interaction, and every component of the delivery of our brand into the mind and life of the customers we serve. We have to look at it as a system and work to hone the system so that it’s not only efficient, but is replicable across the organization, in multiple markets, etc.

Consider McDonald’s. We can probably think of a lot of restaurants where we can get a better burger, but because McDonald’s has dissected and continually improved every aspect of its system, it understands how to cost-effectively and consistently deliver a value “quick service” (which sounds better than “fast food”) experience anywhere in the world where we see the golden arches. The system involves how they buy, how they market, where they locate, and how they train their employees.

Wal-Mart is a similar example. They compete in the crowded retail sector in a number of categories, and though they sell the same merchandise as a lot of their competitors, they have the more efficient and more profitable system.

Note also how many small businesses fail because they’re overly dependent upon the owner. Because the owners don’t make deliberate efforts to replicate themselves, the business condemns itself to not being able to grow effectively and often creates its own undoing. As Michael Gerber describes in the E-Myth, small businesses can learn a lot from large ones. Great businesses are essentially the by-product of great systems.

Just as a brand is the sum total of the customer’s experiences with us, investing in a systemized approach to building those experiences will pay great dividends for us regardless of our industry!

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