Academic journal article International Journal of Business Studies

The Development of Regional Marketing - Have Marketers Been Myopic?

Academic journal article International Journal of Business Studies

The Development of Regional Marketing - Have Marketers Been Myopic?

Article excerpt

Taking research by Warren J. Keegan as founding inspiration, this paper argues that regional market orientation is seen by marketers as antonymic to an international market orientation. Then, in using the identified relationship between globalisation and new regionalism as foundation, we propose that local orientation should today be seen as contiguous to and thus complimentary with international market orientation. We further propose that the current focus on opportunities for competitive enhancement offered at the regional level may demonstrate a significant form of myopia in current UK marketing thinking and practice.

Key Words: Regional marketing, marketing myopia, relationship marketing, international marketing, untraded-interdependency, marketing planning


Central to the argument that in marketing, the term local orientation should not be semantically contraposed to global orientation, is 'new regionalism'. New regionalism developed from interdisciplinary endeavours - has a central tenet - the role of proximity (Sennett, 2001), referred to by Storper and Venables as the 'physical co-presence' of actors. (2002). Porter (1998) also asserted that 'the enduring competitive advantage in a global economy lies increasingly in local things - i.e. knowledge, relationships, motivations'; in other words those that 'distant rivals cannot match'. Nonetheless, the role of marketing at a 'local' level remains incoherent. Yet as we shall see, the subsequent sections of this paper will develop the argument that the foundations for regional market orientation are now in place in the UK and that a failure to recognise and build on this foundation within the marketing discipline can now justifiably be labelled 'myopic'.

In 2004, Warren J. Keegan reflected upon his own earlier article (1983), taken from the very first edition of International Marketing Review. His earlier article had outlined strengths in Japanese strategic marketing planning then. His 2004 paper reviewed the current state of the art in marketing planning, essentially in a Western context, but still in relation to his earlier work. One observation by Keegan in the earlier article was that Japanese firms had a 'sense in which their organizations are public as well as private organizations'. This contention serves as the primary inspiration for this paper as there seemed to be no conclusive explanation as how this had public/private interaction had occurred or indeed what it meant in either of Keegan's papers, or within the generic marketing literature. Neither was it clear how mis could be operationalized through marketing planning. The statement perhaps highlighted me importance of collaboration between public and private sectors in Japan at that time. A deeper examination of this contention led us to the view that this cooperative situation is intrinsically linked to the term 'local'. At the time of Keegan's original article, conditions across Europe were characterized by a less collaborative environment between business and the public sector. Since then the acceptance of sustainable relationship marketing practices, by business and the public sector have arguably laid the foundations in UK business practice for what Keegan hypothesized in 1983 as a strength of the Japanese approach to strategic marketing planning. The aim of this paper is therefore to break out of the artificial boundary that surrounds marketing planning (Greenley and Oktemgil, 1996; Saunders et al., 1996b); and to use both literature contiguous to marketing planning and more distant literature from outside the marketing discipline, to review and develop an understanding of how this observed strength of Japanese strategic marketing planning in 1983 may potentially become a strength in UK strategic marketing planning practice in the 21st century. Keegan's (2004) millennium review of marketing planning provided a signpost for this examination when concluding that there is an increasing appreciation that:

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