The recent global economic downturn brings both challenges and opportunities for all businesses. Some businesses will survive and thrive in a tough economy and some will not. What categorizes some businesses as survivors is their vision to classify their scope as defined when seeking customers through marketing. First of all – the delineation of the marketing classification of a business must be made. Differentially does the business depend on global, regional, national or local customers?
Depending on answer to that question the focus for retaining and acquiring customers for that business changes. Because operating territory matters. If the company depends on global sales then they are better positioned to offset losses in certain areas and increased gains in new or emerging markets. If a company depends on local sales then they made be able to survive on sales because of the goodwill of their customers. Commonly in a tough global economy with consumers reluctant to spend their money on any item not considered absolutely necessary sometimes both the global and local businesses seem to fare better. It’s about relativity. For all businesses it is about long-term survival and then planning and execution related to making potential future profits.
For example: the Coca Cola Company has a long history of expansion that has led to marketing and selling their products to everyone globally. Coca Cola Company has actively sought new customers in new emerging markets as part of their marketing strategy for continued sales growth. The Coca Cola Company has also globally focused on emerging markets and used recent public focus points like the World Soccer Cup in South Africa and the Olympic Games in China to promote sales. It is interesting to note that Coca Cola Company now achieves the majority of profit in sales outside the United States because of their long-term view to focus on emerging economic areas of the world.
If a company operates in a predefined regional area then the potential for continuing profitability is somewhat reduced because of the restricted potential maximum number of customers in the potential sales market. Generally as the company restricts itself to a certain range territory and /or a certain economic strata relative to their potential customers within that the defined territory the potential for being affected in a tough economy increases greatly.
For example: Bells department store is a regional department store that is located in the Southern United States that has traditionally focused on identifying itself with a specific niche group (retail economic – middle class) and therefore cannot expand its marketing to easily promote its re- identification to new potential customers (retail economic -all levels) outside the original niche group easily.
These two business examples clearly show the difference of each company’s perspective towards marketing to retain and gaining customers. Because one company sought to appeal to a wider spectrum consumer base from the beginning (sales to all economic levels everywhere possible) and has made it a policy to be in emerging markets they have achieved greater economic long-term success despite the up’s and downs in global, regional, national and local economies. I see the other company (Bells) as initially restricting their mission marketing focus to a limited potential customer pool that future-wise may prove difficult to expand out of. It can be assumed that Bells department store chain will have a difficult time especially in periods of economic downturns because of their smaller potential customer pool. Their future attempts to enlarge out of their original predefined customer pool because of past marketing strategies and into a larger customer base for future sales will pose difficult at best.