An investigation into how strategic marketing is done in practice : insights towards components of more effective strategic marketing application.
This study seeks to engage in a discourse on the praxis of strategy and more specifically, marketing strategy. Within the confines of this study, an exploratory analysis is done looking at the difference between the theory and praxis of marketing, as motivated by concerns about the current emphasis and methodology in which marketing theory is taught and applied in practice. The findings of the study showed that the majority of practitioners working in senior strategic marketing positions had not received specific marketing training. This suggests that marketing, in the current degree structure, is not reaching its desired target market. Although there was an acknowledgement of the value of theory as a frame for thinking, the majority of practitioners spoke to the need for compromise between the ideal and the 'practical-implementable'; the need to augment the strategic theory with practical, tactical skills and a dualistic approach to the dissemination of the theory. This approach should work firstly, to master the theory and/or theoretical model as designed and written and secondly, to enable creative use of the model in different contexts. The practitioners further pointed to the need for marketing and accountancy as core subjects in the Bachelor of Commerce degree, explaining that both subjects provide a meaningful platform for understanding how business works. Practitioners expressed a lack of support for marketing in their organizations using ongoing internal education and feedback to massage a fundamental overhaul of current perceptions relating to the ineffectiveness of marketing. Practitioners suggested a lack of full utilization of marketing capacity explaining that their primary responsibility related to the promotion function only. Finally, they discussed the need for tools to assist in the management of marketing in a complex environment. In terms of practitioner responses to theoretical constructs, it was suggested that strategy developed for the organisation and for marketing specifically did not follow a linear, traditional format, but was more flexible and adaptive working inclusively and consultatively to develop core objectives and issues used as a working frame. In terms of the measurement of implementation success, most of them alluded to the use of feedback as a monitoring mechanism, talking further about the benefit of communication, internal marketing, teams, education and learning as drivers of successful implementation.