Today's Notables

The importance of Marketing (Part 1)

September 2002
Hisashi Furuichi
President and C.E.O.

The purpose of this period's management plan, Knowledge Mix 75, is to establish a corporate culture that capitalizes on each individual's abilities. Some employees may have already noticed some subtle changes. With only 3 months left in this accounting year, I would like to ask all employees to reevaluate their approach to their work in order that we may achieve this year's goals.

Now, more than ever, access to information is accurate and easy, and distribution systems have developed along those lines for better, faster distribution. This has taken competition beyond country borders. If the only consideration is cost, naturally, the thing to do is to move production to a country where labor is cheap. However, we have product and service in our power to control cost, but if a product is backed up by excellence in technology and reliability to the customer, cost may not be the deciding factor. Furthermore, if a customer comes to expect superior technology and reliability, and a company can meet those expectations, the more likely a customer will become a repeat buyer. That is what TK means by customer loyalty, and how we establish it.

To achieve this excellence, however, we need to establish a dynamic corporate culture that is conducive to the sharing of knowledge, and that thrives on individual talents and capabilities. The combination of this effort, translated in to an organized body of activity, is the "marketing" I am referring to.

Marketing, with an "ing" at the end, is the sum of activities and processes to create and sustain a market. In order to be successful in marketing, one must become immersed in relating to the customer while understanding their specific characteristics and be able to react accordingly. By doing so, one can be more finely in tune with understanding the customer's needs and become able to satisfy those needs with more technical expertise and better service than the competition. If such a customer response becomes possible, a company's product and service become more attractive to other buyers, essentially creating new market potential, which is the true meaning of the word "marketing".

I have had the opportunity during my career to study service marketing at length. I have used the opportunities to improve service and my understanding of it through my experience, as material for lectures and seminars. Based on this experience and with a firm focus on developing a system of marketing based on excellence in meeting customer needs, I would like to address the importance of service marketing.

First, one must understand what "service" entails. When someone says, "This is a service", we often think it is something extra, free of charge. Another meaning is the servicing of a machine that needs repair. This is not the "service" I am referring to. "Service" in the sense I am talking about is the combined and unified activities designed to meet the needs of a customer. As this series continues, I hope you will keep this definition of service in mind.

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