"Slater & Narver (1994) stated that a marketing orientation is a particular form of organizational culture. This culture can be characterized as having a focus on interactions with one’s customers and then looking within the organization to explore how the knowledge gained from these interactions can be integrated with existing capacities and experience to build organizational responses - whether they be product or service offerings, communication campaigns, or policy initiatives (Ind & Bjerke, 2007). Several surveys of businesses that vary in their consumer orientations have found that in addition to achieving the stated objective of delivering more value to customers, a market orientation is positively related to overall business performance, the commitment of employees to the organization, and those employees’ overall attitude and job satisfaction. The same surveys also identified that without top management support, an ability to tolerate risk among top managers, interdepartmental connectedness, a moderate level of centralization, and the orientation of reward systems that support a consumer focus, most organizations will not be able to adopt this cultural practice (Ind & Bjerke, 2007).
Even with the best of intentions, the introduction of social marketing practice - one centered around people - can run into a number of problems. Among the major barriers identified by Lefebvre (1992) are:
♣ A poorly defined organizational mission and objectives (usually due to a lack of consensus and inadequate consumer assessment.
♣ A lack of understanding about and focus on key priority groups and stakeholders.
♣ Political and professional pressures that supersede consumer needs.
♣ Organizational biases that favor expert-driven programs.
♣ The influence of intermediaries who seek to shape program objectives and offerings to meet their own agendas.
♣ A sense of urgency that often accompanies new initiatives and serves as a rationalization for shortcuts.
Ind and Bjerke (2007) outlined a three-step process for addressing some of the barriers to achieving what they refer to as a participatory market orientation within an organization.
1. Recognize the organization-wide responsibility to gather information about, and especially insights into, the various markets that could be better served.
2. Develop the ability and systems to connect people internally in developing responses to this market information that are consistent with the organization’s vision and values.
3. Mobilize organizational and stakeholder resources into action.
Ind and Bjerke also pointed out that the inability to collect meaningful and usable insights, the failure to share them with others in the organization in a meaningful and timely fashion, and the further failure to galvanize organizational actions to deliver resources in response to these insights are additional barriers to achieving a market orientation.
Although there are dozens of books about managing the marketing functions in nonprofit and commercial organizations, there is very little in the social marketing literature that addresses management questions. Lefebvre (1992) suggests the use of a marketing audit to identify organizational strengths and weaknesses as they relate to social marketing functions. The results of this audit do not necessarily lead to a wholesale reorganization of the agency; rather, staff can focus on addressing as many, or as few, areas that need attention as resources and other agency demands allow. In addition, such a process should have its own internal marketing plan with achievable objectives for adopting certain social marketing practices and time frames for their accomplishment."
From: Lefebvre, R.C (in press). Social marketing and social change: Strategies and tools for improving health, well-being and the environment (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, expected 2013). Link
Ind, N., & Bjerke, R. (2007). The concept of participatory market orientation: An organization-wide approach to enhancing brand equity. Brand Management; 15:135–145.
Lefebvre, R. C. (1992). Social marketing and health promotion. In R. Bunton & G. Macdonald ( Eds.), Health promotion: Disciplines and diversity. London: Routledge, pp. 153–181.
Slater, S.F., & Narver, J.C. (1994). Does competitive environment moderate the market orientation-performance relationship? Journal of Marketing; 58:46-55.