Customer orientation

Its surprising origins, tumultuous development and place in the future of marketing thought and practice

Sarah Duffy, Kyle Bruce*, Lara Moroko, Lars Groeger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that the concept of customer orientation has its genesis not in marketing, but rather in management thought; specifically, within the Scientific Management movement. We trace the concept through its popularisation in the marketing discipline with the work of Theodore Levitt, the subsequent difficulties in translating the concept into practice through the late twentieth century, and its eventual integration and application of into more recent streams of popular marketing thought and practice, such as service-dominant logic and co-creation. We conclude with an exposition of the contribution of customer orientation to the disciplines of marketing and strategy in the guise of design thinking, the business model canvas, disruptive innovation, and lean startup. In this way, we are “righting” two “wrongs” by correcting the received wisdom in both management and marketing. We are also helping researchers, educators and practitioners in these two disciplines avoid falling into the related traps of repeating their mistakes if do not have an adequate grasp of their past or ‘re-inventing-the-wheel’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date11 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Customer orientation
  • Marketing history
  • Scientific Management

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