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Transitioning into the 21st-Century MarketplaceThe challenge facing most marketing organizations as they enter the 21st century is how to transition from traditional functions and operations to the new world of the 21st century and the global marketplace. We argue that the best mechanism for making the adjustment to the new marketplace realities is integrated marketing communication. Therefore we start with the transitioning process. Exhibit 1.1 illustrates the challenge.
Most marketing and communication organizations know their current location; that is, they understand the marketplace they occupy, the prevailing competitive framework, the target markets they serve, and so forth. As a result, most firms and managers have fairly well-established patterns for communicating with customers and prospects and investing in processes and systems, and they have some idea of the return they can likely expect from those investments. Although they may not consider these conditions ideal, most managers clearly understand where their organization is in today's marketplace.
By the same token, most organizations have some idea of where they need to be or where they would like to be in the future. While the view may be a bit fuzzy because of unknown market or technological changes, for the most part senior management knows where it is trying to drive its organization one, three, or five years out.
Marketers and marketing managers also have a fairly clear understanding of where their firms and brands are in the marketplace. For example, they have many guideposts marking present success such as market share, sales performance, profit and loss accounts, and the like. These tell them how they are doing. In addition, most marketing people have some vision of the future or where their marketplace is going and how they might fit.
Thus the challenge for both senior managers and marketing managers is not "Where are we today?" or "Where do we need to be in the future?" but "How do we get there?" That, in our experience, is the transition with which they are struggling. And that transition faces every senior management team and every marketing manager in every organization around the world.
The same transitional challenge confronts most marketing communication managers. They generally know what communication programs are in place now. They also know what seems to work and what doesn't, but often not why for either. Therefore most know what they can and can't do with communication to influence customers and prospects in today's marketplace. In addition, most communication managers can wax eloquent about what the marketplace of the future will or might be: electronic systems, interactive communication, information on demand, World Wide Web, and so on. But, like senior management and marketing managers, most have difficulty identifying how they might get to this new marketplace and what needs to be done to make the transition. There are so many variables. So much change. Such dynamic structures. The traditional "plan, develop, execute, and evaluate" model doesn't seem to work anymore. The old models are less and less relevant given the challenges of a global marketplace where border-crossing, new cultures, new languages, and new media abound. Yes, how and in what ways, or with what mechanisms, to make the transition to the new global marketplace is the question and the challenge.
That's what this book is about. How to get from here to there.
About the Author-
Don E. Schultz is Professor of Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, where he and his associates have pioneered the country's first graduate program in Integrated Marketing Communications. He is also President of his own marketing communications and management firm, Agora, Inc., Evanston, Illinois.
Before joining Northwestern in 1977, Schultz was Senior Vice President of Tracy Locke Advertising and Public Relations in Dallas. He has consulted, lectured and held seminars on marketing, marketing communications, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and creative strategy in the United States, Europe, South America and Asia.
Schultz is Editor, Journal of Direct Marketing, Director of the Promotion Marketing Association of America, and the first recipient of the Direct Marketing Educator of the Year Award, presented by the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation.
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