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  • THEORY/CONCEPTUAL

    Strategic marketing, marketing strategy and market strategy

    Rajan Varadarajan1

    Received: 4 October 2015 /Accepted: 20 October 2015 /Published online: 27 November 2015 # Academy of Marketing Science 2015

    Abstract In the lead article of this issue, Hunt (2015) pro- vides an exposition of how the resource-advantage (R-A) the- ory undergirds the sixteen foundational premises of marketing strategy advanced in Varadarajan (Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38 (2), 119-140, 2010). Hunt notes that R- A theory and its three foundational strategies, and the sixteen foundational premises of marketing strategy complement each other in securing the theoretical foundations of the field of strategic marketing. Building on Hunt’s article, this commen- tary provides additional insights into issues fundamental to the field of strategic marketing and R-A theory, and the founda- tional premises of marketing strategy and R-A theory. The commentary also provides a retrospective and prospective discussion of the domain of strategic marketing, definition of marketing strategy, issues fundamental to the field of strategic marketing, and the foundational premises of market- ing strategy that I had proposed in my above referenced article. In the context of theory development, empirical research and organization of the cumulative body of knowledge in the field of strategic marketing, I highlight the conceptual distinction between marketing strategy and market strategy.

    Keywords Strategic marketing .Marketing strategy .Market strategy .Marketing theory . Resource advantage theory

    Introduction

    Hunt (2015) addresses the question of how the resource advantage (R-A) theory relates to the sixteen foundational premises of marketing strategy advanced by Varadarajan (2010). He notes that R-A theory and its three founda- tional strategies, and the sixteen foundational premises of marketing strategy complement each other in securing the theoretical foundations of the strategic marketing field. In addition to providing insights into the R-A theo- ry underpinnings of the foundational premises of market- ing strategy, Hunt’s article also explores how R-A theory explains the issues delineated in Varadarajan’s article as fundamental to the field of strategic marketing. Against this backdrop, the objectives of this commentary are to provide: (1) a retrospective on certain events that were instrumental in my initiating a study that culminated in my above referenced article, (2) additional insights into certain important issues addressed in Hunt’s above refer- enced article, and (3) a prospective discussion of some of the issues addressed in my above referenced article. In reference to the last of the above stated objectives, I propose certain revisions to the statement of the domain of strategic marketing, schematic representation of the domain of strategic marketing, definition of marketing strategy, issues fundamental to strategic marketing, and the foundational premises of marketing strategy that are presented in an earlier article (Varadarajan 2010). Additionally, in the context of theory development, empirical research and organization of the cumulative body of knowledge in the field of strategic marketing, I highlight the conceptual distinction between marketing strategy and market strategy.

    * Rajan Varadarajan RVaradarajan@mays.tamu.edu

    1 Texas A&M University, 4112 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4112, USA

    AMS Rev (2015) 5:78–90 DOI 10.1007/s13162-015-0073-9

    http://crossmark.crossref.org/dialog/?doi=10.1007/s13162-015-0073-9&domain=pdf

  • Strategic marketing and marketing strategy – domain, definition, fundamental issues and foundational premises: a retrospective

    In the BConclusion^ section of his article, Hunt (2015) states: BStrategic marketing suffers from an identity problem because of its longstanding lack of clarity and consensus as to its theoretical foundations, its nature, and its scope. Varadarajan’s (2010) proposals contribute to resolving stra- tegic marketing’s identity problem by articulating (1) a sug- gested domain statement for the field (what is inside and what is outside strategic marketing?), (2) a suggested defi- nition of the field’s key construct (what is Bmarketing strategy^?), (3) a delineation of the fundamental issues of the field (what does strategic marketing theory and research seek to explain?), and (4) a set of sixteen foundational pre- mises (what represents the field’s basic knowledge?). Be- cause all of his proposals are thoughtful, respectful of the literature, and closely reasoned, they could, and hopefully will, prove seminal for further developing the strategic mar- keting field.^ This section provides a retrospective of certain events that motivated me to undertake a research study that culminated in my above referenced article1.

    In a 1997 call for papers for a special issue of the Journal of Marketing on Fundamental Issues and Direc- tions for Marketing, four questions were delineated as fun- damental issues that underlie the field of marketing: (1) How do customers and consumers really behave? (2) How do markets function and evolve? (3) How do firms relate to their markets? (4) What are the contributions of marketing to organizational performance and societal wel- fare? (Day and Montgomery 1997). It occurred to me that a similar delineation of issues fundamental to strategic mar- keting would be beneficial from the standpoint of stimulat- ing debate and discussion among strategic marketing scholars concerning the boundaries of the field. Indeed, strategic marketing’s identity crisis was a shared concern of a number of scholars in the field during the 1980s and 1990s.

    In their introduction to the special issue, as validation for the questions they delineate as fundamental issues to the field of marketing, Day and Montgomery (1999) cite a seminal article by Hunt (Hunt 1983). In this article, Hunt describes marketing science as the behavioral science that seeks to explain exchange relationships by focusing on four inter-related sets of fundamental explananda: (1) the behav- iors of buyers directed at consummating exchanges, (2) the

    behaviors of sellers directed at consummating exchanges, (3) the institutional framework directed at consummating and/or facilitating exchanges, and (4) the consequences on society of the behaviors of buyers, the behaviors of sellers and the institutional framework directed at consummating and/or facilitating exchanges.

    Influenced by the writings of Hunt (1983), Day and Montgomery (1997, 1999) and Mankiw (1997), I began to work on a research project with the following as its focus: domain of strategic marketing as a specialized field of study in marketing, definition of marketing strategy, issues fundamental to strategic marketing as a field of study, and foundational premises of marketing strategy. The impetus for BFoundational Premises of Marketing Strategy^ as a research objective was an arti- cle published in a 1997 issue of the Fortune magazine (Norton 1997). Included in the article was an exhibit titled, BTen Principles of Economics,^ with the following footnote: BSome things about which most economists seem to be in agreement.^ The ten principles, excerpted from a textbook on economics that was published in 1997 (Mankiw 1997) are as follows: (1) People face tradeoffs. (2) The cost of something is what you give up to get it. (3) Rational people think at the margin. (4) People respond to incentives. (5) Trade can make everyone better-off. (6) Markets are usually a good way to organize economic activity. (6) Governments can sometimes improve market outcomes. (8). A country’s standard of living depends on its ability to produce goods and services. (9) Prices rise when the government prints too much money. (10) Society faces a short-run tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. It oc- curred to me that, along similar lines, compilation of a list of statements pertaining to marketing strategy on which there is likely to be a high level of consensus among the community of strategic marketing scholars would make an incremental contribution to the literature.

    In an attempt to draw on the knowledge base of subject matter experts, in 1998, I elicited the views of a sample of fellow strategic marketing scholars (who were members of the American Marketing Association Marketing Strategy Special Interest Group) on the do- main of the field of strategic marketing and issues fun- damental to it. While the domain statement for the field of strategic marketing, the schematic representation of the domain of the field, and issues fundamental to the field that are advanced in Varadarajan (2010) are largely based on literature insights, the insights shared by fel- low strategic marketing researchers were also influential in shaping my thinking. Furthermore, as discussed in the next two sections, they complement and/or corrobo- rate the perspectives advanced in my above referenced article.

    1 See Hunt (2012) for an insightful retrospective on six key events/ experiences that influenced the development of the structure, foundation- al premises, and models of the resource-advantage theory (R-A theory) of competition.

    AMS Rev (2015) 5:78–90 79

  • Domain of the field of strategic marketing

    The first open-ended question that I had posed to strategic mar- keting scholars in mymail surveywas the following concerning the domain of the field of strategicmarketing:What do you view as the general domain of marketing strategy and major sub- stantive areas within its domain? As might be noted, the ques- tion is worded in reference to marketing strategy as the field of study. It was only later that I gravitated toward, began to use, an

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