AS Business: product/market orientation (BA case study)

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Dan Grist
To what extent has BA adopted a product-orientated approach to its
BA is considered a product orientated (product-led) business ­ it focuses on what it can
produce as a product and hopes that it will fit in with customer's requirements, this is a very
risky approach as they could end up producing something customers don't want. On the
other hand, a business will be a market orientated (market-led) firm, which bases its
decisions on the customers needs. It continually monitors the environment to find out what
customers want, what competitors are offering and how the market is changing.
There is a strong argument that BA certainly does not monitor what customers want, that
they have little market orientation. Evidence of this is the problems that BA has faced over
the past years; BA has had many customer service complaints and had the most flight
cancellations that any of its main competitors e.g. Air France and KLM. They have also lost
the most bags than any other airline. But still thousands still use BA as their chosen airline
operator. This is due to their strong competitive advantage; although they have created a lot
of problems they still portray an image of a safe and reliable service as they are the national
More evidence of BA's supposed product orientated approach towards marketing is through
the perspective of Theodore Levitt's `Marketing Myopia' ­ he suggests that businesses that
focus on product rather than the needs of the market and the changing circumstances of
the market, would start to experience problems as their businesses become almost
obsolete. BA's many problems provide evidence that Levitt's theory is correct.
Overall, I believe that BA is a product orientated firm to a great extent. Although it is
considered the `national airline' it has faced many problems particularly within customer
service; therefore suggesting that BA has little market orientation.
What strategies would you advise the management to pursue to deal with
the challenges the airline faces in the next five years?
In order for the airline to overcome some of its problems within customer service, they
must change strategies to a more market orientated approach towards marketing. This
must include monitoring the needs of the market and the changing circumstances of the
market, in order to avoid these inevitable problems that face a product orientated firm
(Marketing Myopia).
"Market-oriented culture is a group culture designed to create higher customer value by
executing the required actions with the most efficient and effective means available, thereby
maintaining a high level of firm performance" (Narver & Slater 1990). Therefore,
market-oriented firms try to find ways to provide added value to the customer while at the
same time lowering the cost of the product or service. This is a strategy that I believe BA
should undertake within the next few years.
So I believe that BA must develop their marketing strategy and this can be done at three
main levels of a firm. At the top level you need to identify the core marketing objectives and
broad focus of the firm, in this case BA need to ensure that it is the customer's first choice

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Dan Grist
by creating an unbeatable travel experience ­ not losing peoples bags!. At the next level, the
differential advantage in serving the customer targets rather than the competition needs to
be identified. It is this differentiation that will create the competitive positioning of the
company and its offerings. BA must provide overall superior service and good value for
money in every market segment in which it competes.…read more


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