In most industrial firms, marketing efforts encompass three groups: product management, sales, and customer service units. Mangers have devoted much attention to managing effectively within each unit but not to coordinating across the units. The authors discusses why managing these marketing interfaces is increasingly important and complex at industrial firms, the interdependencies and organizational barriers that affect their joint activities, and the strengths and vulnerabilities of initiatives aimed at improving links among the marketing groups.
1. For pertinent studies of industrial product introductions, see:
J. Choffray and G. Lilien, “Strategies behind the Successful Industrial Product Launch,” Business Marketing 17 (1984): 82–94;
R. Cooper and E. Kleinschmidt, “New Product Processes at Leading Industrial Firms,” Industrial Marketing Management 20 (1991): 137–147;
J. Konrath, “Why New Products Fail,” Sales & Marketing Management 144 (1992): 48–56; and
V. Mahajan and J. Wind, “New Product Models: Practice, Shortcomings, and Desired Improvements” (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Marketing Science Institute, Report 91–125, 1991).
2. Developments tending toward a merging of manufacturing and service businesses have been discussed from various perspectives. For example, see:
J. Gershuny and I. Miles, The New Service Economy (London: Pinter, 1983);
M. Piore and C. Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide (New York: Basic Books, 1984);
J.B. Quinn et al., “Technology in Services: Rethinking Strategic Focus,” Sloan Management Review, Winter 1990, pp. 79–87; and
R. Norman and R. Ramirez, “From Value Chain to Value Constellation,” Harvard Business Review, July–August 1993, pp. 65–77.
3. For data concerning product variety, see:
S. Wheelwright and K. Clark, Revolutionizing Product Development(New York: Free Press, 1992), chapter 1.
4. E.R. Corey, Procurement Management: Strategy, Organization, and Decision Making (Boston: CBI Publishing Company, 1978).
5. J. Emshwiller, “Suppliers Struggle to Improve Quality as Big Firms Slash Their Vendor Rolls,” Wall Street Journal, 16 August 1991, p. B1.
6. For more on this topic, see:
F. Cespedes, “Once More: How Do You Improve Customer Service?,” Business Horizons, March–April 1992, pp. 58–67. For an excellent discussion of wider cross-functional issues implicated in supply-chain initiatives, see:
H. Lee and C. Billington, “Managing Supply Chain Inventory: Pitfalls and Opportunities,” Sloan Management Review, Spring 1992, pp. 65–73.
7. For data concerning product life cycles in various industrial product categories, see:
C.J. Easingwood, “Product Life Cycle Patterns for New Industrial Products,” R&D Management 18 (1988): 22–32; and
C.F. von Braun, “The Acceleration Trap,” Sloan Management Review, Fall 1990, pp. 49–58.
8. For data on responsibilities of industrial product and sales personnel, see:
R. Eccles and T. Novotny, “Industrial Product Managers: Authority and Responsibility,” Industrial Marketing Management 13 (1984): 71–76; and
W. Moncrief, “Selling Activity and Sales Position Taxonomies for Industrial Sales Forces,” Journal of Marketing Research 23 (1986): 261–270.
9. What I here call “hierarchies of attention” is analogous to what some have labeled organizational “routines” or “thought worlds”: the patterns of activity that characterize different subgroups in a firm, that shape the assumptions and marketplace interpretations of each group, and that in turn become the “genes” of a firm’s repertoire of capabilities.
For a discussion of organizational routines, see:
R. Nelson and S. Winter, An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1982), chapter 5. For a discussion of the various “thought worlds” that characterize groups typically involved in industrial product development activities, see:
D. Dougherty, “Interpretive Barriers to Successful Product Innovation in Large Firms,” Organization Science 3 (1992): 179–202.
10. See M. Cunningham and C. Clark, “The Product Management Function in Marketing,” European Journal of Marketing 9 (1975): 129–149; and
N. Piercy, “The Marketing Budgeting Process,” Journal of Marketing, October 1987, pp. 45–59.
11. For a discussion of the gaps between accounting data and the types of information sought by managers in various functional areas, see:
S.M. McKinnon and W.J. Bruns, Jr., The Information Mosaic (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1992).
12. B. Levitt and J.G. March, “Organizational Learning,” Annual Review of Sociology 14 (1988): 319–340.
13. J.P. Kotter, A Force for Change (New York: Free Press,1990), p. 92.
14. A. Edstrom and J.R. Galbraith, “Transfer of Managers as a Coordination and Control Strategy in Multinational Organizations,” Administrative Science Quarterly 22 (1977): 251.
15. See M. Aoki, “Ranking Hierarchy as an Incentive Scheme,” in Information, Incentives, and Bargaining in the Japanese Economy(Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988), chapter 3; and
K. Koike, “Skill Formation Systems: Japan and U.S.,” in The Economic Analysis of the Japanese Firm, ed. M. Aoki (New York: North-Holland Press, 1984), pp. 63–73.