In their book “Competing for the Future”, Hamel and Prahalad do an excellent job of describing future-orientation with regard to successfully approaching a market:
"To strive for a perspective of the future is to strive for and make visible something that does not yet exist. The starting point here is not the current served market…”
Companies can only be forward-thinking if they are able to anticipate the challenge of their markets. According to Peter Lorange, it is particular important to reassess the role of marketing in a company. The marketing department has to take on the challenge of identifying new market opportunities before they are obvious to everyone else. This requires, however, that marketing is driven by visionary thinking and not by a copycat mentality. Often times, however, the flood of statistical analyses in marketing can distort the view of what is most essential, namely the future.
The marketing departments need to be pulled out of their cocoons and more solidly integrated with the strategic decision processes of top management. Only through this integration will it be possible for marketing to think on a company-wide level where it is forced to maintain a constant strategic dialog with other operations and business units.
Market orientation for us means the successful anticipation and configuration of the markets of tomorrow. To do this, companies must
- continually generate knowledge about markets, customers and system partners
- distribute this knowledge systematically throughout the company and make it accessible to the most important decision makers
- and use this knowledge as basis for their innovations and strategies.