Arketing Implementation

We now turn to the question of how marketing managers can effectively implement marketing plans. We define marketing implementation as follows:20

■ Marketing implementation is the process that turns marketing plans into action assignments and ensures that such assignments are executed in a manner that accomplishes the plan's stated objectives.

A brilliant strategic marketing plan counts for little if it is not implemented properly. Consider the following example:

A chemical company learned that customers were not getting good service from any of the competitors. The company decided to make customer service its strategic thrust. When this strategy failed, a postmortem revealed a number of implementation failures. The customer service department continued to be held in low regard by top management; it was understaffed; and it was used as a dumping ground for weak managers. Furthermore, the company's reward system continued to focus on cost containment and current profitability. The company had failed to make the changes required to carry out its strategy.

Whereas strategy addresses the what and why of marketing activities, implementation addresses the who, where, when, and how. Strategy and implementation are closely related in that one layer of strategy implies certain tactical implementation assignments at a lower level. For example, top management's strategic decision to "harvest" a product must be translated into specific actions and assignments.

Bonoma identified four sets of skills for implementing marketing programs:

1. Diagnostic skills: When marketing programs do not fulfill expectations, was the low sales rate the result of poor strategy or poor implementation? If implementation, what went wrong?

2. Identification of company level: Implementation problems can occur at three levels: the marketing function, the marketing program, and the marketing policy level.

3. Implementation skills: To implement programs successfully, marketers need other skills: allocating skills for budgeting resources, organizing skills to develop an effective organization, and interaction skills to motivate others to get things done.

4. Evaluation skills: Marketers also need monitoring skills to evaluate the results of marketing actions.21

The skills needed to implement a marketing plan for nonprofit organizations are the same as those needed for commercial enterprises, as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater discovered.

■ A A Like many nonprofit cultural organizations, the company founded by Alvin Ailey in 1958 always seemed to be operating in the red, despite its ability to attract full houses. The costs of mounting a production are, by their nature, greater than the income that can be generated by ticket sales alone, and Ailey had neither a talent for nor a personal interest in the fund-raising aspects of directing the company. Judith Jamison, the principal dancer who succeeded Ailey as director at his death in 1989, has managed to turn the financial picture around. Her success can be attributed in large part to her skill at motivating others to carry out a marketing effort. A 1993 National Arts Stabilization grant provided matching funds when the company halved its deficit within a year. An executive director and support staff whose marketing and management expertise matched the company's artistic professionalism have managed to keep the company in the black since chapter 22

Managing the Total Marketing Effort then. Two groups of experienced marketers are implementing the plan. One is the board of directors, many of whose members are executives of major financial corporations or their spouses. The other group has been recruited from businesses that are using their association with the Ailey company for their own marketing purposes. For example, Healthsouth Corporation provides free physical therapy to the dancers and benefits from the association in marketing its chain of sports medicine clinics. Jaguar, the official car of Alvin Ailey, has made a large donation in exchange for this designation and the right to use Alvin Ailey in advertising and for access to the its mailing list. With an audience that is almost half African American and 43 percent of which is between the ages of 19 and 39, Ailey is providing access to an important market for its corporate partners and earning their enthusiastic support.22

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