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Craven

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MARKETING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
COMMENTARY

Implementation Strategies in the Market-Driven Strategy Era
David W. Cravens
Texas Christian University

The very insightful analysis of marketing strategy implementation by Piercy (1998 [this issue]) points to several key issues concerning the role of marketing in the 21st century. Perhaps most compelling is his assessment of the potential threats to the role of marketing in the organization and implementation in particular. He examines several important concerns presented by the lean enterprise paradigm (Womack and Jones 1996). While I am more optimistic about the future of the discipline, relevant dimensions of change promise to significantly alter the nature and scope of marketing strategy and its implementation. Business strategy has entered a new market and competitive environment, appropriately designated as the market-driven era because of its central focus on the market as the basis for strategy design and implementation (Cravens, Greenley, Piercy, and Slater 1998; Day 1994). A pervasive dimension of this era is the pivotal role of the market in guiding strategic change. While the paradigms based on the market-driven era continue to evolve, it is apparent that markets provide the focus of strategic thought and practice. This focus offers an array of challenges and opportunities to the marketing discipline. Many academics and executives are examining the fundamental assumptions and guidelines underlying strategy formulation. An extensive array of strategy paradigms is proposed to assist executives in strategy design. While no paradigm dominates strategic thought and practice, there are several key characteristics shared by the various views of strategy. The characteristics of market-driven strategies include (1) developing a shared vision about the market and how it is expected to change in the future;
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