Marketing action in networks
School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK
Marketing action in networks
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to describe and explain how organizations develop and implement marketing action within their surrounding business networks. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is an empirical case study research that covered periods 1993 to 1998 and 2002 to 2003 in manufacturer-retailer networks in Germany. A conceptual model is developed and its applicability is illustrated. Findings – The paper ﬁnds that marketing action is seen as an inventive stream of ﬁnding and doing what is possible for each organization in its respective network. Whilst organizations react to events as they unfold, marketing action in networks takes the form of creating and exercising a number of options that best reﬂect organizations’ strengths and their capacities derived from network membership. Research limitations/implications – Although based on marketing episodes related to the development and introduction of new products in a manufacturer-retailer network, the proposed model has far wider managerial implications. The efﬁciency of the model is achieved through the reduction into three generative stages of the complexity of marketing action in networks. Practical implications – The model is explained in some depth, and its practical implications explained via the case study. Originality/value – The development of a model of marketing action in networks based upon a network/option view of business-to-business marketing. Keywords Business-to-business marketing, Marketing, Product development, Networking, Germany Paper type Research paper Received March 2005 Revised September 2005 Accepted November 2005
By focusing on marketing activities within the context of new product development, this paper describes and explains marketing action in networks. The term “action” is used to portray a company’s marketing activity; while “networks” is used as a metaphor for exchange relationships in the marketplace. These terms have been chosen to emphasize the challenges at the company-level, as well as the inherent connectivity between companies in the marketplace. Marketing action can take various forms: it may include new product development, launching a brand, extending an existing brand into new segments or purchasing products and services; or, it may involve co-operation with suppliers to improve product quality or product availability or co-operation with customers to obtain listing for new products or promotional support. These are some examples of the multiplicity of marketing action in networks. Extant research has completed sufﬁcient work to classify, describe and even prescribe marketing action, but there is little evidence of work to uncover the processes that ´ underlie such activity. Of interest, therefore, is an expose of what motivates such marketing action and thereby gain a better understanding of how and why such marketing action occurs. Consequently, an investigation was conducted in consumer goods companies and grocery retailers within manufacturer-retailer networks in Germany during the periods 1993 to 1998 and 2002 to 2003. Because of the multiplicity of marketing action, our attention is focused on marketing activities in the context of
European Journal of Marketing Vol. 40 No. 11/12, 2006 pp. 1271-1291 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0309-0566 DOI 10.1108/03090560610702812
new product development and market introduction. The investigation explored the following questions: . How do companies react to socio-economic, technological or other contextual developments? . What marketing capacities derived from dyadic relationships? . How do companies choose a particular course of marketing action? . What are the “sequences” or...