Job advertisements over the past two or three years have increasingly used the word ‘development’ as part of the job description or title. A whole range of industry has been demanding people to fill these often entirely new positions in engineering, the pure service industries, packaging, chemicals retailing and others. Many of these jobs are marketing or sales‐oriented and are aimed at boosting the selling effort of the company by various means. The development manager is expected to be the dynamic member of a team which may cover marketing research, statistical forecasting, investment appraisal, product development, new plant opening and other ‘creative’ assignments. It is easy to conceive of an empty gulf between the trader‐producer element and the marketeers in any commercial enterprise where the former are intent on keeping an existing sales‐production operation running without undue interruption, and the latter attempt to invest these efforts with some form and direction. In this sort of situation, although over‐simplified, the scope for grasping at new business opportunities may be lessened because there is no department assigned to look specifically for them. Again, in the words of a recent job advertisement ‘the position has been created (to enable the Group) to expand those of its activities which extend beyond the present scope of its retail activities’. One result of setting up a development department (in a commercial rather than in a scientific context) has been to bring a further element of flexibility into one tactical plan which appears sometimes to be doomed to a tyranny of long and short range sales forecasts and other self‐perpetuating targets. This article is not, incidentally, concerned with the geographical aspects, as it were, of retail development management such as the acquisition of new sites, but with the development of markets for new product ranges, with the profit enhancing prospects that this holds. By identifying market changes quickly the organisation is better able to alter its posture to meet the new situation.
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