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Marketing Malpractice­ the Cause and the Cure

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Submitted By AchalaK
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Portland State University

ETM 555/655

Winter 2016

Marketing Malpractice­ The Cause and the Cure
[C
hristensen, Clayton M., Scott Cook, and Taddy Hall. "Marketing malpractice."
Harvard
business review vol. 83, no.12, pp. 74­83, 2005.]

READING BRIEF #2:
Dt­ 2/16/2016

COURSE:
ETM 522/622

INSTRUCTOR:
Prof. Shimon Shmueli

PREPARED BY:

Achala Kaushikkar

Page 1 of 4

Portland State University

ETM 555/655

Winter 2016

ARTICLE OVERVIEW
This paper by Christensen, Cook and Hall is a mock up marketing customs and practices that are adopted by several organizations to launch appealing quality products every year in the market. However that fact that most don't make it big despite of magnanimous money and vivid creativity behind its promotion, becomes a mystery with a alarming concern. The mere argumentation by this article revolves around the concept of broken prototype of customer segmentation under marketing, which becomes the reason for the failure of products as they fail to respond to the demanding customer segments. The authors claim that products designed and launched, unfortunately do not accomplish the job, a customer is yearning to get done. It simply can be translated as the products and marketers often solve the wrong problems, improving their products in ways that are irrelevant to their customer needs[1]. In an attempt to demonstrate rectification measures for the malpractices under marketing and segmentation this article has divided its sections into ‘building brands and products that do the job’, ‘Purpose branding’, ‘Role of advertising’ and lastly strategies of extending a purpose brand via ‘applying purpose brand’ and ‘evolving and creating collateral brand’
The paper further drifts towards the necessary concept where the job, that constitutes a social, functional and emotional dimension should be adopted as the central focus by a marketer while designing a product [1]. And that such attempt can influence the improvements in the product for future reference. It states that companies need to segment the market by job rather than by categories of customers, in order to get maximum market share. Extending the need of focus on customers and job­defined services, the article introduces concept of
‘Purpose branding’ via achieving a brand purpose. article identifies that building a brand, tied by a clear The purpose can guide customers to have the right product. Furthermore, it guides the marketer to elevate the features and functionality of product more relevant to the job and thus strengthen the brand equity over time
.
The paper cites two different examples where 1. Kodak used ‘purpose branding’ i.e. targeting a job the customer would want to accomplish with a product they can provide : a single­use camera and a digital camera that made picture sharing, an effortless task and 2. Arm & Hammer, who were able to see that the customers were actually using their product to accomplish tasks over and above the purpose that the baking powder was intended for, eg. with toothpaste, cleaning carpets etc.
Speaking of ‘extending a purpose brand’, the article argues that when a purpose brand is extended to products that target different jobs, irrelevant to its purpose, it becomes an endorser brand responsible for the erosion of the brand value[1]. in last section as the focus shifts, the authors have explained the role of advertising.
It
According to the article advertising brings out the value of the product to the intended audience and makes it clear that the enhancements in the product are relevant to the job that the customers are wanting to accomplish
.
Lastly paper brilliantly concludes with the automotive industry as an example where none of the brands the stand out when the customer wants their prospective car to achieve one specific purpose, and the choice between the various brands becomes very difficult.

KEY LEARNING POINTS
The article explains that marketers segment the market into categories and customize product to appeal to the stereotype person in those categories but the stereotype might not be a good representation. Marketers should look at what kind of tasks are the majority of users looking to accomplish, and then come up with products that would help the customer accomplish the job more efficiently and easily, and at a price that would be appropriate. Creating products or improving them in a way the customers don’t care doesn’t make successful business. issue lies brand owners’ vague perspective of their brand purpose and amidst all the extensions
The
the unneeded launch to meet needs other than the needs the original product was supposed to deliver[1] he
.
T
authors thus specify that an intelligent chunk of researchers should be put together to figure out what jobs are the customers looking to get done vs what service is their product accomplishing. It concludes that the
‘job­specific’ market and not the ‘product­defined’ market, from the customer's’ point of view is the guidance to designing a product, that justifies its perceived usage. Eg. the job description that the people hired the milkshakes for, was that they had long commutes and they needed something that would keep them busy, keep the hunger away temporarily, and be easy to consume with one hand, rather than the taste, quality and flavour of the milkshake. With this example the paper argues that trying to be good at the job that the customer wants
Page 2 of 4

Portland State University

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Winter 2016

to hire the product for, actually expands the categories of customers, while starting with categories actually shrinks the market share to the stereotype. In the case of a lack of clear and apparent purpose for the product, people might hire it to do things it is not intended for, and thus end up disappointed, which hurts the brand equity for the product.Paper has also pointed out that some brands have an emotional impact on the customers that might be above and beyond the actual functional value, and thus they might recall the product in order to recall or feel the same emotions. Examples of these brands, called aspirational brands in the paper, are Gucci,
Absolut, Montblanc, and Virgin. In some cases, even though the product might have been created with a real problem in mind, the intended audience may not perceive it for what it is, in which case advertising and branding plays a big role in getting it to the people who who need the product and might not even have realized it. Soupy snax­4:00 from Unilever is brilliantly quoted as an example of this
. Thus it concludes that
Advertising clarifies the nature of the job and reminds customers they have a job to get done, but advertising itself does not build brands. At the same time the paper warns companies against trying to build a brand solely through advertising, which ends up making the brand very vague.
Under the strategies of extending a purpose brand, the article concludes that over time, the power of an endorser brand will surely erode unless the company creates a new purpose brand for each new job, even as it leverages the endorser brand as an overall marker of quality. Different jobs demand different purpose brands[1]. Marriott has been stated as an example of a brand that did this successfully and Milwaukee Electric
Tool as one where the purpose brand didn’t work out well as an endorsement brand but continued to hold value as the purpose brand for the original product.
FOLLOW­ON RESEARCH
Predominantly, the main article has titled products (eg. Fed Ex, Starbucks, ebay) that were born out of a need or desire of the end users to accomplish a certain task, that ultimately made the product more efficient, aka a
‘purpose brand’. In other words, marketers created a product and its model in such a way that got the customers’ jobs done and hence were hired. Further research from an article extends the key phenomenon that customer satisfaction is often supremely overruled, and thus companies need to recognize what needs the customers are trying to accomplish with a certain product or service.[2] The companies need to tailor the product or service to those needs of the customer, as well as leverage marketing and advertising to ensure that the customers get the right idea when they come across the product. In some cases the need might be something that most customers overlook or take for granted, and in this case advertising plays an even bigger role. The paper proposes idea of ‘service­logic’ perspective, which proposes that products and services both be combined into one category ‘offerings’, since the end goal of either of those is to service a certain need of the customer, and that is what their success depends on. [2] The article also conveys that coming up with new ideas to address the need of the customer in ways that it has never been addressed before, and making them efficient in a way that has never been done before, is real innovation.
IMPLICATIONS
This article has highlighted a very interesting reality of market and new products. In summation it tries to indicate that the industry doesn’t seem to follow any of the rules of purpose brand or effective market segmentation, and thus most brands suffer. The article implies that marketers should focus on better ways of market segmentation and new product innovation that meets customer’s satisfaction to get a certain job done.
Three steps to achieve this, can be listed as 1.Marketers should have clear job specs, 2.Brands should be build on platform of purpose, 3.Marketers should focus more on demanding customer segments for a particular job.
Companies look at the product from their point of view, and market it as such, and make improvements that would showcase their work, and not the work customers would want to get done with the product. Conversely building a brand that unambiguously suits the discovered job, is the need of today’s marketing. The follow up research and the main article ties the concept of product innovation that primarily is nothing but implementing customer's demand for a enhancing the job value. And attempts should be made to design innovation that arrives superior to existing servicing. Thus the paper in its final section implies that extending a brand to a product that eventually serves the same purpose, but in different forms or appealing to different kinds of customers, might end up increasing the perceived value of the brand, but must be done after careful consideration. Page 3 of 4

Portland State University

ETM 555/655

Winter 2016

REFERENCES
[1] Christensen, Clayton M., Scott Cook, and Taddy Hall. "Marketing malpractice."
Harvard business review vol. 83, no. 12, pp. 74­83, 2005.
[2] S. Michel, S. Brown and A. Gallan, "Service­Logic innovations: How to Innovate Customers, Not
Products",
California Management Review
, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 49­65, 2008.

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