In 2005, the term “extreme competition” got introduced into the
business lexicon.  Extreme competition is characterized by an
oversupply of almost everything.  Labor is cheap.  Technology
is ubiquitous.  The economy is now global, making it imperative
that companies locate manufacturing plants and R&D centers based on
these fundamental economics.  In these “white knuckle” times, the
one thing not in oversupply is customers. 

Companies that declare that they are now customer focused due
to a recent investment in CRM software are not telling us anything new
or very different. The reality is that every company must focus
on its customers (getting customers, keeping them, and growing them in
value) to survive and prosper. 

Suddenly marketing matters.  Not just to marketing people and
their agencies but to CEOs, CFOs, and their Board of Directors
(BODs).  Companies that figure out how to market better—that is
more efficiently, effectively, and by bringing new products to market
that gain rapid customer acceptance with superior margins—will
consistently outperform their peers.  In other words, they’ll
get—and keep—competitive advantage. 

Competitive advantage comes to companies that not only make
marketing matter but that also build continuous improvement and
learning into the systems that they use to manage marketing
performance.