MARKETING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Implementation Strategies in the Market-Driven Strategy Era
David W. Cravens
Texas Christian University
The very insightful analysis of marketing strategy implementation by Piercy (1998 [this issue]) points to several key issues concerning the role of marketing in the 21st century. Perhaps most compelling is his assessment of the potential threats to the role of marketing in the organization and implementation in particular. He examines several important concerns presented by the lean enterprise paradigm (Womack and Jones 1996). While I am more optimistic about the future of the discipline, relevant dimensions of change promise to significantly alter the nature and scope of marketing strategy and its implementation. Business strategy has entered a new market and competitive environment, appropriately designated as the market-driven era because of its central focus on the market as the basis for strategy design and implementation (Cravens, Greenley, Piercy, and Slater 1998; Day 1994). A pervasive dimension of this era is the pivotal role of the market in guiding strategic change. While the paradigms based on the market-driven era continue to evolve, it is apparent that markets provide the focus of strategic thought and practice. This focus offers an array of challenges and opportunities to the marketing discipline. Many academics and executives are examining the fundamental assumptions and guidelines underlying strategy formulation. An extensive array of strategy paradigms is proposed to assist executives in strategy design. While no paradigm dominates strategic thought and practice, there are several key characteristics shared by the various views of strategy. The characteristics of market-driven strategies include (1) developing a shared vision about the market and how it is expected to change in the future; Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Volume 26, No. 3, pages 237-241. Copyright 9 1998 by Academy of Marketing Science.
(2) selecting avenues for delivering superior value to customers; (3) positioning the organization and its brands in the marketplace using distinctive competencies; (4) recognizing the potential value of collaborative relationships with customers, suppliers, distribution channel members, internal functions, and even competitors; and (5) reinventing organizational designs to implement and manage future strategies (Cravens, Greenley, Piercy, and Slater 1997). Each of these dimensions of market-driven strategy creates important implementation issues and challenges. An extensive analysis of the impact of the market-driven era on implementation is not feasible in this commentary. Instead, I have selected four topics that are particularly relevant to strategy implementation: (1) shifting from a marketing to market-driven strategic perspective, (2) leveraging modularity to facilitate implementation, (3) recognizing the new economics of information, and (4) adopting new concepts of strategic performance measurement.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE MARKET-DRIVEN PERSPECTIVE
As acknowledged by Piercy (1998), the 21st century is likely to present the marketing profession with major opportunities and threats that have important implications for strategy implementation. The role as well as the relevance of marketing is being debated by both scholars and business executives. Some forecast a declining role, while others see new opportunities as the market is increasingly recognized as the starting point in strategy formulation.
Shifting From Functions to Processes
One marketing thought leader forecasts "a future in which marketing as a functional area and academic disci-
238 JOURNAL THEACADEMYOF MARKETINGSCIENCE OF pline will have diminished influence" (Day 1994). A study by the London branch of Coopers & Lybrand reports that "marketing as a discipline is more vital than ever" but the marketing department is "critically ill" ("Death of the Brand Manager"...
References: Baldwin, Carliss Y. and Kim B. Clark. 1997. "Managing in an Age of Modularity." Harvard Business Review, September-October, pp. 84-93. Best, Roger J. 1997. Market-BasedManagement. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Cespedes, Frank V. 1991. Organizingand Implementing the Marketing Effort. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Cravens, David W., Gordon Greenley, Nigel E Piercy, and Stanley Slater. 1997. "Integrating Contemporary Strategic Perspectives." Long Range Planning, August, pp. 493-506. , , , and ..... . 1998. "Mapping the Path to Market Leadership: The Market-Driven Strategy Imperative." Working Paper. Day, George S. 1994. "Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations." Journal of Marketing, October, 37-52. "Death of the Brand Manager." 1994. Economist, April 9, pp. 67-68. Engelhoff, William. 1993. "Great Strategies or Great Strategy Implementation-Two Ways of Competing in Global Markets." Sloan Management Review, Winter, pp. 37-50. Evans, Philip B. and Thomas S. Wurster. 1997. "Strategy and the New Economics of Information." Harvard Business Review, SeptemberOctober, pp. 70-82. Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton. 1996a. Balanced Scorecard. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. .and .1996b. "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System." Harvard Business Review, January-February, pp. 75-85. Piercy, Nigel E 1998. "Marketing Implementation: The Implications of Marketing Paradigm Weakness for the Strategy Execution Process." Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 26 (3): 222-236. Porter, Michael E. 1996. "What is Strategy?" HarvardBusiness Review, November-December, pp. 61-78. Ruekert, Robert and Orville Walker, Jr. 1987. "Marketing 's Interaction With Other Functional Units: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Evidence." Journal of Marketing 51 (January): 1-19. Schnaars, Stephen P. 1998. Marketing Strategy. 2d ed. New York: Free Press. Slater, Stanley F., Eric M. Olson, and Venkateshwar K. Reddy. 1997. "Strategy-Based Performance Measurement." Business Horizons, July-August, pp. 37-44. Slywotzky, Adrian J. 1996. ValueMigration. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Framework for Strategic Analysis
The balanced scorecard can be used as a strategic management system, helping managers to evaluate implementation as it occurs and modify strategies due to strategic learning (Kaplan and Norton 1996b). It lays out a useful diagnostic framework for strategy implementation and evolution over time. Managers are able to obtain feedback and adjust their strategies to account for market, competitor, and technological changes. The balanced scorecard requires managers to articulate objectives, measures, targets, and initiatives for each dimension of performance (financial, internal business process, learning and growth, and customer). The creation of the scorecard contributes to implementation strategy by linking the measures from the four dimensions or perspectives into a strategic framework that is used to manage the strategies being pursued by the organization (Kaplan and Norton 1996b).
Achieving successful implementation is a continuing challenge to the executives responsible for executing strategies and to the scholars seeking to understand implementation processes. The importance of implementation is not questioned by executives or scholars, although the activity warrants much more attention than it has been given in the past. Penetrating analyses of strategy implementation by scholars like Piercy (1998) are important and essential to moving the topic beyond action checklists to conceptual foundations for guiding empirical research and executive action. Advancing the state of knowledge of implementation will be enhanced if scholars and executives work together to advance thought and practice.
Cravens / IMPLEMENTATIONSTRATEGIF_~ 241 Womack,James P. and Daniel T. Jones. 1996.Lean Thinking.New York: Simon & Schuster. Marketing and Transportation and the Management Science Program. Before becoming an educator, he held various industry and government executive positions. He is internationaUy recognized for his research on marketing strategy and sales management; he has contributed over 100 articles, monographs, books, and proceedings papers. He has been a visiting scholar at universities in Austria, Australia, Chile, Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and Wales. His textbook, Strategic Marketing (Irwin 1997), is widely used in strategy and management courses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Wo Cravens, Ph.D., holds the Eunice and James L. West Chair of American Enterprise Studies at Texas Christian University. Previously he was the Alcoa Foundation professor at the University of Tennessee, where he chaired the Department of
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