Change – shaping strategy - Marketing Strategy

Change is an accepted consequence of modern life. Indeed, the phrase ‘change is the only certainty’ has become something of a business mantra.All organizations are subject to increasing levels of change. We can view change in terms of cyclical change and evolutionary change. Cyclical change involves variation that is repetitive and often predictable(e.g. seasonal variation in demand or fluctuation in economic circumstances). Evolutionary change involves a more fundamental shift. It may mean sudden innovation or agra dual ‘creeping’ process. Either way, the result can have drastic consequences for strategic development. Given that strategic management is concerned with moving the organization to some future desired state, which has been defined in terms of a corporate vision and corporate-wide issues, it is important to see the concept of ‘change’ as an integral part of strategy. We can examine this in terms of the following questions:

  1. What drives change?
  2. How does change impact on our markets/business environment?
  3. What is the result of change on the organization’s strategy? Figure below summarizes these three questions.
  • Drivers of change: Consistently, current products and methods of operating are rapidly being displaced by a combination of competitors’ actions and shifting customer needs. This discontinuity is being driven by the following factors: Political, Economic, Social(e.g. demographics) and Technological. A so-called ‘PEST’analysis (see next chapter) provides a useful analytical framework with which to study the business environment.
  • Impact of changeQuite simply, change means that we need to redefine our markets. While fast growth is still possible within certain ‘sunrise’industries, many industries have to accept that the days of incremental annual growth are over. Variation in consumer habits and demographic patterns means traditional markets are becoming more challenging. Change is accompanied by intense competition, which the phenomenon of business globalization can only intensify. Increasingly, we see shorter product life cycles and increasing difficulty in predicting the future.
  • Result of change: There are two main outcomes. First, change creates opportunity. Organizations that are flexible and in touch with customer needs are likely not just to survive, but to prosper. Second, past actions, strategies and methods offer no guarantee of future success. There is a need to guard against complacency and ensure that the strategic thrust of the organization does not drift from the true needs of the market place (beware of strategic drift).

Strategy and change

Strategy and change


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