Market Vs. Product: What Kind of Business Are You?

Many of us have watched the evolution of marketing in real time. Where, once, in the 1980s, a print advert might have been enough to capture a sale, today, it’s not always easy to find somebody who has seen one recently.

The concept of multi-channel marketing is the old salve to this problem but finding people wherever they happen to be isn’t the end - or even the beginning - of this conversation.


Businesses begin in one of two ways, namely, by becoming a product or a market-oriented enterprise. In both cases, this defines what gets catered for first. A product-oriented company will plan and build their invention before it has anybody to sell it to. Conversely, a market-oriented business will find a customer base before it starts creating.

Low Light Photography of Concrete Structures
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Let’s start with market-oriented. This style of commerce is common to companies in highly competitive industries and places an emphasis on trends in customer behaviour and elements that shape the market, such as seasonality, pricing, etc.

In entertainment, casino gaming is driven less by the product (solutions are available in bespoke and off-the-shelf varieties) and more by how customers interact with rivals - the market. This usually manifests in a gifting economy, whereby operators usually reward players for completing certain actions. For example, the NJ casino promotions on the PlayStar website include free spins and a deposit bonus. These can be redeemed up to three times.


It’s easy to see the product-oriented business as a square peg for a round hole. After all, the product comes before the market, and the cart before the horse. It’s generally supported by experience in a single, highly-specific area, though, which means that products are geared towards established criteria.

Traditional industries such as banking, food, and even technology fit into this category. Smartphones have been bound to a singular design template since the iPhone’s release in 2007. Creative concepts like the Samsung Galaxy Beam seem to cause embarrassment to the tech world.

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Of course, somewhere in all this marketing, the brand itself needs creating. In our product-oriented business, the brand often gets created at the beginning. Market-orientation usually means that the company’s identity is, again, shaped by the needs of the customer base, so it can wait until later.

An Emerging Third

Marketing Week also defines an emerging third orientation - audience. This describes a business - usually an influencer - that already has an existing audience long before it tries to sell them anything.

Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is a good example. The Someone You Loved crooner released his own pizza brand in 2022 to media acclaim.

Audience and market orientation might sound like two sides of the same coin but the emphasis of the latter is on starting from nothing, as with product orientation.

Audience orientation is the same magic that brought us Rihanna’s Fenty, Brad Pitt’s Le Domaine, and Idris Elba’s S’able. Clearpay claims that celebrity brands increased male interest in nail care products by 103% in 2022.

It’s marketing on easy mode.