Any commercial initiative’s raison d’être is to be market oriented. All else is a matter of optimizing the process for all stakeholder.
At a glance
I’ve been calling market-oriented management my discipline for fifteen years now. That I was allowed to join the field – even with limited experience, originally – is due to several strokes of luck and great professional mentors. Be it my professional start at Porsche Design or my later work and research at the Institute of Marketing of University of St. Gallen. Today, I notice how my practice, learning, and teaching of market-oriented management shapes my skill-set just like my background in information management.
In St. Gallen, I learned to think more systematically about Marketing. Among the core concepts I learned and we teach is the Task-oriented approach to marketing. One of its implications may be its most valuable notions: companies have specific marketing profiles – so called core-task profiles – based on their capabilities, competencies, and processes. These profiles are important to be aware of, to strategically nurture and develop. At the heart of these profiles stand the four core tasks of marketing: customer acquisition and retention, product innovation and maintenance. What reads at first glance to be overly simplistic is pretty powerful stuff, once you learn its ins and outs.
Ever since Porsche Design, my career has taken a direction towards the subject of luxury. Not for the sake of its glitz, but for the sake of its depth and ambiguity. The core question that my research and work always revolved around was the question of whether the luxury industry needs a different kind of management than the rest of the market. The discussion, interestingly, remains undecided, since you may argue validly both ways: yes, luxury is an entirely different kind of animal, fuelled by culture and driven by the daring. No, luxury adheres to exactly the same logic than any other commercial strategy – and any approach to detract from that will diminish luxury brands’ opportunity to grow. This is just one of countless fascinating perspectives on a thoroughly controversial field. Find more on the subject here.
Pricing for Porsche Design
Between 2006 and 2010, I was in charge of developing and implementing the international pricing strategy for Porsche Design. Beyond anything else, I learned that pricing is process and critical to operations. Of course, pricing is also the result of careful analysis, but it’s far from being only that. It’s also to be considered in terms of sales structure, business cases, and competitive dynamics. In that time, I developed and implemented a pricing concept covering over a dozen different product categories to be sold in over thirty different countries with over twenty currencies, and five different sales formats. And then, for the second brand – Porsche Design Driver’s Selection – which worked entirely differently. Fun times. Challenging, too.
Sales Planning for Porsche Design
Since I worked for Porsche Design in quantitative marketing, sales planning became a second important challenge for me to conquer. At the time, the company was restructuring their business strategy from being entirely license-focused to increase their trade business. Consequently, Porsche Design needed a sales planning that went beyond what the operations team already had in place. The foundation of this project was a detailed analysis of past sales dynamics as well as a process to continuously involve key sales partners. The analysis of sales data lead to the early establishment of the sales excellence award, which I developed.
Digital and Social Marketing and Sales
At the time of me joining the Porsche Design team, the brand hat a website, but not much online communication strategy or digital direct sales business to speak of. Pretty avantgarde for a luxury brand in 2007, we launched the Porsche Design online shop and, a bit later, the social media offers of Porsche Design. We learned some valuable lessons in terms of how to position very valuable goods towards highly demanding customers online, but we could not have done it without our colleagues at Bassier, Bergmann & Kindler.