A Marketing Update for Stock Market Wizards

Finance professionals dominate the stock market scene, and though some of the younger players, or ones with exposure to sectors such as retail banking, may have some exposure to marketing, the veterans of analyzing securities have traditionally steered clear of anything to do with customers.

There are two important and new trends in marketing, which even stock market die-hards, with noses buried in numbers and graphs, cannot afford to ignore. Both trends are to do with customers and concern people from outside the function of marketing, as much as they do the teams which have been traditionally the front line between corporations and the market place.

Theoreticians and practitioners of management have begun to realize that customers are not just the responsibility of sales people. Indeed, some successful companies outsource the selling function to the lowest tier of their supply chains. However, sustained stock market success in the trying conditions of today, require that everyone from the CEO to blue-collar workers on shop floors, better keep their senses finely tuned to meeting customer needs better than the competition. Finance professionals, armed with ways of providing credit lines, and with influences on pricing decisions, can no longer look askance as their colleagues from marketing struggle for market shares and contributions to profits.

Technology is another driver of change in the way marketing is conducted nowadays. Satellites, computers, and the Internet, mean that corporations must function like Emergency Rooms in hospital-on the job, and ready to serve, even on Christmas Day! Old timers of the stock market may be accustomed to multiple tiers in sales teams, but customers now demand flatter organizations, with top quality service coming from the very top of the hierarchy. Customers can now engage not just senior marketing executives, but reach deep inside the engine rooms of the companies which seek to serve them.

There used to be a time when sales people would be provided with orientation courses in finance; the wheel has now come full circle. It is the turn of finance professionals, including ones ensconced in stock market interiors, to come out of their closets and to learn how to interact productively with customers. The latter have become everyone’s business!