- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 11 min
Marketing research must become a model for innovation rather than support the mere incremental administration of brands.
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At a time when competitive factors have weakened the power of many storied brands, companies can regain an advantage by acquiring or developing a branded feature, service, program or ingredient. As examples, the author cites Westin Hotels, Krispy Kreme, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and many others.
As more and more firms realize that the brand names associated with their products or services are among their most valuable assets, creating, maintaining and enhancing the strength of those brands has become a management imperative.
Americans are joiners — nine out of 10 belong to at least one group or association, such as the American Automobile Association and the AARP, and these groups provide a potent mechanism for developing, marketing and distributing a host of products and services.
Brand management has evolved from a dialogue between manufacturers and customers into a multilogue with a host of parties. To that end, the authors have developed a theoretical framework that helps companies to better manage brands, proposing the concept of a brand space, based on whether the brand has become independent from its associated product and whether the brand focuses more on the meaning of a product or its functionality.
As companies increasingly turn to emotion-based marketing to help retain their customers, they frequently employ the element of surprise — such as offering unanticipated awards to members of loyalty programs. But according to a June 2002 working paper, such tactics often don't work as intended.
Delivering quality to customers in a competitive marketplace dictates the need to continually enhance a customer’s experience and satisfaction. However, evidence indicates that satisfying customers is not enough to retain them because even satisfied customers defect at a high rate in many industries.
Strategic failure usually comes from an inability to make clear choices on which customers to target, what products to offer, and how to improve efficiency. Incumbents routinely bow to upstarts that innovate in those areas. The author shows established companies how to prepare for and counter such disruption with a dynamic process of continual strategic renewal.
The contention that loyal customers are always more profitable is a gross simplification, according to the authors. They posit that such schemes do not fundamentally alter market structure and, instead, increase market expenditures without really creating any extra brand loyalty. Dowling and Uncles suggest ways to design an effective program.
A combination of temporary conditions such as environmental factors or price cuts may permanently affect a company’s market share. What causes the phenomenon of hysteresis in marketing? Can companies predict and take advantage of this effect? Equally important, can they avoid becoming its victims?
As the corporate sponsorship of sports events has grown, so too has the practice of ambush marketing. Is the practice legal and ethical? How can a legitimate sponsor counteract the effects of an ambusher?
“This is not Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [i.e., the Bell operating companies] here. Rather, it is a market of a thousand niches served by tens of thousands of firms, each offering dozens, if not hundreds, of different products.&
“Be first to market” is one of the most enduring principles in business theory and practice. But the authors point out that many pioneer companies have failed, whereas most current market leaders were not pioneers. In analyzing why this is so, the authors found that market leaders embody five factors that are critical to success.
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