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Figure 4.4 A simple framework for Internet marketing strategy development

Prescriptive strategy

The three core areas of strategic analysis, strategic development and strategy implementation are linked together sequentially.

Emergent strategy

Strategic analysis, strategic development and strategy implementation are interrelated and are developed together.

Strategic windows

Opportunities arising through a significant change in environment.

It can be argued, however, that there is a need for more responsive strategic process models where reaction can occur to events in the marketplace. Mintzberg and Quinn (1991) and other authors commenting on corporate strategy, such as Lynch (2000), distinguish between prescriptive and emergent strategy approaches. In the prescriptive strategy approach, similar to Figure 4.4, Lynch identifies three elements of strategy -strategic analysis, strategic development and strategy implementation, and these are linked together sequentially. Strategic analysis is used to develop a strategy, and it is then implemented. In other words, the strategy is prescribed in advance. Alternatively, the distinction between the three elements of strategy may be less clear. This is the emergent strategy approach where strategic analysis, strategic development and strategy implementation are interrelated. It can be suggested that the emergent strategy approach is an essential part of any e-business strategy to enable response in a highly dynamic environment. This approach is best able to respond to sudden environmental changes which can open strategic windows. Strategic windows may occur through changes such as introduction of new technology (the Internet is the obvious example here!), changes in regulation of an industry, changes to distribution channels in the industry (again the Internet has had this impact), development of a new segment or redefinitions of markets (an example is the growth in leisure and health clubs during the 1990s).

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