Page 2: Marketing orientation
In today's marketplace, the most successful organisations are those that understand their customers' requirements best and make sure that their expectations are met. This approach to doing business is known as market orientation.
It contrasts with the production orientation that characterised many firms within the UK economy up until the late 1970s. In those days, many small printers faced little local competition and tended to tell customers 'we know what you need and what's best for you'.
Today, printers operate in a highly competitive market in which their B2B customers have a clear idea of what they want, can shop around, and are looking for high quality production at competitive prices. Polestar prides itself on being the market leader serving other market leaders in other fields and enabling these customers to be the best-in-class.
Market leaders in the catalogue and mail order businesses (Argos, Christies) and in retailing (Tesco) rely on Polestar's innovation and resources to produce outstanding printed material that helps them to achieve their own business goals.
The digital revolution in printing has vastly improved print performance in much the same way that digital imaging (in place of the former analogue technology) provides clearer images on our televisions and better sound on CDs and radios. New technologies have enabled Polestar to radically change the way it gets its information ready for transferring to 'Ink on Paper' (i.e. printed copy). The Group operates a series of Digital Hubs, where pages in the form of digital files, (usually PDF) are received electronically from customers. The files are then processed, proofed and quality control checked to ensure they are suitable before producing a printing plate.
Vigorous quality controls are in place to ensure data integrity which means customers can rely on the accuracy of the print produced. Value added services are offered, where customers can remotely view, amend and approve their pages via the World Wide Web using standard browser technology anywhere in the world. This system is called Insite.
Polestar uses Synapse InSiteTM software on a Prinergy system. This system enables Polestar's customers to:
- submit complete jobs to print over the Internet
- check how the job is progressing
- perform interactive remote proofing and online review of jobs.
The InSite Internet portal allows collaboration with customers wherever they are in the world. All of Polestar's imaging sites (Watford, Colchester, Leeds, Bradford, East Kilbride) are networked together.
When the customer and Polestar's imaging hub are both happy with the digital pages that have been created on the proof, they are transmitted electronically to the appropriate Polestar print site which is the most convenient location for its customers. For example, material for a newspaper's Sunday Supplement will go to a print site that acts as that newspaper's wholesale site. Any hub site can send files to any production site in the group; this makes both distributed production and work-sharing a reality and enables rapid response to any production problems.
The literature on market orientation is silent on the process of change involved in moving firms to a market orientation. Understanding this process is important for commodity sellers or industrial organizations with a traditional sales focus. We examine the change programs of two New Zealand-based agricultural organizations. Drawing upon Lewin's three-stage change process model (unfreezing–movement–refreezing) we identify that the creation of a market orientation involves uncovering long-held assumptions about the nature of commodity products, the nature of production and marketplace power, and the ‘commodity cycle’. Moving the firm towards a new set of values involves changes in the role of leadership, the use of market intelligence, and organizational learning styles. To refreeze these values, supportive policies are needed that form closer relationships between the organization and the marketplace. The degree of refreezing affects the quality of market orientated outcomes, with less effective refreezing leading to sub-optimal market-oriented behaviors.