Strategic Marketing and Marketing Strategy

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J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2010) 38:119–140 DOI 10.1007/s11747-009-0176-7

CONCEPTUAL/THEORETICAL PAPER

Strategic marketing and marketing strategy: domain, definition, fundamental issues and foundational premises Rajan Varadarajan

Received: 20 April 2009 / Accepted: 24 September 2009 / Published online: 28 October 2009 # Academy of Marketing Science 2009

Abstract This paper proposes a domain statement for strategic marketing as a field of study and delineates certain issues fundamental to the field. It also proposes a definition for marketing strategy, the focal organizational strategy construct of the field, and enumerates a number of foundational premises of marketing strategy. The domain of strategic marketing is viewed as encompassing the study of organizational, inter-organizational and environmental phenomena concerned with (1) the behavior of organizations in the marketplace in their interactions with consumers, customers, competitors and other external constituencies, in the context of creation, communication and delivery of products that offer value to customers in exchanges with organizations, and (2) the general management responsibilities associated with the boundary spanning role of the marketing function in organizations. At the broadest level, marketing strategy can be defined as an organization’s integrated pattern of decisions that specify its crucial choices concerning products, markets, marketing activities and marketing resources in the creation, communication and/or delivery of products that offer value to customers in exchanges with the organization and thereby enables the organization to achieve specific objectives. Chief among the issues that are fundamental to strategic marketing as a field of study are the questions of how the marketing strategy of a

business is influenced by demand side factors and supply side factors. Keywords Strategic marketing . Marketing strategy . Competitive marketing strategy . Market strategy

Introduction The evolution of strategic marketing as a field of study, over the past few decades, can be viewed as a confluence of perspectives, paradigms, theories, concepts, frameworks, principles, methods, models and metrics from a number of related fields of study, chief among them being marketing, strategic management and industrial organization (IO) economics. Although the cumulative body of literature is indicative of significant advances along a number of fronts (substantive, theoretical and methodological), during almost every decade, marketing scholars have voiced concerns regarding the state of field (e.g., Wind and Robertson 1983; Day 1992; Reibstein et al. 2009). For instance, voicing concerns over marketing’s loss of influence in the academic discourse about strategy, Day (1992, p. 324) noted: “Within academic circles, the contribution of marketing as an applied management discipline, to the development, testing and dissemination of strategy theories and concepts has been marginalized during the past decade.” In a recent guest editorial, Reibstein et al. (2009) note that the growing balkanization of academic marketing into quantitative modeling and consumer behavior has diminished research on strategic marketing issues. In addition to the factors that Day (1992) attributes to the diminishing impact of research in the field of strategic marketing and Reibstein et al. (2009) attribute to diminish-

R. Varadarajan (*) Texas A&M University, 4112 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4112, USA e-mail: Varadarajan@tamu.edu

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J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2010) 38:119–140

ing research on strategic marketing issues, strategic marketing’s identity crisis may be a contributing factor to both of the above. For instance, an examination of marketing strategy literature spanning more than four decades is indicative of diverse points of view concerning the conceptual domain of strategic marketing as a field of study, and the definition of marketing strategy as...
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