December 16, 2008

Marketing is an outward looking process. Seldom does one come across great marketing ideas by looking inwards. Great marketing is evolutionary in nature and thrives on new ideas and new ways of fulfilling customer needs and building relationships.

When a marketing deadlock is encountered, often the first reaction is to look inward to find a solution. Solution that comes from inward looking process is generally of the nature of short gap damage control. Breakthrough ideas are a result of looking beyond the routine pattern of looking at things.

What does looking outward mean? It means looking outside your company and industry to get breakthrough ideas. It means looking at your customers as well as customers of your competitors. It means looking at society beyond your target segment. In simple language, looking outward is a process of continuous learning from others to discover insights that can take your marketing to a higher level. It means drifting away from the tried and tested but routine path to explore possibilities which are not yet known to you.

There is an excellent example for this outward looking approach in the form of astounding success of mobile telephony sector in India. Marketers at almost all mobile telephony companies looked outward and borrowed marketing ideas from FMCG sector. Just imagine where mobile telephony would have been in India had they not adopted FMCG marketing tricks like building volumes through small pack offering (small value mobile recharge), distribution through grocery stores and roadside stalls of tea and paan (betel) shops, co-branding (bundled package through tie up with mobile handset brands), and value pricing strategy.

So next time you face a marketing dilemma, don't hesitate to look outside your company and industry for breakthrough ideas. In marketing, future belongs to those who are willing to explore ideas beyond their circle of operation.