Students in college-level marketing courses are often exposed to case studies that provide insight into important marketing lessons. One lesson that comes out of many cases students read is that marketers must be willing to change. The change may be in how they deal with customers or how they deal with suppliers or how they deal with the media, or thousands of other issues.
While understanding something needs to change is one thing, the decision to make the needed change is a much more difficult pill for many marketers to swallow. Why? Because making the adjustment often means moving away from something that was working and the company was comfortable doing. Moreover, the ultimate result of the adjustment may be hard to predict, especially if the change it is not easy for customers, suppliers or the company.
However, companies that run into roadblocks and are reluctant to change are not long for their industry. Eventually, things will catch up to them. For examples, look at Radio Shack, Blackberry, Kodak and many other companies who once dominated their market and now face tough times. These firms are struggling because they would not accept or did not recognize the changes their market demanded.
Yet, for the companies that do adjust, there can be a significant payoff – staying a relevant brand. For example, in this story from Advertising Age, the CMO of leading retailer, Target, discusses a number of adjustments the retailer as made due to a major credit card breach in 2013. Among the changes is acknowledging their target market is shifting from the suburban middle-class mom, who drives their minivan to the store each week, to customers who shop by mobile device. These changes signaled to Target the need to focus more effort on mobile and online shoppers. This has resulted not only in stronger security measures but also in a more aggressive online marketing effort.
Understandably these changes have not come easy, but Target's CMO seems to present a good case that Target is doing the right thing.
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