Why Leading Firms are turning to Marketing Doctrine to Guide them on the Competitive Battlefield

Jul 29, 2014, 10:07 ET from American Marketing Association

CHICAGO, July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most firms recognize that product and regional managers must have marketing decision-making flexibility to compete effectively in the marketplace. Unfortunately, granting flexibility frequently generates a "marketing inconsistency" problem because managers within the same firm often have very different marketing training, experiences, and means for making marketing decisions. The president of a Fortune 500 firm captured the essence of this challenge for many global firms:

Every country, and even within a country, you've got everyone out there with their own flavor of marketing. It's a totally dysfunctional environment [and] virtually impossible to have any kind of global consistency. . . . And that's obviously very, very problematic.

Goutam Challagalla (Georgia Tech), Brian Murtha (University of Kentucky) and Bernie Jaworski (Claremont Graduate University) suggest that some leading edge firms are taking a page from the military and turning to marketing doctrine to address this problem. Marketing doctrine refers to marketing principles that firms distill from their unique experiences. These principles provide simple, experience-based guidance to marketers across the firm. For instance, consider the principle of a market leader in digital products "Launch new products early and iterate." This principle provides guidance (thus ensuring consistency), but provides few execution details (thus allowing flexibility). Increasingly, global firms are recognizing that such principles provide quick guidance that can provide many benefits to firms (e.g., greater consistency, creativity, faster but less impulsive decision-making, and higher performance).

The authors base their findings on extensive qualitative analyses from interviews with executives from diverse firms and secondary research. The findings suggest that firms that are actively expanding into new global regions and/or have greater related-product diversification are particularly suited to benefit from developing marketing doctrine. Also, those firms which delegate marketing decision-making to subunits or conduct marketing activities outside of the marketing function are likely to benefit from developing marketing doctrine.

The analysis appears in the July issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing.

Like military doctrine, the simple principles captured in marketing doctrine provide sufficient guidance while not being overly prescriptive. When properly implemented, marketing doctrine fosters greater global consistency, more flexibility within local markets, and a common language and marketing philosophy across the globe.

About the American Marketing Association:
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the professional association for individuals and organizations who are leading the practice, teaching, and development of marketing worldwide. Learn more at ama.org.

Contact: Christopher Bartone – 312.542.9029 – cbartone@ama.org

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111102/DC96044LOGO

SOURCE American Marketing Association