What is the point of business? Why do humans engage in commerce? Is trade between parties something inherently unjust, ethically neutral, or morally good? Stay with me here. All of this philosophizing has a very practical point. But before we get to it, let’s dive a little further down the mental rabbit hole.
In their admittedly dry article “Market selection and procurement decisions in B2B markets,” scholars C.M. Sashi and Vaman Kudpi discuss what exactly a business-to-business market is and how it differs from consumer markets. They state:
An organization may be regarded as a value-adding entity that obtains inputs from suppliers in the environment, adds value to the throughput, and sells output to buyers in the environment. The organizations from which inputs are bought in turn obtain inputs from other organizations, and organizations to which output is sold in turn sell output to other organizations. Conceptually, therefore, the entire economy is a value-adding web consisting of organizations transacting with one another. Any one path that can be traced through the web is a value-adding chain; the chain comes to an end with final transactions in consumer markets.
Clear as mud, right? Well, think of it this way: Understanding a business means evaluating everything that goes into a product or service at any particular point—absolutely everything. It’s a lot of stuff, no matter how seemingly simple those “final transactions in consumer markets” Sashi and Kudpi mention may be. (Even the humble pencil seems miraculously complex when you carefully consider its component parts.) The vastness of any enterprise combined with the various links between independent players creates something like a massive cat’s cradle of connections.
Okay, so we get that any final product or service brings together a ton of talent, time, and treasure in its creation. But why? What’s the purpose? That question is simple enough to answer. In fact, it can be summed up in a single word: satisfaction.
Ten times throughout their article, Sashi and Kudpi conclude that the purpose of any transaction undertaken along the way to a final product is to satisfy someone’s needs. When a firm chooses organizational buyers, the decision depends on “whose needs it will seek to satisfy.” Selecting a target market means determining “whose needs the firm will satisfy with its product.” And “the organization must decide the form of product required to satisfy these needs and the process used to make it.” In essence, this view sees the true end of commercial endeavors as being radically focused on others, on helping them, on meeting their felt needs. The economic enterprise moves proverbial mountains to serve previously unknown people with profit as the reward.
Of course, we all know that business doesn’t always work that way. Some shady operators exploit others for short-term gain. But such a viewpoint sacrifices both integrity and ongoing returns for something ephemeral. It’s an inadequate foundation for any ongoing business.
So what does Sashi and Kudpi’s perspective look like when put into play with SMS marketing? Kern Lewis details how over at Forbes. Here are a few salient points, but by all means, read the whole thing yourself:
- Stay focused on remaining true to your own message and let others handle the nitty-gritty stuff of SMS marketing.
- SMS marketing is an opt-in medium, so make sure that potential customers know exactly how to sign on and what doing so entails.
- With the previous point in mind, maintain an easy-to-find and easy-to-read FAQ on your website.
- Keep communications concise and polite.
- Always ask permission.
Focusing on customer satisfaction first and foremost might sound pie in the sky, but it provides concrete benefits for everyone involved.