Title

An empirical investigation of the marketing strategy implementation process

Date of Award

1993

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Business Administration

Advisor(s)

David Wilemon

Keywords

strategy implementation

Subject Categories

Marketing

Abstract

This dissertation is an empirical investigation of the marketing strategy implementation process. It aims to develop a holistic understanding of how managers implement market related strategies and realize intended objectives. An extensive review of implementation literature from diverse academic disciplines was initially conducted. Four research questions that appeared relevant to the marketing strategy implementation process and potentially contributive to the current literature were identified from this review. The research question and the study were exploratory, the methodology was naturalistic and conclusions were drawn inductively. Qualitative data was collected via open ended questions from personal interviews with forty managers selected from small sized technology based firms located in the Central Upstate New York area. The interviews were pre-structured, however, additional probing questions were used in all interviews.

In terms of the major findings, the concept of marketing strategy implementation evoked diffuse gestalts among the managers included in the study, and were generally related to sales, tasks, and planning. The nature of planning activities ranged on a continuum of "no planning" on the one hand to "highly formalized and structured planning" on the other. Similarly, implementation processes ranged along a continuum of ad hoc and disconnected activities on the one hand to a thoughtful, connected and coherent stream of marketing led organizational activities on the other. Planning and implementation were highly interrelated. Flexibility and responsiveness in both the planning and implementation functions to accommodate shifts in markets and customer preferences were widely cited as crucial for marketing implementation.

In implementing their marketing plans and strategies, managers spent considerable energies directed at integrating the firms diverse functional groups (e.g., sales, customer services, manufacturing, engineering, R&D) and coordinating their activities with marketing initiatives aimed at meeting customer needs. Several tactics used by managers to foster such integration were identified. The marketing strategy implementation process appeared complex, gestaltic, and a highly inter-related process concerned with integrating the firm's skills and competencies with customer needs. A number of managerial recommendations, as well as questions for future research also were developed from the data.

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