This paper consists of the following Chapters:
- Background – In this part of the paper, I introduce readers to the assigned case, while providing them with preliminary information, as to the firm MMA and its field of specialization. The main argument, contained in this specific Chapter, is that there is a certain rationale in considering the company’s currently deployed operational strategy, as such that can be altered to an extent. I base this proposition upon the idea that the specifics of a post-industrial living often causes the qualitative transformation of many classical marketing-principles.
- Statement of Problem – In this part of the paper, I point out to the fact that, as of today, the practical implementation of the PEST-paradigm, within the context of defining the non-marketing factors that influence the deployed marketing-strategy, poses a number of challenges. Specifically, I mention the current dynamics in the arena of international politics, the fact that money has been turned into the asset of its own, the influence of people’s culture on their purchasing choices and the marketing-related aspects of the ongoing technological progress.
- Situation Analysis – Here, I outline what can be considered the main conceptual deficiencies of the methodological approach to analyzing the non-marketing factors of influence, adopted by the MMA. The main argument, contained in this Chapter, is that even though the earlier mentioned approach is indeed logically sound, it nevertheless appears to offer the largely mechanistic solutions to the issue at stake. Moreover, this approach is based upon the assumption that the non-marketing factors of influence can be deduced intuitively – something that does not represent an undisputed truth-value.
- Analysis of Alternatives – In this Chapter, I propose four methodological alternatives, as to what the process of addressing the external factors of influence should be all about. These alternatives are concerned with scrutinizing the affiliated marketing-environment, working out the approaches to dealing with the financial/monetary crisis, taking practical advantage of the principle of a qualitative inquiry and adjusting the would-be-implemented marketing strategies to be culturally relevant.
- Recommendations – In this part of the paper, I promote the idea that it is the implementation of the last two of the mentioned alternatives, which should prove particularly effective. The provided line of argumentation, in this respect, is there to substantiate the idea’s methodological validity. While making an argumentative point, I refer to what may be deemed the discursively relevant ‘self-evident truths’, on one hand, and to the empirical observations of how people’s purchasing choices are being affected by whatever happened to be the specifics of concerned individuals’ ethno-cultural affiliation, on the other.
- Implementation – in the paper’s final Chapter, I outline the consequential phases of how the proposed alternatives should be implemented. The implementation of the Alternative C consists of six sub-phases, the main of which are concerned with defining the market-environment, conceptualizing the hypothetical non-marketing factors, hypothesizing the would-be unforeseen effects and estimating the implementation-related costs. The implementation of the Alternative D consists of five sub-phases, the main of which are: defining the essence of the targeted consumers’ cognitive predispositions, using these predispositions to infer the culturally relevant insights, designing the strategy to be deployed and estimating the implementation-related costs.
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly clear to marketers that, in order for them to be able to choose in favor of the methodologically appropriate marketing-strategy, they need to be thoroughly aware of how a variety of largely external factors may affect the volume of the expected sales. This is exactly the reason why, as of today, there is a demand for companies that specialize in providing corporate clients with the in-depth analysis of what may account for the earlier mentioned factors and with the set of recommendations, as to what can be considered the circumstantially sound approach towards addressing the situation. As it can be seen in the provided case-scenario, the firm MMA (Marketing Management Analytics) exemplifies the earlier mentioned type of companies – it is there to increase the extent of the corporate clients’ competitiveness, by the mean of helping them to optimize their marketing performance. Nevertheless, even though that the consequential phases of how MMA goes about servicing its clients (explanation, prediction, response) do make a perfectly logical sense, the concerned company would benefit from having them discursively adjusted to what account for the specifics of a post-industrial marketing. This paper should come as an asset, in this respect.
Statement of Problem
When it comes to analyzing the external factors that are being potentially capable of affecting the organization’s marketing efficiency, marketers usually take advantage of the so-called PEST analytical framework, concerned with outlining the Political, Economic, Social and Technological aspects of the affiliated business-environment. Nevertheless, in light of what account for the qualitative particulars of the ongoing process of Globalization, the practical implementation of this framework may prove somewhat problematic. After all, there is now a certain rationale in believing that, as time goes on, the external factors that influence the marketing performance of a particular company will continue to undergo a qualitative transformation. The validity of this suggestion can be illustrated, in regards to the fact that, as of today, the PEST’s structural elements are becoming ever more counterintuitive. Below, is the brief outline of the issue at stake:
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for marketers to predict the performance-affecting political factors. The reason for this that, ever since the late nineties, the classical political notions started to grow increasingly outdated. For example, whereas, in the past it used to be assumed that only the independent states have the right to exercise sovereignty in the arena of international politics, this assumption can no longer be considered valid. After all, as the example of the EU indicates, in order for a geopolitical entity to exercise a great influence on the political dynamics in the world, it does not have to be a ‘country’ per se.
As the financial crisis of 2008-2009 showed, it is no longer appropriate to think of the economy’s functioning, as such that reflects the process of goods and services being exchanged. The validity of this suggestion can be shown, in regards to the rising popularity of the so-called ‘derivatives’, which are in essence the financial contracts between the two parties, backed by the third party’s financial obligations, which could be bought and sold in the open market. These ‘derivatives’ continue to spawn the generations of the new ones, backed not by the value of the concerned physical assets, but by the originally issued derivatives. This, of course, creates the situation when money can no longer be considered the economy’s instrument, but rather the economy’s actual ‘fuel’. What it means is that, as time goes on, it will be increasingly more difficult for marketers to predict the global economy’s fluctuations.
Because the process of Globalization presupposes the increased versatility/unification of the globally traded goods and services, it poses marketers with the challenge of choosing in favor of the proper promotion-strategy, meant to be deployed locally. The reason for this is that the mentioned process is largely driven by the assumption that it is specifically the people’s ability to enjoy the material riches, which makes it possible for them to attain the state of self-actualization. However, as practice indicates, this is far from being the actual case. After all, one’s purchasing choices continue to be strongly affected by the specifics of the concerned individual’s ethno-cultural affiliation – regardless of where he or she happened to reside. The increased mobility of the world’s populations contributes to this problem even more.
As the realities of today’s living indicate, it is namely the measure of a particular product’s ‘technological intensity’, which accounts for the bulk of its commercial appeal. This, of course, naturally prompts companies to invest in technology. However, the exponential pace of the ongoing technological progress, driven by these investments, creates the situation when marketing of the technologically advanced products is best conducted on a short-term basis. In its turn, this makes it harder for those companies that specialize in selling this type of products to work out a sustainable marketing-strategy.
The above-stated helps us to identify the main challenges, within the context of how the MMA goes about explaining, predicting and alleviating the impact of the non-marketing factors on the corporate client’s marketing performance. These challenges can be outlined as follows:
As it appears from the case, the explanation-matrix (as to what may account for the external factors of influence) deployed by the MMA, is rather mechanistic. That is, this matrix derives out of the assumption that, regardless of what happened to be a particular company’s field of specialization, the set of the external challenges to its marketing performance remains essentially the same. In its turn, this presupposes that it is fully appropriate for the MMA’s specialists to go about taking care of their professional duties formulaically. Nevertheless, in light of what has been mentioned in the previous Chapter, this operational approach, on the company’s part, does not take into account the fact that, as of today, the process of addressing the non-marketing factors of influence is being rather intuitive than rationally driven. What it means is that a particular company will hardly be able to address these factors, unless the element of an intuitive inquisitiveness is integrated in the process.
The main shortcoming about the prediction-methodology, on the MMA’s part, is that it appears to be solely concerned with forecasting the would-be effects of the non-marketing factors on the company’s performance within the spatially stable segment of the targeted market. This methodological approach, however, does not consider the possibility for the market in question to undergo a rapid qualitative transformation. After all, given the fact that the pace of the ongoing technological progress has now attained an exponential momentum, this eventual scenario does not seem highly unlikely. To illustrate the legitimacy of this suggestion, we can well mention the effect of the invention of an MP3-player upon the industry, which used to be concerned with manufacturing CD-players.
The provided case-scenario implies that the manner, in which the MMA advises its clients to respond to the potentially crippling non-marketing factors, is discursively justified. The reason for this is that the proposed methodology, on the company’s part, is concerned with the reduction of a lapse between the time when a particular product is being manufactured and the time when it is being introduced to the targeted market. After all, the chances for just about any marketed product to prove commercially successful, negatively relate to the amount of time, required for this product to enter the market – especially if the latter happened to be the technologically advanced one (Sharma 131). Nevertheless, the company’s approach, in this respect, appears to be rather unacknowledged of what may account for the psychological means of reducing the negative effects of the external factors upon the organization’s operational performance.
Analysis of Alternatives
Given the fact that, as it was mentioned earlier, there are a number of the newly emerged qualitative aspects to how the external factors influence the organization’s marketing performance, it will be only logical to come up with the set of the discursively sound alternatives to the currently deployed methodological approach, on the MMA’s part. Systemically speaking, these alternatives can be formulated as follows:
Defining the scope of threats/opportunities to the successful implementation of a particular marketing strategy, brought about by the Globalization-related political processes in the world
This should result in providing managers with the in-depth insight into what causes the emergence of the non-marketing factors in question, in the first place. The proposed alternative’s foremost drawback is that it implies that there is no way to make the concerned process less resource-consuming.
Conceptualizing what will account for the would-be-deployed marketing strategy’s strengths at the time of a financial/economic crisis
The alternative’s eventual benefit is obvious – if implemented practically, it will not only result in increasing the measure of the concerned strategy’s responsiveness to the external stimuli, but also in enabling the affiliated managers to uncover the otherwise hidden marketing opportunities. To show the validity of this suggestion, we can well mention the financial crisis of 2008-2009, which contrary to what was expected of it, resulted in the dramatically increased sales of the luxury products, such as sport-cars, expensive wristwatches and yachts. However, due to its tendency to yield the counterintuitive insights, this approach cannot be considered thoroughly reliable
Subjecting the anticipated non-marketing factors of influence to a qualitative inquiry
It is understood, of course, that in order for marketers to be in the position of to come up with the circumstantially justified marketing strategy, they need to rely on the quantitative data of interest. However, in light of the earlier mentioned PEST-related considerations, this may not necessarily be the case. After all, the quantitative data are rarely capable of predicting the spatial development of a particular non-marketing factor. This highlights the motivational rationale behind the suggested alternative. Yet, as we are well aware of, the qualitative data can be easily misinterpreted.
Designing the brand-differentiation/marketing strategy in conjunction with what happened to be the culturally defined cognitive predispositions, on the targeted consumers’ part
The rationale behind this suggestion is as follows: for as long as a particular product is confirmed consistent with the culturally predetermined essence of the targeted buyers’ purchasing anxieties, the severity of the potentially hampering non-marketing factors will be reduced rather substantially. However, the proposed methodological alternative may prove non-executable, due to being rather costly.
From of the earlier outlined alternatives, we can well single out the last two, as such that represent a particularly high conceptual value. The reason for this is that both of them do take into account the dialectically predetermined essence of the current developments, within the very paradigm of marketing.
For example, the Alternative C is being thoroughly observant of the fact that, in order for just about anyone to gain an insight into what causes the fluctuating appearance/disappearance of the external factors that affect the deployment of the freshly designed marketing strategies, the concerned individual must be extremely open-minded. This idea fully correlates with the empirical observation that, in the field of marketing, one’s perceptual inquisitiveness means so much more than his or her familiarity with the classical principles of how a particular good or service may be promoted/advertised.
The methodological legitimacy of the Alternative D may be illustrated, in regards to the fact that the commercial appeal of a product or service cannot be discussed in terms of a ‘thing in itself’ – outside of what happened to be the targeted consumers’ culturally defined cognitive inclinations. These inclinations, however, represent a metaphysical ground, out which a number of the seemingly unrelated non-marketing factors of influence derive. The full soundness of this idea can be exemplified, in regards to the fact that, as today’s marketers are being well aware of, the approaches to marketing the same line of products in Europe, on one hand, and in Asia, on the other, cannot be conceptually similar, by definition. Therefore, it is indeed fully justified to recommend this particular alternative for implementation.
The following are the consequential phases of how each of the mentioned alternatives can be implemented on a long-term basis:
- Defining the foremost characteristics of the marketing-environment in question.
- Conceptualizing what may account for the hypothetical non-marketing factors of influence, which will be brought about by the environment’s qualitative essence.
- Selecting the most likely scenarios of how these factors may influence the company’s overall strategy of marketing.
- Hypothesizing what may account for the unpredictable effects, in this respect.
- Proposing the circumstantially appropriate methodological approaches to countering the anticipated negative consequences of how the concerned environment may affect the company’s continual functioning.
- Providing an estimate of the expected implementation-related costs.
- Making an inquiry into how the targeted audience-members tend to reflect upon the surrounding social reality and their place in it.
- Establishing the dialectical links between the consumers’ tendency to explore their purchasing anxieties in the specific manner, on one hand, and what happened to be the specifics of the concerned people’s ethno-cultural affiliation, on the other.
- Designing the actual strategy to be deployed.
- Ensuring that the proposed marketing strategy never ceases being thoroughly observant of the empirical findings, obtained throughout the course of the phases 1 and 2.
- Providing an estimate of the expected implementation-related costs.
Sharma, Bishnu. “Marketing Strategy, Contextual Factors and Performance: An Investigation of Their Relationship.” Marketing Intelligence & Planning 22.2/3 (2004): 128-143. Print.