Strategic marketing in times of recession versus growth: New Zealand manufacturers

Roger Brooksbank (Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Zahed Subhan (Marketing Department, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, USA)
Ronald Garland (Marketing Department, Waikato Management School, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Scott Rader (Marketing Department, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, USA)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Publication date: 14 September 2015



On the basis of lessons gleaned from previous research into successful strategic marketing practices in times of both recession and growth, and in the face of an ongoing post-global financial crisis “hangover” characterised by unpredictable trading conditions both worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific region, the purpose of this paper is to provide insights and advice for marketing strategists within New Zealand’s manufacturing sector.


The inquiry is based on two point-in-time mail surveys, one during recessionary conditions and the other during favourable economic conditions, with similar samples of 427 and 272 New Zealand manufacturers, respectively. Data analyses were conducted using SPSS and sought to compare and contrast successful strategic marketing decision making between the two time-points.


The results confirm that, irrespective of prevailing economic circumstances, basic strategic marketing plays a pivotal role in facilitating the competitive success of New Zealand manufacturers. However, with the notable exception of three “evergreen” practices – targeting selected market segments, competing on the basis of value-to-the-customer, and finding new ways to do business – the results also suggest that different economic conditions otherwise necessitate quite different priorities for success at each stage of the strategic marketing decision-making process.

Research limitations/implications

Due to relatively low-response rates, the extent to which the study samples are representative of the population under scrutiny remains unknown. Also, since an identical questionnaire was administered at two time-points ten years apart, differences in the respondents’ interpretation of certain questions and some of the marketing vocabulary and terminology used cannot be ruled out.

Practical implications

The research highlights the important contribution that strategic marketing makes to the achievement of competitive success in New Zealand’s manufacturing sector. It also identifies some of the underlying “key drivers” that best predict successful strategic marketing decision making in times of recession compared with growth, thereby indicating a number of key lessons for marketing strategists.


This study addresses a number of gaps in the empirical marketing literature. Although many previous studies have shown various strategic marketing activities to be critical to competitive success, few have examined it as a multi-step decision-making process and none have done so in the context of New Zealand manufacturing. Nor have previous studies sought to compare and contrast effective strategic marketing decision-making set against the background of contrasting economic circumstances.



Brooksbank, R., Subhan, Z., Garland, R. and Rader, S. (2015), "Strategic marketing in times of recession versus growth: New Zealand manufacturers", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 600-627.

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