The critical question for marketing management is how the marketing function should be designed in order to provide the greatest value for the organization. At the heart of this issue is the idea that the marketing function’s key contribution is to serve as a link between the customer and various processes within the firm. As suggested by Moorman and Rust (1999) the marketing function should play a role in connecting the customer with 1) the product 2) service delivery and 3) financial accountability. Of those three connections, the traditional role of marketing has been to link the customer with the product. The customer-product connection pertains to linking the customer to the focal offering provided by the firm. Marketing’s emphasis in this linkage is on providing knowledge and skills that connect the customer to product design or quality issues. This emphasis underlies many contemporary methodologies for new product development and for managing the customer-product interface.
The customer-service delivery connection involves the design and delivery of ancillary actions involved in providing a firm’s goods and services to the customer. The focus of this connection is generally the frontline employee who facilitates pre or post-purchase aspects of the process. A marketing approach to this linkage is predominantly external in orientation. The focus in on ensuring that customers are satisfied with the delivery of services offered by the firm, measuring customer satisfaction with services, and changing internal processes that stands to have the greatest impact on the customer.
The customer-financial accountability connection refers to efforts focused on linking customers to financial outcomes. The marketing function in many firms does not manage this linkage, and the inevitable result is that financial accountability is perceived largely in terms of costs. The actual expectative is to understand the link between marketing and financial performance of firms.
The need for the ex-post evaluation of marketing programs and activities is set by Kotler (2003) as a crucial part of the process of analysis, planning, implementation, and control. This evaluation is made by means of different marketing metrics that are used to assess past performance and influence on firm effectiveness, as well as to design future strategy improvements.
Marketing has a chain of effects in firm performance as suggested by Rust et al. (2004). Marketing strategies lead to marketing actions taken by the firm such as advertising campaigns, service improvement efforts, branding initiatives, loyalty programs. Then the influence of the tactical action customer satisfaction, attitude toward the brand and loyalty. .At the firm level, these customer measures can be into what it is called marketing assets, which can be measured by such indicators as brand quality, customer satisfaction, and customer equity. Customer behavior influences the market, changing market share and sales. However, it may also be useful to consider the firm’s market position as driven by the firm’s marketing assets.