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Dana Baldwin reviews Kumar’s book Marketing as Strategy

Note: This article was first published in Compass Points in May 2005

Dana Baldwin reviews:

Strategic Planning Expert

Strategic Planning Expert

Marketing as Strategy
Understanding the CEO’s Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation
By: Nirmalya Kumar
Foreword by Philip Kotler
Harvard Business School Press, 2004, 270 pp

We employ a simple device, the Tension Triangle, to demonstrate the importance of including a balanced team in Strategic Planning, including Operations, Finance and Sales/Marketing. This book explores many of the options available to influence and form strategies based principally on the importance of Marketing.

In his book The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker wrote, “The business enterprise has two and only two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”

Many executives “are disappointed with the Marketing Function’s ability to produce measurable results.” Marketing must change what they are doing, including “the traditional four P’s of product, place, price and promotion.” Marketing “must start driving overall strategic change, helping CEOs to lead organization-wide transformational initiatives that deliver substantial revenue growth and increased profitability.”

To drive his point home, the author takes the reader through a series of examples, showing a variety of approaches to analysis and effectiveness of different approaches. One key concept is the idea of redefining (slightly) market segmentation into strategic segmentation. The implication is that herein the marketer provides a framework to inspire “greater strategic insights” that examines the cross-functional implications of serving different segments of customers. This allows identifying where any differentiation is being created anywhere in the organization. This concept incorporates a value network which is an “orchestration of all marketing and non-marketing activities necessary to create value for the customer.”

The result is that marketing, as shown in the book, can help lead the company from the process of selling products to one of providing solutions. This changes the value proposition of the company in the eyes of the customer, making the relationship tighter and more valuable in the long run. A complex subject, handled well by the author in a well written book recommended for most marketers and CEOs.

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M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: baldwin@cssp.com

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