Importance of Article to Strategic Management and Organizational Effectiveness
The “Antecedents and consequences of Customer-centric marketing” by Sheth Jagdish is an important article in understanding the concept of strategic marketing and the general comprehension of organizational effectiveness because it helps in the understanding of the 21st century customer-centric marketing concept which is aimed at satisfying customer needs.
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Strategic marketing is a shifting concept and many marketers today adopt different strategies from those applied in previous years. From this understanding therefore, the authors of this article basically explore present-day marketing strategies, which ultimately help in the understanding of the evolution of marketing strategies over the years (Sheth 55).
From the concept of marketing itself, we can relate how this article fits into the overall strategic marketing concept because the customer-centric marketing concept is majorly aimed at identifying and satisfying consumer needs with the overall aim of increasing sales (Nielsen Company 262).
The authors of this article are also skewed towards explaining how the productivity of marketing activities can be increased by increasing market diversity in a consumer-centric manner.
Consumer-centric marketing, as outlined in this study, though largely encompassing consumer-based decisions, is important in strategic marketing because it underlies sales techniques and business communication between consumers and organizations (which is an important aspect of strategic marketing) (Sheth 55).
The importance of this study to strategic marketing is encompassed in its introduction because it explains the trail of marketing strategies in the past fifty years (Sheth 55). Specifically, it talks of mass marketing strategies that were adopted by most corporations five decades ago. The article further explains that in previous times, the emphasis of most marketing managers was on products instead of markets (Sheth 55).
The evolution is, therefore, explained up to how the marketing function changed into a consumer-centric marketing strategy (which is further explored in the study).
Due to the fact that market segmentation is currently a critical part of marketing strategies, this study is important to the understanding of marketing strategies because according to the purpose of the paper, it seeks to explore the antecedents, consequences and boundary conditions attributed to customer-centric marketing (Sheth 55).
With regards to organizational effectiveness, this article is articulate on how marketers can improve their efficiency by focusing on consumer needs in the market place. This perspective is especially important in the advancement of organizational effectiveness in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (as an example of a developing economy in need of organizational effectiveness).
UAE is currently defining its ground as a regional and international business and tourist destination with a tremendous growth of infrastructure and logistics, and therefore it can find the information advanced in this study quite useful for most of its organizations; in terms of improving the overall competitive advantage of the economy.
Since the economy is trying to cut its mark in the international map, aggressive marketing strategies need to be adopted to improve the country’s competitive advantage. Prudent strategies also need to be applied to increase the effectiveness of its economic functions (which can be equated to organizational effectiveness).
This article is important in achieving these goals because it seeks to increase efficiency in organizational operations since consumer-centric marketing emphasizes on the delivery of consumer needs, which is an important tool in achieving efficiency (considering there is little room for wastages). This is basically achieved through market segmentation and the effective satisfaction of customer needs.
Customer-centric analysis is an important tool that can be used to increase organizational effectiveness in UAE since the article proposes that organizations that are able to anticipate and correctly satisfy consumer needs will gain a competitive advantage over their competitors (Sheth 59).
The article further explains that in order for efficiency to be attained, a cost-benefit analysis ought to be undertaken so as to improve the input-output ratio, which is essentially advanced in the customer-centric approach (Sheth 57). In fact, the author, Sheth explains that “The Objective of customer-centric marketing is to maximize both efficiency and effectiveness simultaneously at a customer level” (60). This is precisely what developing economies like the UAE need to cut a mark above existing competitors.
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Literature Review Analysis
The article’s literature review is comprehensively addressed and up to date because it covers most aspects of customer-centric marketing using current information and references. Moreover, the subject itself (consumer-centric marketing) is an up to date concept of strategic marketing and an improvement from previous product centred concepts adopted in mass marketing.
The Literature review is a comprehensive analogy of the topic because it starts by covering the very basics of consumer-centric marketing (defining the concept). This analysis is important in introducing consumer-centric marketing to readers who may be new to the concept, and at the same time enforcing what readers already know of the concept.
Later, a framework of analysis is provided to explicate the antecedents, consequences and boundary limitations of the analysis of consumer-centric marketing. From this understanding, the article digs deeper into the concept of consumer marketing by unravelling the factors that lead to the growth of the concept itself.
These factors as explained are up to date concepts of strategic marketing and involve technological aid to increase the capability of marketers to meet the needs of consumers, efficiency and effectiveness of marketing strategies among senior management, and market diversity that seeks to bridge the needs and wants of consumers (Sheth 55).
Apart from explaining the antecedents of consumer-centric marketing, the article further goes deeper into explaining the implications of consumer-centric marketing with regards to marketing metrics used with the concept.
The article therefore notes that some of the consequences of consumer-centric marketing are the transformation of marketing to a supply management paradigm instead of the previous demand management paradigm, the development of co-creation marketing, the development of fixed cost marketing or the outsourcing of consumers (as a strategy to prevent competitors from stealing a company’s customers) (Sheth 57).
As part of its literature review, the study also explores the boundaries limiting the growth of consumer marketing. This is an important addition to the analysis because there are external and exogenous factors that limit or delimit various concepts explored in research studies and many researchers often fail to include such sections in their works.
Analyzing the boundaries of consumer-centric marketing exhibited in the study, the author identifies public policy, corporate culture, industry structure and scope economics as the main factors limiting or expanding the concept of consumer-centric marketing (Sheth 57). Also, to explore the application of the consumer-centric marketing concept, the author provides practical examples of organizations that have applied the concept.
This is done theoretically, with important facets such as methodologies, vocabulary, metrics and evaluation criteria analyzed. Furthermore, the authors explain the difference between organizations that adopt the customer-centric marketing technique and those that fail to do so (Sheth 57). This analysis is important in comprehending the benefits of consumer-centric marketing.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Study
One of the greatest strengths of the article is that it is peer-reviewed. Peer-reviewed articles are more reliable and have a stronger sense of validity and reliability when compared to articles of the contrary (Elster 571). Also, most of the journals that make it to the peer-reviewed category are trusted by experts and therefore enjoy an excellent reputation when compared to other articles of a different nature.
These peer-reviewed articles also lack personal bias, but regarding this article in particular, it contains diverse opinions, thereby improving the credibility of information obtained. Moreover, the research is broad, in that, it covers most if not all the facets of consumer-centric marketing, including its antecedents, boundaries and consequences. These are the major facets of consumer-centric marketing and therefore the likelihood of a reader obtaining whatever information he/she wants is high.
The article also has a strong inclination to future relevance because it identifies consumer-centered marketing as the new frontier in marketing research. This is a strong analytical strength, in that; it has a formidable future usefulness in applicability.
This analysis also has a strong sense of objective satisfaction, keeping in mind the fact that, it was focused on explicating myths and conceptions about consumer-centric marketing, but at the same time, staying true to its objective which is to help marketers or organizations improve their efficiency by focusing on the ultimate objectives of marketing initiatives (Sheth 55).
One of the greatest weaknesses of the study is that its references are not up to date. Most of the references used are sourced from articles written in the 1990s. This may cause usability problems because the field of marketing is ever-changing and the concepts applied and referenced (from the 90s) may fail to comply today. This means that the research may not be valid when relied on for current application.
Since the article is peer-reviewed, a number of problems are likely to arise regarding the credibility of peer-reviewed articles. First of all, because the double-blind system is rarely used in peer-reviewed articles (because of concerns touching on practicality); the probability of questioning the quality of information obtained in the studies is high.
This is because in situations where the double-blind system is used, the likelihood of emphasizing a lot on the author instead of the quality of the paper is high (Elster 571). Furthermore, there is no grading system where readers can review the quality of the peer-reviewed article and therefore, it is not easy to establish the quality of the information obtained (Elster 571).
Another weakness with the article lies in its analysis. This is true because the study fails to incorporate relevant theories and principles touching on strategic marketing and more specifically, consumer-centric marketing.
Theories would have helped the readers comprehend the topic much deeper and probably enabled them understand the input and output expectations of an analysis on the subject. Instead, the authors concentrated more on analyzing the transition of marketing paradigms as can be observed from the analysis of the transition from product centred marketing strategies to the consumer-centric marketing strategies.
Relatively, the study also analyzed the focus on product differentiation to the analysis on market segmentation without applying any relevant theories. Relevant principles and theories already advanced on the topic could have improved the analysis. Theories which could have been included in the study include market-oriented ethnography, Doyle’s Five Criteria for Segmentation, conjoint analysis and the likes.
Contribution to the Body of Strategic Marketing
The article immensely adds to the body of knowledge on strategic marketing because it seeks to establish what ways companies can improve their competitive advantage in light of increasing competition and aggressive marketing from competitors.
Consumer-centric marketing as outlined in this study (though largely encompassing consumer-based decisions), is important in strategic marketing because it underlies sales techniques and business communication between consumers and organizations. Due to the fact that market segmentation is currently a critical part of marketing strategies, the study is important to the understanding of marketing strategies because it seeks to explore the antecedents, consequences and boundary conditions attributed to customer-centric marketing.
Moreover, the subject itself (consumer-centric marketing) is an up to date concept of strategic marketing and an improvement from previous product-centered concepts adopted in mass marketing. Marketing strategies enable organizations to utilize their limited resources in achieving high sales, through the satisfaction of consumer needs (a concept which is thoroughly explained in the research study).
Considering marketing strategies are focused on steering organizations towards a path of prosperity, this article adds to the body of knowledge in strategic marketing because it outlines how organizations can increase their efficiency and effectiveness in satisfying customer needs.
Most importantly, the study adds to the body of knowledge in strategic marketing because of its focus on consumers. Strategic marketing is basically focused on the same, but instead of focusing on conventional facets associated with strategic marketing (such as product differentiation, promotion, distribution, pricing and the likes), the study is inclined to anticipate consumer needs and satisfy them accordingly (Klein 2).
From this analysis, the consumer-centric approach will, therefore, compliment the overall strategic marketing goal, in that, it will outline how organizations can effectively engage customers, develop new prospects and outsmart its competition in the market.
Also, considering the overall marketing strategy is linked with the reorganization and channeling of an organization’s resource towards the attainment of marketing objectives (such as increasing sales), the consumer-centric approach advanced by this study comes in handy to marketers because it defines the avenues through which an organization’s strategic marketing blueprint can channel its resources in the attainment of strategic goals.
The findings of the research study are, however, known in most marketing spheres because the focus on consumers as an integral component of strategic marketing and is an age-old concept. The focus on consumers is identified in the study as the basic frontier where new market research will be done, but this has been a conventional paradigm (only that the concept keeps reinventing itself).
Even through the mentioning of the product-centered approach as a previous concept of strategic marketing; product development and differentiation was basically done in a consumer-centric manner because consumer attitudes, opinions and beliefs were often factored in product development.
From this analysis, therefore, we can note that the research study was rather trivial because in the first place, it explores a very small concept of strategic marketing. Secondly, it reinvents an already known concept as a new paradigm (which isn’t). However, the study only seeks to further explain what is conventionally known as the pinnacle of strategic marketing – consumer centrism.
Furthermore, the trivial nature of the article can be further explained from its conclusion, which notes that “companies that thrive in the future will have an intimate understanding of their customers.
The practice of customer-centric marketing will be central to the achievement of efficiency and effectiveness in marketing processes” (Sheth, 65). This analogy has been applied and known in the past, since most companies have tried to meet customer needs and tailor or reengineer their strategies to be in conformance to consumer needs.
Marketing strategies are also much broader than what is stipulated in the study because comprehensively, it involves the analysis of the 4ps (place, product, price and promotion). A focus on Consumer-centric approach, therefore, underscores the emphasis of strategic marketing.
General Comments on the Article’s Dynamics
This article has a poor readability, considering it doesn’t provide the ease needed in seeing the texts or understanding it all together. The major difficulty is noted with the kind of font used, and the small spacing applied between sentence lines. The footnotes are the most difficult to read since they are poorly spaced and clustered together.
There is, therefore, a lot of difficulty experienced in visually recognizing written letters, symbols or signs included in the research work. These difficulties are therefore likely to impact on a learner’s comprehension of the article, retention of information or even the speed of reading (Barr 681).
The difficulty level exhibited in the article can be understood by an average learner. However, the same cannot be said for an ordinary layman because technical terms have been used to explain key concepts which can only be understood by a knowledgeable reader. The article is especially useful to readers specialized in the marketing field and not people from non-business fields.
Although the level of understanding is relatively easy, it becomes difficult for readers who don’t have a marketing background to comprehensively understand the article in detail. This is because the study is more specific on exploring the various subcategories of marketing, such as relationship marketing, fixed cost marketing, correlation marketing and the likes.
Such explicit marketing terms may throw an average reader off track. However, business-oriented readers can easily understand the concepts because they have been explained in detail.
Benefits to Academicians and Practitioners
This article may be important to academicians in that it improves their body of knowledge on customer-centric marketing. Also, the article points them towards a new research field of marketing; especially considering the article is future-oriented and advances customer-centrism as the new frontier in marketing.
Practitioners may also find the study useful, in that, it provides a blueprint to implementing workable marketing strategies of the present and future strategies. This study, therefore, acts as a critical; tool to the overall implementation of marketing strategies.
Barr, Rebecca. Handbook of Reading Research, Volume 1. London: Routledge, 1984. Print.
Elster, Charlotte. Refereed and Selected Contributions from International Conference on Quark Nuclear Physics, QNP2002: June 9-14, 2002, Jülich, Germany. NewYork: Springer, 2004. Print.
Klein, Guenther. Strategic Marketing. New York: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.
Nielsen Company. Consumer-Centric Category Management: How to Increase Profits by Managing Categories Based On Consumer Needs. London: John Wiley and Sons, 2006. Print.
Sheth, Jagdish. “The Antecedents and Consequences of Customer-Centric Marketing”. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(10) 2000: 55-66.