Competitive Marketing Strategy

Competitive Marketing Strategy, 1st, Dann, Stephen & Dann, Susan | Buy  Online at Pearson
I never did find out what the symbolism of the cover art represented

Competitive Marketing Strategy is built around the AMA (2004) definition of marketing, and features an extensive integration of the existing body of strategy knowledge, models and theory into the framework of “creating, communicating and delivering value and for managing customer relationships for the benefit of the organisation and its stakeholders”.  The text also has a policy statement of “No model left behind” whereby any model mentioned at the start of the text is include, incorporate and interconnected with the rest of the works.  This approach also integrated the major revival of interest in stakeholder management sparked by the AMA (2004) definition’s recognition of stakeholder benefit.

This book is also notorious for being the victim of unfortunate timing – when the American Marketing Association (AMA) changed their definition of marketing in 2004, we’d already copped a heavy hit on our Introduction to Marketing text since it was driven off the AMA’s superseded 1985 definition. Undeterred, I took all of the stuff I had to adapt about the ‘new’ definition of marketing, and put it into the core of the strategy text. I mean, the AMA had changed definitions in 1935, 1985, and 2004, what chance was there of a new definition so soon? Consequently, when AMA(2007) came out, that was it for the book. Even with an errata chapter on the new new definition, we were dead in the water.

This text was an interesting experience to write – weighing in at 110,000 words, I approached it as a Academic Nanowrimo exercise insofar as we produced the whole thing in two months, averaging 55K words in 30 days with the exception of a weekend off in the middle (30-2-30 is a hell of a model). Along the way, we produced a slew of new materials that build on the AMA (2004) definition. For those playing at home, AMA (2004), the definition for those three exciting years of frustration was…

marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders

AMA (2004)

What made this really impactful was elevation of stakeholders into the focus of marketing activity. That’s why we capitalised on the opportunity and built the strategy text around how marketing could interact with the strategic stakeholder groups of the organisation. Tables of stakeholder times, and how these interacted with strategy and decision making were integral to the book

Embedding stakeholder theory into the heart of marketing strategy like a conceptual pacemaker

So naturally, when the book came out, and everyone was using the AMA 2004 definition, we were undercut by the AMA (2007) definition. In one part irony, and one part tragedy, when one of the members of the AMA definition committee announced the new update on their blog, my slightly “OFFS” tirade of how two books had been wrecked by the changes was met with a “We didn’t know anyone took this seriously, omg, what do you mean you wrote a book based on it?”. Quite tragic that the decision making committee didn’t understand their own clout when making a significant decision. We tried to counter with a Chapter 16, PDF release update patch to reconcile the print text with the new definition.

Somehow, what should have been a simple release to FTP server turned into a dramatic six month delay – I wrote the chapter within days of receiving an embargoed copy of the final definition, and took apart the PDF of our master copy of the book to replicate the layout, and then presented the publisher with an edited, proofed and print-mimicking chapter ready for release. The publisher then sat on the chapter for six months, shunting it through endless internal processes before uploading it unchanged. Print medium companies with no sense of urgency are why textbooks died as a product category.

We did have another set of experimental course designs in the Instructor’s Manual, with options for 6,7,12 and 14 week semesters. Which was the spectrum of opportunities back in the 2000s.

Plus I went for a bit of Second Mover advantage cheek by providing an adaptation guide to help people translate their existing strategy courses (and books) into our newly minted ideas.

For the instructional material, we tried to convince the publishers to put the branding on the stuff the lecturers would see, and leave the brand off the stuff the lecturers would show to students, because the first thing we’d have to do with publisher provide slide decks was strip out the publisher branding since it wasn’t compatible with our University PPT policies.

We also started experimenting with a lot more instructional material cross referencing, as we recognised time was getting to be a premium, and the lecturer in charge may not have been given that much of an opportunity to read, revisit and revise the text before being in-game and on-stage. So we cross-referenced wherever we could to make it easier to find the idea from the notes in the main book.