The “Commercialization” Responsibility of Marketers

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Marketers have a wide array of responsibilities, which may range from overseeing advertising efforts to developing a promotional program to setting budgets for future marketing campaigns.

Commercialization is one of the most important role for marketers, and it’s only beginning to be defined and understood. By this, I don’t just mean a go-to-market strategy, but rather, creating new revenue streams to help grow the business especially in multi-brand companies where collaboration is key to effectively managing resources and expanding the business.

The purpose of a business is to create a customer. – Peter Drucker

The business strategist Peter Drucker believed that the purpose of business is to create a customer, thereby creating profit, and the most important functions he deemed are innovation and marketing because they contributed directly to creating this profit and other functions are considered cost centers.

This is a really interesting role, and the one most fulfilling for me. At the end of the day, when you set aside the efforts placed in communications and marketing programs, I believe the role of the marketer is to grow the business. As a matter of fact, any business role should be geared toward generating revenue directly or indirectly, but there is a higher expectation for marketers to be responsible for this because of their expertise in market strategy, consumer relationships and selling product.

Young marketers in the beginning of their careers may not understand what commercialization is about. If your role requires you to create profit for the company, here are some ideas on where to start:

  • Ask: Who is your company’s “growth customer”?
    • Brands typically have specific target audiences that have been well-defined and backed by sophisticated consumer insight research from marketing research firms. Marketing efforts are primarily focused on reaching and nurturing this target audience. However, there will come a point where revenues from this customer will plateau or decline, if it’s not already happening now. Consumers can only buy so much of a given product, even if it’s as good as chocolate or cheese. Beyond increasing usage occasions for their products, marketers need to start thinking about new customers to whom they can sell their product. It could be thinking about a completely new demographic (ie. families that make up of members with disposable income, if you’ve historically targeted moms), or just looking at subsections of a target audience group (ie. young professionals in their early 30s if you’ve always focused on the younger range of the “25-34 years old” bracket).
  • Product uses beyond your typical industry or segment.
    • Marketers typically think in terms of B2C or B2B. This binary way of thinking may stifle innovation and creative ideas to earn more revenue. When marketers think of generating new revenue, they ought to think how they can bring in new customers/clients beyond what’s the company historically caters to. For example, a manufacturer of consumer goods (ie. soap) may look into setting up contracts with hotel chains or gyms and create a B2B pipeline in order to expand the customer base.
  • Consult with your channel partners.
    • Channel partners can sometimes be a source of innovation and interesting market strategies. They bring to you new practices and business models that they are exposed to in their network. As they interact with companies in other industries (or companies in your industry, ie. competitors), and strike deals with them, they learn about new ways of doing business, which may help you think of ideas for your company.
  • Assess your company resources and think about how to package services that can be monetized.
    • This is the beginning of innovation; when you think about new revenue streams– I mean, really new ones that the company hasn’t historically explored– you can think of resources that the company may have in abundance, then collaborate with other functions around how to make it into a product or service. Manufacturing firm selling customer data or market data to other firms- some companies are already doing it. It might be time for your business to innovate.
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