Professors Challagalla, Murtha, and Jaworski set out to find a marketing concept that enables large corporations to formulate a firm-wide common marketing approach that allows consistent decision making and flexibility to adapt marketing decisions to their specific circumstances. They have selected “marketing doctrine” as their war horse and plan to explore the overall concept as it is already being used within a small set of leading firms. They also plan on breaking it down into understandable parts for other businesses to be able to understand and utilize it. Lastly, they are determined to understand the short-comings for this new marketing concept.
“The researchers define marketing doctrine as a firm’s unique principles, distilled from its experiences, which provide firm-wide guidance on market-facing choices.” In plain English this means the firm is creating a message that demonstrates the driving force behind the firm and how it relates to everyone who is connected to the firm, including those using its services or products.
The researchers began by conducting a series of qualitative interviews with three levels of companies including: fortune 500 companies, professional service firms across diverse industries, and marketing executives. They discovered that marketing doctrine was already starting to emerge among these firms under different terms and in slightly different thought processes.
Finally, the researchers learned through field research that since it is harder to imitate experience, the firms who were learning from their own inter-firm mistakes were able to create stronger messages and were received by more committed recipients. This suggests that marketing doctrine “should provide firm-wide guidance for marketing decision making.” The “interviews suggest that marketing doctrine guides a firm’s marketing decision making”, it needs to be centralized and utilize a common approach.
They conclude that marketing doctrine provides a “common approach (and) substantially improves consistent decision making, affects marketing program creativity, perceived marketing value, and firm performance.” And they also demonstrate how marketing doctrine is most effective in unpredictable environments such as market turbulence, competitive intensity, and structural flux due to marketing doctrine providing a clear and structured approach to decision making.
This article was written by three professors, one at Georgia Institute of Technology, the second at University of Kentucky, and the third at Claremont Graduate University. This research is an example of qualitative research with discovery-oriented, theories-in-use approach including qualitative interviews and supplemental archival data.
This article provided a great deal of insight into an area of expertise that I wish to learn more about and add to my own skill set as a future business marketing leader. I believe this is a very interesting method and will continue to be worked on as the concept is used by more professionals and firms. I look forward to learning more about similar concepts and methods that are practical for this industry.
Challagalla, Goutam., Murtha, Brian R., and Jaworski, Bernard. “Marketing Doctrine: A Principles-Based Approach to Guiding Marketing Decision Making in Firms”. Journal of Marketing, 2014, 78(4), 4-20.