Revisiting marketing in turbulent times

While the times have changed – the fundamentals of marketing haven’t.

Marketing is about change, maintaining the competitive advantage. Let’s review the basic steps in successful marketing for any company:

  • Your brand must have value and a clear explanation of your “unique value proposition.”
  • It has to be easy to make a contribution to your customer’s lives.
  • You must follow through on what you promised that your brand will deliver in terms of quality and value.
  • You must promote your brand effectively, as individuals tend to remember the things they see over and over again.
  • You must adapt your brand to the changing needs of customers.

If you do all these things, customers will continue to select your brand over competitive offerings, you will be able to command a premium price, and your customers will not have a reason to switch to another brand.

This strategy, while quite simple to understand, has to be practiced religiously and with a perpetual attention to changing customer requirements. In reality, while you are marketing a brand in the form of a product or service, you are essentially in the customer business!

Companies often confuse their purpose and think they are in the product business, not the customer business. You can have a great product, but without any customers, the quality of your product doesn’t even matter. Additionally, CEOs often become complacent and assume a hubris born of success.

The graveyard of once well-known brands that no longer exist grows every year. The landscape of empty buildings and closed shops in shopping malls are evidence of consumers transitioning from brick and mortar retailing to the faster, better, and cheaper online/on-the-go mobile marketing mode facilitated by a variety of smart devices.

The current secret to marketing success for any company today is to make it “easy” for consumers to buy your products. Amazon has capitalized on this with their “customer centric” strategy of “click and deliver” from the “everything store”.

So the question is – “How up to the times is your marketing”?

Robert M. Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. His consultancy business is called His corporate life was spent in executive positions with IBM, Pfizer and EXXON and then as the CEO for several U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinational firms. Professor Donnelly is on the faculty of Saint Peters University as well as Rushmore University, a global online university. His latest book is Personal Brand Planning for Life, available on Amazon. He also functions as an interim executive. You can contact him at or visit his website at