Success vs failure - Marketing Strategy

Two dimensions determine the success of a strategy: the strategy itself and an organization’s ability to implement it. A useful starting point in considering success or failure is outlined in Figure. Bonoma (1984) examines the appropriateness of the strategy and the effectiveness of execution skills, thus establishing four general positions:

Strategy and execution.

Strategy and execution.

  • Success : The ideal situation: an appropriate strategy and a strong ability to execute such a strategy. This should present little or no problem.
  • Chance : Here the strategy is poor, perhaps lacking detailed analysis or not building on existing strengths. However, it may be saved by effective execution. This may be such that we can adopt and adapt from a weak opening basis and, with luck, do what is required. Clearly, the degree of ‘inappropriateness’ is highly significant. Is the strategy able to be saved? Notwithstanding this question,this position always brings a high degree of risk.
  • Problem : We are doing the right things badly. The strength of strategic planning is dissipated by poor execution. Often the true value of the strategy is not fully recognized and it is dismissed as being inappropriate.
  • Failure : A no-win situation. With failure on all levels there is a danger of struggling on with implementation and simply ‘throwing good money after bad’. Organizations should try to learn from such situations. Do not make the same mistake twice.

Clearly, there is an issue of subjectivity within defining good /bad and appropriate /inappropriate and it is all too easy to be wise after the event. It is simple to classify a strategy as inappropriate after it is deemed to have failed. The key quest is to ensure strategies fall into the ‘success’category.

Effective implementation can be viewed in terms of:

  1. Understanding the fundamental principles of implementation.
  2. Assessing the ease, or otherwise, of implementing individual projects.
  3. Applying project management techniques.

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