Case #2 Even Commodities Have Customers
1.What does it mean to be trapped in a commodity category?
This means that Lafarge had product which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across the market. The writer of the article develops marketing strategies to differentiate Lafarge products from its competitors to gain market and increase revenue. At Lafarge they segmented customers which allowed them to identify the different needs of their clients.
2. How does a sales oriented organization behave versus how does a marketing organization behave?
It is clear from this article that the mentality at Lafarge was to “ sell at all costs” mid-set. This is a sales oriented mentality. On the other hand a marketing oriented mentality develops a plan and strategies that will satisfy customers needs. Supply chain was improved which caused to change the products they were selling. This allowed them to offer products that were suited to a range of customer requirements which ultimately increased the value to the customer and to Lafarge.
3. Lafarge invested in segmenting their customer base. How did they use the deeper knowledge their customers to improve the performance of their business?
By segmenting their customers they got a better understanding of the needs of their customers which allowed them to increase value of the products offered which ultimately benefited both customers and Lafarge. The segmentation allowed Lafarge to segment its customers according their purchasing behavior such as price driven, relationship driven, performance driven and according to the sophistication of the business such as those who used the cement to build bridges or those who used it to build homes. They also segmented their clientele based geographic locations, distributions channels.
4.Identify 2 -3 mayor barriers to executing the shift to becoming a marketing organization?
To become a marketing organization the writer of the article had to convince top senior leadership at Lafarge that his plan would had an effect at the bottom line (increase on revenue). He had also to educate the different business units by making them speak one language, the language of marketing. He also had to develop some measures that were familiar in the industry to demonstrate his results.
5.Identify 2-3 strategies