Marketing in spearhead strategic development organisations
The need for organizations that perform strategic developmental functions in society, especially the developing countries, has led to the emergence of a variety of special purpose organizations with the primary objective of contributing to socio-economic development. The main purpose of this research effort is to study the marketing strategy of such organizations for different sorts of product offerings (defined in this study as mission). One such class of organizations, termed speared Strategic Development Organizations (SSDO), formally having developmental objectives are the focus of this study (e.g., some State Owned Enterprises, Cooperatives and Educational Institutions). The objectives of this research are: 1) To study the marketing strategy adopted by SSDOs in the context of their missions. 2) Dimessionalising aspects of the organization’s approach to a mission so as to explain differences in marketing strategy. 3) Identifying marketing strategy types based on the emergent relationship between the proposed dimensions and the marketing strategy. The research was conducted using the case study method on three organizations vis-à-vis seven missions (a mission is defined here as a product/service/technology/market). The unit of analysis was the mission within the organization and the missions to be studied were selected based on both qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (questionnaire) data. A triangulation procedure was used to fix the mission on two dimensions i.e. extent of direct and significant contribution to extant national objectives and extent of market specialization. The former was called the Domain Development Orientation (DDO) and the latter the Domain Servicing Strategy (DSS). These dimensions were abstracted from a review of literature by identifying factors that could possibly explain differences in marketing strategy within SSDOs. Data analysis made use of the following sequence of steps 1) Analysis of the enterprise level strategy/orientation and functional level strategy for each these missions in order to abstract the marketing strategy for purposes of comparison. 2) Grouping missions by the prior i dimensions identified from literature and making a comparative analysis across organizations. 3) Analyzing the differences in marketing strategy for each mission within the organization so as to isolate organizational effects. The major findings of this study are: 1) Differences in strategic developmental orientation of missions in SSDOs does lead to differences in marketing strategy. 2) Differences in domain serving strategy of missions in SSDOs does lead to differences in marketing strategy. 3) The two a prior i identified dimensions are predictive of differences in marketing strategy and therefore appear to be useful dimensions for understanding marketing strategy in these organizations and predicting differences. 4) Marketing variables that discriminated between strong and weak domain development orientation (DDO) were: a) Pricing: Cross- subsidization either between missions or temporally when DDO is strong. b) Criteria for choice of segment: Profitability is not a major criterion when DDO is strong, unlike other commercial organizations. c) Indicators used for measuring results: Use of developmental indicators when DDO is strong. d) Content of communication messages: Informative/educative when DDO is strong. e) Marketing strategy also used to manage political interface when DDO is strong. 5. Marketing variables that discriminated between niche and domain wide servicing strategy: a) Design of product: Tailored in the case of niche strategy. b) Pricing: no cross-subsidization within mission but could be temporal in the case of niche. c) Extent of segment focus: high in the case of niche d) Distribution system: May be more personalized in the case of niche.The remaining marketing variables did not emerge as significantly different in differentiating within these two dimensions. 6) Moreover, SSDOs seem to have systemic factors that may be prominent for the class of strategic organizations. Reasons for branding, strategic functional responses to the political environment, organization led control over product distribution vis-a-vis price driven control and extensive networking are the emergent variables that seem to be the common factors in their strategy. Based on the above understanding of spearhead SDOs, some propositions relating to the primary level dimensions of orientation and servicing strategy variables have been advanced. Since the priori hypothesis obtained only partial support from the data, a theoretical model of organizational response to environment has been proposed which attempts to explain the rationale for choice of marketing variables under different conditions.
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