Article Summary_ _the Bottom Line_ Marketing & Firm Performance_ Essay

Leslie M. Fine, author of “The Bottom Line: Marketing & Firm Performance,” analyzes how marketing relates to how well the firm does overall. A majority of the article is focused on how customer relations’ impact firm performance and can affect shareholder wealth. Firms improving customer equity and reducing the firm’s cash needs, will influence the net present value of the firm. Within recent years, there has been an increase in the awareness that firms should be able to demonstrate that marketing actions affect financial outcomes. Along with this awareness, marketers have realized that the investor is also the customer, especially at the initial IPO, and leading companies to report customer equity statements and customer equity flow statements.

The article notes various studies that have been conducted analyzing the impact of customer satisfaction in relation to areas such as the “stock value gap,” performance of portfolios and the impact of marketing, research and development and operations on firm performance. The studies concluded that “doing what’s right for the customer is doing what’s right for the firm and shareholder value.” Customer satisfaction has a significant impact on the “stock value gap” when compare to the top competitor, meaning the lesser the gap the higher the customer satisfaction ratings of the firm. In relation to portfolio performance, the study indicated that portfolios with firms that had high satisfaction scores produced positive trend portfolios. Over a 10-year period those positive trend portfolios yield better than others and more impressively better than the S&P 500.

Through reading this article I began to see clearly the importance and relevance of marketing to the success of the firm. As shown by the research indicated in this article, firms should begin to place an additional emphasis of the marketing function throughout the firm. I was particularly interested in the idea of having a Chief Marketing Officer in the boardroom. The idea of having a voice for the customer in the boardroom is positive in all aspects. Firms with a CMO offer additional input if the goal of the firm is to pursue innovation, differentiation and complex branding initiatives. As seen in the articles for this week, innovation and differentiate can excel a firm greatly. Having a CMO will only offer an additional benefit to the firm.

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Fine also included a section on the “Bond strategies effecting the firm,” which analyzed that the perceived brand relevance and brand energy provide incremental information to explain stock returns other than the information explained by accounting measures. This section focuses on how mergers and acquisitions use this analysis to determine the value of the target firm. This was interesting to me due to the focus of mergers and acquisitions being on the customer base of the target firm. Typically, my first thought in relation to mergers and acquisitions would be to consider the balance sheet and stock value of the firm as to how the particular target firm could be beneficial. After reading this article I would like to know how much these studies have sparked firms to begin doing in-house research, as well as how many have began focusing on the customer as a driving factor to the shareholder value of the company and performance of the firm.

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