Evaluating Marketing Actions and Outcomes: Volume 12


Table of contents

(12 chapters)

A possibly surprising observation is that most executives do not acquire formal training in meta-thinking, that is, thinking about thinking and deciding including training in effective prescriptive tools to increase effective thinking and deciding. Two reasons may be responsible for this lack of training. First, the overconfidence bias is widespread – most executives tend to rely too often on their unconsciously driven automatic thoughts (see Bargh, Gollwitzer, Lee-Chai, Barndollar & Troetschel, 2001; Wegner, 2002). The tendency is natural to assume that our intuitive beliefs are accurate and that relying on external heuristics (i.e. written checklists, explicit protocols) are unnecessary. Even when presented with hard evidence that formal external searches of relevant information sources and the use of explicit decision rules result in more accurate decisions than intuitive judgment alone, the executive’s first response often includes disbelief and resentment – resentment in the implicit loss of her/his authority to evaluate and decide.

Taking a set of studies about business action as the empirical starting-point, this paper looks at the various ways in which action is represented. The overall research question can be stated as follows: how is business action reconstructed in our narratives? The texts analyzed are collected from research on exchange relationships in the field of marketing. To analyze how these texts depict business action, four narrative constructions are focused: space, time, actors, and plots. The categorization and analysis are summarized and followed by a set of concluding implications and suggestions for narrative practice aiming to reconstruct business action in the making.

The paper discusses some of the central features of IMP and industrial network research. Different types of empirical phenomena that are in focus of this research are presented. The paper also comments on epistemology, acknowledging some of the underpinnings of industrial network research and how they affect the use of case studies. Examples of case or narrative methodology are provided, taking a starting point in a set of chosen doctoral theses. In addition, a condensed version of the author’s own experiences from a case research and case-writing process covering a period of more than five years is provided (Andersson, 1996a, b). Literature support is brought in for the fact that case writing and the creation of narratives is often a long and ambiguous process of finding a final plot which merges the theoretical with the empirical. The conclusions and comments summarize some of the main implications and ideas emerging from the text, and points also to some emerging discussions in social science on the importance and status of narrative knowledge.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) proposes to take into account the “voice of the customer,” through a list of customer needs, which are (qualitatively) mapped to technical requirements in House One. But customers do not perceive products in this space, nor do they not make purchase decisions in this space. Marketing specialists use statistical models to map between a simpler space of customer perceptions and the long and detailed list of needs. For automobiles, for example, the main axes in perceptual space might be categories such as luxury, performance, sport, and utility. A product’s position on these few axes determines the detailed customer requirements consistent with the automobiles’ position such as interior volume, gauges and accessories, seating type, fuel economy, door height, horsepower, interior noise level, seating capacity, paint colors, trim, and so forth. Statistical models such as factor analysis and principal components analysis are used to describe the mapping between these spaces, which we call House Zero.

This paper focus on House One. Two important steps of the product development process using House One are: (1) setting technical targets; (2) identifying the inherent tradeoffs in a design including a position of merit. Utility functions are used to determine feature preferences for a product. Conjoint analysis is used to capture the product preference and potential market share. Linear interpolation and the slope point formula are used to determine other points of customer needs. This research draws from the formal mapping concepts developed by Nam Suh and the qualitative maps of quality function deployment, to present unified information and mapping paradigm for concurrent product/process design. This approach is the virtual integrated design method that is tested upon data from a business design problem.

Scanning both the academic and popular business literature of the last 40 years puzzles the alert reader. The variety of prescriptions of how to be successful (effective, performing, etc.) 1 Organizational performance, organizational success and organizational effectiveness will be used interchangeably throughout this paper.1 in business is hardly comprehensible: “Being close to the customer,” Total Quality Management, corporate social responsibility, shareholder value maximization, efficient consumer response, management reward systems or employee involvement programs are but a few of the slogans introduced as means to increase organizational effectiveness. Management scholars have made little effort to integrate the various performance-enhancing strategies or to assess them in an orderly manner.

This study classifies organizational strategies by the importance each strategy attaches to different constituencies in the firm’s environment. A number of researchers divide an organization’s environment into various constituency groups and argue that these groups constitute – as providers and recipients of resources – the basis for organizational survival and well-being. Some theoretical schools argue for the foremost importance of responsiveness to certain constituencies while stakeholder theory calls for a – situation-contingent – balance in these responsiveness levels. Given that maximum responsiveness levels to different groups may be limited by an organization’s resource endowment or even counterbalanced, the need exists for a concurrent assessment of these competing claims by jointly evaluating the effect of the respective behaviors towards constituencies on performance. Thus, this study investigates the competing merits of implementing alternative business philosophies (e.g. balanced versus focused responsiveness to constituencies). Such a concurrent assessment provides a “critical test” of multiple, opposing theories rather than testing the merits of one theory (Carlsmith, Ellsworth & Aronson, 1976).

In the high tolerance level applied for this study (be among the top 80% of the industry) only a handful of organizations managed to sustain such a balanced strategy over the whole observation period. Continuously monitoring stakeholder demands and crafting suitable responsiveness strategies must therefore be a focus of successful business strategies. While such behavior may not be a sufficient explanation for organizational success, it certainly is a necessary one.

Missing in most of the research on selling has been an examination of the process from the point of view of the customer. When satisfaction in selling has been considered, researchers have focused on the satisfaction of the salesperson with his job and/or the impact of this job satisfaction on performance (e.g. Bluen, Barling & Burns, 1990; Churchill, Ford & Walker, 1979; Pruden & Peterson, 1971). To concentrate on salesperson performance while neglecting customers is to ignore the most important half of the relationship between buyers and sellers and entirely disregards the marketing concept and the streams of research in customer satisfaction. This research takes a different approach and examines customers’ satisfaction with salespeople.

The emphasis on inter-organizational systems gave rise to concerns about inter-organizational relationships as trading partners became aware of the socio-political factors and trust that affect their relationships. This paper examines the importance of inter-organizational-trust in business-to-business E-commerce organizations. It examines how inter-organizational relationships impact trading partner trust, perceived benefits, perceived risks, and technology trust mechanisms in E-commerce that can in turn influence outcomes of business-to-business E-commerce. This paper develops a conceptual model and tests the model using a case study research methodology. The aim is to solicit qualitative in depth understanding of inter-organizational-trust in business-to-business E-commerce. Eight organizations from a cross section of industries that formed four bi-directional dyads participated in the third stage of this study. The first two stages include exploratory case studies in three organizations in the automotive industry that applied EDI via Value-Added-Networks in 1997, and a nationwide survey of organizations that examined the extent of E-commerce adoption in Australia and New Zealand in 1998. The findings identify the need for trustworthy business relationships in an E-commerce environment.

At the beginning of the nineties, the Danish construction market was in the midst of a severe slump (Eurostat, 1995). At the same time, the German market was beginning to boom, due to the process of unifying the two German states (European Construction Research, 1995). Because of the poor home market circumstances, many Danish construction industry actors, including individual architects and architectural firms, attempted to find work in Germany (Halskov, 1995). However, the aspirations of most of these actors were dashed. By 1996, many of the largest Danish civil engineering and contracting firms had lost billions of Danish kroner, and a great number of small firms, typically architectural firms or subcontractors in the construction process, had also experienced severe losses, some of which had jeopardized the very existence of these firms (ibid.). This turn of events surprised both insiders in the Danish construction industry and the general Danish population as both groups believed that Denmark has high construction standards and that the most of the firms that had attempted operations in Germany were technically competent and had sound domestic business policies.

In today’s markets, many organizations feel pressure to become more responsive to their customers. Managing your business to deliver superior value to targeted customers may provide a strong avenue to improved performance. The route from value-based strategies to share holder value can be complicated, however. These strategies have the most direct impact on performance with your customers in the form of customer satisfaction, word of mouth and loyalty. Successful customer performance should translate into higher market performance, as evidenced by a supplier’s higher customer retention rates and sales. Finally, market performance provides the engine for increasing company performance or shareholder value. Attaining shareholder value through customer value strategies requires committing major management attention to how best to create, deliver and communicate superior value to targeted customers.

A meta-evaluation is an assessment of evaluation practices. Meta-evaluations include assessments of validity and usefulness of two or more studies that focus on the same issues. Every performance audit is grounded explicitly or implicitly in one or more theories of program evaluation. A deep understanding of alternative theories of program evaluation is helpful to gain clarity about sound auditing practices. We present a review of several theories of program evaluation.

This study includes a meta-evaluation of seven government audits on the efficiency and effectiveness of tourism departments and programs. The seven tourism-marketing performance audits are program evaluations for: Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota, Australia, and two for Hawaii. The majority of these audits are negative performance assessments. Similarly, although these audits are more useful than none at all, the central conclusion of the meta-evaluation is that most of these audit reports are inadequate assessments. These audits are too limited in the issues examined; not sufficiently grounded in relevant evaluation theory and practice; and fail to include recommendations, that if implemented, would result in substantial increases in performance.

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Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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